Hunter, angler, naturalist, traveler. These are just a few of the words that describe the writing and photography of Jack Ballard. “I’m deeply inspired by the work of Aldo Leopold. He was a masterful writer of descriptive prose, but was also exceptional for his ability to wed passions for hunting and fishing with a deep-rooted sense of conservation. He also possessed an insatiable urge to observe and understand the natural world around him.”
Jack’s life reflects the attitudes of Leopold. On a typical autumn day you’ll find him stalking elk in heavy timber in his native Montana or glassing for whitetails at dawn. He might be casting a dry fly to rising brown trout on a Montana river or hiking the sagebrush prairies in search of sharptail grouse. All the while his senses are tuned to the larger world around him. “Some of my most memorable encounters with wildlife have occurred while hunting,” he explains. “While elk hunting I once watched a bobcat hop onto an aspen that had nearly blown over. It padded along the trunk, then laid down to look around. Not too many people ever see a bobcat in the wild. That was the highlight of the fall hunting season.”
Jack’s authoritative voice on big-game hunting reverberates through the pages of numerous magazines and books. He is the author of Creating a Traditional Elk Camp: Where the Heart of the Hunt is Found and Elk Hunting Montana: Finding Success on the Best Public Lands. He pens two columns devoted to big-game hunting: “Big Game” in Montana Sporting Journal and “Open Country” in Petersens Hunting Magazine . In addition to these columns, he is a Contributing Writer for Successful Hunter Magazine and frequently writes big-game hunting articles for Montana Headwall, Wyoming Wildlife and Colorado Outdoors, along with occasional contributions to other regional and national hunting publications.
Fishing has been a life-long passion for Jack. His angling interests include not only the world-class trout fishing of his native Montana, but extend to other regions and species as well. “I discovered fly fishing for bass and panfish on the lakes of New York’s Adirondack Park several years ago. I’m a confirmed trout nut, but hooking a husky smallmouth on the Saranac River or fooling a largemouth on Forked Lake rival the thrill of catching a big rainbow trout.” Jack’s leading presence in publications covering angling tactics and destinations include his contributions to such magazine titles as: Northwest, Southwest and Eastern Fly Fishing, American Angler, Adirondack Explorer, Montana Headwall, Wyoming Wildlife, Colorado Outdoors, Montana Sporting Journal.
Wildlife conservation, the environment, and natural history are other trademark topics of Jack’s writing. He pens a “Wildlife” column for Camping Life Magazine, and frequently contributes conservation and wildlife articles to Wyoming Wildlife. He is currently completing a series of books on wildlife species of North America For Falcon Guides, a division of Globe Pequot Press. The first, Elk:A Falcon Field Guide is now available (order a signed copy from the “Books” portion of this website). Grizzly Bears: A Falcon Field Guide will publish later in 2012. Other titles in the series will include: wolves, bison, bighorn sheep and other high-profile wildlife species. “Writing these books has been a delight and a challenge,” he says. But they’re proving to be extremely rewarding, not only from a professional standpoint, but in their expansion of my own understanding of these creatures.” Ballard also writes a weekly blog for Audubon Guides.
Articles and photos devoted to paddling, hiking, alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and leisure travel also characterize Jack’s professional endeavors. Look for his words and images of these subjects in such titles as: Trailer Life Magazine, Appalachia, Adirondack Explorer, Colorado Outdoors and others. His alpine ski photography will grace the pages of Ski Montana, a book chronicling the epic adventure of skiing every ski area in Montana in a single season by Lisa Densmore. Look for this title to debut in the fall of 2012.
Jack’s articles and photos have appeared in over 30 different regional and national magazines in the past two decades, along with books, calendars, posters and other media. He also works as an assignment photographer for educational institutions, conservation groups and other entities. His photos have been published in numerous books (Smithsonian Press, Heinemann Library, etc.), calendars and magazines. Jack has received multiple awards for his writing and photography from the Outdoor Writers Association of America and other professional organizations.