Jason Hairston’s career began as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995. But today, he is the founder of popular hunting brand Kuiu.
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Hairston said his father introduced him to the hunting business as a kid and his love for the mountains and adventure helped propel his brand.
“When I got done playing football, your whole focus in athletics is football, football, football—everything you do is that,” Hairston told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “When I got out, I really was looking for something to connect with and I went right back to hunting.”
Kuiu’s gear has captured the attention of mountain hunters and even some members of the first family; Hairston said he has hunted with Donald Jr. and Eric Trump.
“I had a couple of trips this year with both of them,” he said.
The avid hunter also defended large-game hunting, which has come under criticism amidst declining populations of big game animals in Africa. In his opinion, the sport is an important resource in conservation.
“We contributed as hunters $3 billion last year in conservation,” he said. “And the people that talk poorly about hunting or want to try to take hunting away from us—they contribute very little.”
Hairston said contributions include obtaining licenses, tags and permits (which he noted can cost up to $100,000).
“That’s over $2 billion a year that supports wildlife and habitat and biological studies and the fish game to protect them and all the laws that go around that,” he said. “Without hunting, who’s going to manage the wildlife and the habitat?”