July 7, 2021
July 17th marks the birthday of KUIU's founder, Jason Hairston. In his honor, we're celebrating our annual Founder's Week. We’ll be taking this week to remember Jason, celebrate his legacy, and reflect with the KUIU Nation on where the soul of our company came from.
Jason impacted many people in positive ways, reshaped the hunting industry, and changed the way we all look at hunting gear. To kick off Founder's Week, we asked a few of Jason’s closest friends how he impacted the hunting industry and influenced them through his work and hunting—read on for their replies.
the camaraderie, the struggle in the trenches, the entire process. Those are the things Jason loved when we hunted together. The time we spent on the hill glassing the valleys, floating a river, walking ridgetops or stalking a big bear, are times I will never forget...
"Those are the times Jason was totally at peace and in his element. That is when his creative side would kick into overdrive and he would start the process of developing the gear that we all love and use today. Those are the times I am thankful for, the friendship we shared. It’s not always about where you go or what you’re hunting, but who you’re sharing those experiences with."
Freelance Outdoor Adventures
that reshaped the hunting and sporting marketplace through an unrelenting belief in doing business directly with the end user. He was not afraid to disrupt conventional business practices and had an unbreakable faith that selling consumer-direct was the wave of the future. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and after a decade, his gut instinct was correct and has forever changed the industry...
"The core of his belief was based on developing products driven by true consumer demand and with a closer connection to the customer. He wanted to know and interact with every single person that believed in KUIU’s vision and products. If you ever met Jason, he considered you a friend. He gave unprecedented access behind the scenes in design and development. Nothing was a secret. He wanted to educate and inform, believing the smarter the customer, the faster they would respond to truly innovative products built just for them...
"He was hands-on and enjoyed the process as much as he loved to solve problems hunters face. The goal and sole focus were, and always will be, to create superior products at the best value. His work ethic was nothing short of amazing. His competitive nature to never quit fighting during adversity, good enough was never acceptable. He inspired and helped an uncountable number of people achieve their own dreams in both business and hunting...
"As a hunter, his passion for the mountains was contagious. He enjoyed everything that went into Mountain hunting. The preparation, training, camaraderie, bad weather, success, and the failure. He used every experience to fine-tune and deliver better products and information, and most importantly he had a great time doing it...
"Jason’s spirit and passion for relentless innovation live on in everything KUIU. These are the principles that guide us today and will continue to shape KUIU going forward."
KUIU Chief Hunting Officer
and lucky enough to draw the card to hunt with him. Jason came to the mountains for all the right reasons, to test gear—yes, but his love for pushing his mind and body in the mountain environment was refreshing."
And his love for sheep hunting was obvious, he was hooked. He was humble, smart, had energy to burn, and it was easy to be around him. I think of the hunt we did often and the times at the shows. He always had time for me, even when he was at his busiest, a true friend."
Guide and Jason's Friend
whether it was at a trade show, airport, hunting camp, or at a lunch table. He had a real genuine sense about him and a way to make a person feel like you were the only one in the room. Being fortunate to spend lots of time around him in different circumstances made me a better person. Jason was a true leader...
Always when I was around him, people would be constantly coming up to him and I witnessed the same behavior from him every time. He always stopped shook their hand, asked their name, listened to their story and showed the true nature of his character and spirit...
"Jason’s constant pursuit of pushing innovation in new gear with KUIU and enthusiastic spirit and is what drew all of us to the brand. He is missed by many people all around the world but never forgotten"
Jay Scott Outdoors, Freelance Outdoor Adventures
immediately knew he was incredibly passionate about everything in his life, especially KUIU. He was extremely driven and approached the business like the world class competitor that he was.
Everything he learned from competing at the highest level in football he applied to the business, which was the incredible force that made KUIU what it is today."
President & CEO
Leupold and Steven Inc
KUIU was built by a tenacious leader, business man, husband, father, and son. During this Founder's Day, we're honored to share Mike Hairston's personal feelings, reflections, and memories about his late son and KUIU founder, Jason Hairston.
Jason and his father Mike set out to hunt moose with their longbows in the Yukon Territory
Jason Hairston’s inspiration for starting KUIU was deeply rooted in a lifelong passion for hunting. Learn how he built KUIU in his own words.