Hometown: Milton, FL
Profession: Professional Bowyer & Hunter
Clay Hayes has been a lifelong student of the woods. Growing up in the rural pine woods of northwest Florida, he honed the skills in hunting, fishing and trapping that would serve him for the rest of his life. He has always been drawn to hunter/gatherer cultures and the self-reliant lifestyle they embody. As a child in the Florida backwoods, he practiced the primitive skills he admired in those self-reliant cultures and dreamed of someday living a similar life in the Rocky Mountains.
Those childhood dreams eventually led him into a career as a wildlife biologist, where he got to work in some of the most remote and beautiful landscapes in the lower 48. But despite investing seven years of college and ten years in the job, his true passion was always primitive and traditional archery. In 2017, he left the biology career behind to focus on teaching primitive bow building and archery through online videos and in-person classes.
Since building his first successful bow in 1999, Clay has introduced tens of thousands of people to traditional and primitive archery through his books, magazine articles and online videos.
Clay lives with his wife Liz and two sons, Coye and Fen, on their homestead in North Idaho. Together they hunt, fish, forage and grow a large garden. Raising their two boys in close connection with the earth, with a practical understanding of nature and a sense of self-reliance, is important to both Clay and Liz.
Here are the ten items Clay selected to bring on his survival journey to Grizzly Mountain:
1. Sleeping bag
6. Bow and arrows
8. Fishing line and hooks
9. Snare wire
10. Ferro rods