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Backpacker Magazine – September 2005

What Would Davy Crockett Do?

He'd toss the titanium stove and build a big fire. Our man enrolls in a traditional guide school and learns how to survive - and think - like an American original.

by: Michael Mason


THE MOMENT OF TRUTH HAS ARRIVED. AFTER A MORNING of instruction in wilderness-survival techniques, Jeff has divided us into two teams. Each has 20 minutes to start a fire and to build a rainproof emergency shelter, sufficient for the entire group, from whatever is handy. While Danny and Sam build our shelter, I am on fire duty. But it is raining buckets, and the Vaseline-soaked cotton balls I brought along, clever me, will not light.

"Here, use this," says Danny. I hold out my hand, and he deposits a significant lump of dried horse dung. "It'll burn great."

And so it does. Who knew? By the time Jeff arrives to judge our handiwork, the fire is crackling and our grubby little shelter is watertight. But Jeff is less impressed than I expected, and soon I see why. Just out of sight, Becky, the web designer, and Billy, the law student, have built a fabulous country retreat of saplings and tarps. Before its cavernous entrance roars a fire so large and hot you can't even feel the rain.

While I was gathering fallen branches and finding just the right spot for an environmentally appropriate fire, Billy was mowing down pines and Becky was igniting a conflagration. And so they should have: Had this been a real emergency, their shelter would have kept us all safe and warm. Leave no trace, my frozen wet butt.

I may be able to signal a plane and survive a freak snowstorm now, but as I linger by Becky's bonfire, I begin doubting that I will ever be as adapted to the outdoors as my classmates are. But I now know it's not because I'm unable to acquire the right skillset - it's more that I lack the mindset. Maybe hikers have a pathological need to apologize to nature for their intrusions, to tiptoe through the places where sportsmen make themselves at home. Everyone takes a different trail into the wild, I suppose. But we are alike in this: We all fear losing the path we've chosen. Hunters dread a vast frontier walled off into governmental fiefdoms and ensnared in impossible regulations. Hikers panic as solitude slips away amidst an onslaught of ATVs and gun-toting can-tossers. If we don't find a way to share something so important, all of our lives will be irrevocably diminished.

On our last day, Jeff shows us how to raise an outfitter's tent, essentially a canvas cottage furnished with a stove, cots, and chairs. The front and rear are each supported by two lodge poles, which must be lifted simultaneously underneath the ridgepole supporting the roof. It's no easy task, and it takes us the better part of an hour, calling back and forth from opposite sides, to make it work. Afterward, exhausted, we sit inside and shoot the breeze. On Jeff's recommendation, it turns out, Billy has just gotten a job as an elk-hunting guide in southwestern Colorado. There are huge bucks down there this year, just waiting for a guy who knows the right calls.

Looking around, I'm surprised the tent is big enough to hold us all. But it is.

California-based freelance writer Michael Mason says that from now on he intends to pack for trouble.



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Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

OUCH!! $250,000 !! Too bad Jeff Miner doesn't own anything, the Ball's will be lucky if they ever collect a dime from him. He's got a couple junker vehicles, not worth $1000 total.

Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

m

Anonymous
Sep 23, 2012

Jeff, you can't even figure out who writes these comments about you? Past investors, do the math Jeff, as of September 21, 2012 you should have received your notification of judgement against you. Let's see, more than $250.000.00 owed to Mr and Mrs. Ball for fraud. What was it, $100.000.00 plus in civil damages and over $100.000.00 in punitive damages? Oh yeah, your innocent allright!
Surely you can't be so ignorant as to think all the persons writing their comments in this article have no knowledge of your slimy background. Oh and yes I understand you are being pursued for criminal actions also, in New Mexico and Colorado. The wheels of justice turns slow when you are a victim, but justice is finally catching up to you.
Better get busy hiring lawyers, you are going to need them. Don't worry your little brain about who writes these comments, worry about how your going to pay what you owe and how you'll do your time.


Jeff Miner
Sep 14, 2012

I would sure like it if all the people that have written on this page would reveal who they are. I and Theresa went through a Full New Mexico Trial over the purchase of Chama River Outfitters. That trial ended in the end of June 2012. As of today there still has not been a ruling in that trial. I would also like all of you to get your FACTS correct if you are going to slander me in public. I will wait your responses, and please write down your name if you are 100% sure of what you are talking about. As for the Former Investor, the fact is that Theresa and I have a court ordered Judgement in Mesa County Court that stipulates that you owe us several Thousands of dollars, and we have NEVER been paid a penny of that judgement. Now for the person that says we are Banned for LIFE in New Mexico, this is also false, my New Mexico License is fully intact and Valid. Again please know your facts. I stand here to defend my Family and Myself to this Slander and Defamation on my personal character. Please stand up and acknowledge yourself. Outfitters License in CO. is #2621 and NM is #4577 Now for the person that says don't rent or sell anything to us, reveal yourself and let Me know what you think we owe You. Thank You for your time Jeff Miner

Anonymous
Aug 29, 2012

Well it's about time that folks are catching on to these thieves !!! Yes, all of the above is correct. Horrible reputation in their community and across the country. Lie, steal, owe everone $, write bad checks. It's a wonder that Jeff isn't in jail yet..but he time is coming. ANOTHER word of caution.....NEVER rent to them !!!! not a house, a horse pasture, or even a storage unit....you won't get paid. Oh and if you sell them anything...get cash upfront.

Former investor
Aug 24, 2012

Jeff and Theresa are the biggest scammers in the outfitting, guiding, educational and equine business I have ever found. As an investor who met Jeff and Theresa, they thrive on those who need to live an exciting life and have money to invest and pray on those whom have an existing business and want to or are ready to retire. If you come in contact with these bottom feeders, run like the wind. They are predators.
They NEVER tell the truth and will someday receive their penance for their actions.
They are thieves, liars, predators and the lowest form of flesh that exist. Contact the above Cache Creek outfitters, any citizen of Collbran CO., the Colorado Outfitters Assoc., the New Mexico Outfitters Assoc., their convictions in New Mexico where they have been banned for life from hunting, guiding and outfitting.
BE AWARE!

Anonymous
Aug 22, 2012

AGREE 100% Jeff and Teresa Miner ARE complete phony LIARS. BEWARE. Jeff will lie thru his teeth and then go to church and tell more lies. And then his lovely wife Teresa will totally back up his lies.
Complete scammers who are run off of every outfit they work for.

b
Aug 22, 2012

xx

deed16
Jul 02, 2012

Agreed, they are the biggest fakes! How about Jeff being a Deadbeat father who owes over $100,000.00 in back child support and has been running and hiding for years! Check out New Mexico Court website they were being sued for Verified Complaint for Breach of Contract, Civil Fraud, Conspiracy, conversion and Tortious Damage to Reputation not to mention they were outfitting without a license! Check out the Chama Rivers website, there is a disclaimer about doing any business with Jeff Miner! Be careful doing business with him he is not trustworthy!

Deb83
Jul 02, 2012

Asher 42
Jan 03, 2012

Jeff and Theresa miner are the biggest fakes in the outfitting industry. Call cache creek outfitters in New Mexico,or the Colorado Outfitters Association...they cannot be trusted whatsoever

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