The Four Footed Shadow ~ An Interview with hunter Jessi Johnson

The Four Footed Shadow ~ An Interview with hunter Jessi Johnson

Being an environmentalist doesn’t necessarily limit your outdoor recreation pastimes to hiking, mountain biking, skiing or rock climbing. Those of us who indulge these so-called action sports should remember that we share the natural world with folks whose connection to the outdoors also includes activities like hunting and fishing. Personally I took up fly fishing a few years ago and pardon the pun I’m hooked. And on a trip to Wyoming in 2017 I met a young woman who has a passion for hunting. Jessi Johnson is an environmental activist who shared with me the story of a remarkable experience she had while hunting elk in the Wild.

Along with one’s passion for the outdoors must also come an understanding of the balance between life and death. As a bow hunter Jessi Johnson knows firsthand the responsibilities and obligations that go along with being a full participant in the natural world. Though she hunts for sport, the elk she kills for food bring her closer to the wilderness she aims to protect. In the edition of the Joy Trip Project we explore the  seeming contradictions of wildlife conservation through hunting.


This story details a vivid description an actual elk hunt. Though not overly graphic sensitive listeners should be advised…

“We are all filled with a longing for the wild. There are few culturally sanctioned antidotes for this yearning. We were taught to feel shame for such a desire. We grew our hair long and used it to hide our feelings. But the shadow of Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Jessi Johnson is the co-founder of Artemis Sportswomen and the Public Lands Coordinator at the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. You can learn about environmental conservation through hunting and other outdoor activities at

Our theme music is provided by Jake Shimabukuro. Additional melodies by Ben Winwood and Oren Tsor were provided by Artlist.

The Joy Trip Project is made possible by the support of the Next 100 Coalition a diverse group of environmental activists working toward equity and inclusion in the management of public land through the next century and beyond. Learn about its members and current initiatives at

Thanks for listening! But as always I want to hear from you so please drop me a note with your questions comments and criticisms to Or better yet subscribe to the feed on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever most fine podcast platforms can be found. There you can leave a message or a write review, but most of all don’t forget to tell your friends. Now go be joyful. And until next time. Take care!