Saturday, December 30, 2017


JackAtchesonSr-obituary-December 28, 2017


Butte, Montana: Sportsmen and women around the world lost a friend, advocate, ally, and invaluable resource with the passing of Jack Atcheson Sr. of Butte, Montana on December 27, 2017; at the age of 85.

Jack Atcheson Sr. was born May 9, 1932, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Son of a farmer and coal miner, he moved with his family to Butte, Montana in the late 1930s and called Butte home for the rest of his life. Atcheson was still a teenager when he enlisted in the Army, spending a year in infantry combat in Korea. He suffered frostbite in the Korean winter and had lifelong back pain from a near-miss from an enemy artillery shell.

Atcheson left the Army as a Master Sergeant and returned to Butte, marrying his lifelong partner, Mary Claire. Together they founded Jack Atcheson & Sons in 1955, originally a taxidermy business that developed into an agency for organizing outdoor adventures around the world. It was Jack Atcheson Sr. who coined the term “hunting consultant” to describe his occupation, the term that is now commonly used—and preferred—by his competitors and colleagues.

A dedicated Western hunter himself, Atcheson was on the scene as North American big game rebuilt and hunting opportunities expanded in the Western United States, Canada, and Alaska. He was also a pioneer in hunting and conservation throughout the world, arranging some of the first organized expeditions to Mongolia in the early 1960s, and, as the winds of change swept traditional hunting grounds in East Africa, he was among the first to organize safaris to Angola, Congo, Botswana, then-Rhodesia, and then-Southwest Africa; and as Northern Rhodesia transitioned to Zambia he was an original partner in Zambia Safaris.

The first American clients Atcheson sent to Southwest Africa (now Namibia) were his lifelong friends Jack and Eleanor O’Connor; a few years later he hosted Jack O’Connor on his final hunting trip, for whitetail in Montana. During the same period, he arranged the first (of many) guided hunts, for elk in Montana, for then-future journalist Craig Boddington, who considered Atcheson a mentor as well as friend…as do so many of his thousands of clients over the years.

An extremely active and experienced international hunter himself, Atcheson was also a dedicated user of Montana’s public lands and outspoken advocate for public land opportunity. He was one of the leaders behind the passage of Montana’s famous Stream Access Law guaranteeing access to fishermen…and opening up over five million “blocked” acres of Montana public land to sportsmen and women. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Time/Mirror -Outdoor Life Magizine Conservation Award for his conservation efforts.  Other recipients include Aldo Leopold and Jimmy Carter.  Many of his adventures are collected in his hunting memoir, Hunting Adventures Worldwide (Stoneydale Press, 1995).

Jack Atcheson Sr. is survived by his wife, Mary Claire; and by his four children: Sons Jack Jr., Keith, and Brian; and daughter Kristie. Although remaining an active Montana sportsman until his final autumn, Atcheson retired gradually from the family business. Jack Atcheson & Sons remains in Butte, Montana, now operated by brothers Jack Jr. and Keith Atcheson…and remains active in hunting and conservation throughout the world. Their father’s motto, and their company slogan, is “Go hunting while you are physically able.” Jack Atcheson Sr. lived that motto until the end.

1 comment:

  1. This obit was written by Craig Boddinton. The pictures are of public land hunts and public land critters!
    Our condolences to the Atcheson Family!