Rachel Ahtila

MYSTERY RANCH Hunting Ambassador

Hometown

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Resides

Toad River, British Columbia, Canada

Profession

Big Game Hunting Guide, Podcast Host, Writer, Conservationist

Slowing down is an art. Especially when you have a zest for life, and an appetite for adventure.

When I think back, I am thankful for all of the paths I have taken, some gambles that have panned out, but more importantly the choices that delivered hard lessons. All of those choices brought me to where I am today. I have learned that everything happens for a reason- of that much, I am certain. I am a hunting guide, podcast host, public speaker and outdoor educator, equestrian, and mountain junkie. I started as a horse crazy, bush kid whose only prerogative was to be outside exploring. The moment that I stumbled into an avenue that encompassed everything I loved, I dove in headfirst.

I wasn’t born into the "hunting industry" per say, but I was lucky enough to have two immensely supportive parents that nurtured my adventurous soul. A fate would have it- I started traveling north for the summers to a remote hunting lodge at the tender age of eleven. It wasn’t much later I stayed on for the whole fall to pursue a life in the mountains as a hunting guide. From burning pancakes on open fires, to chasing horses through the mountain valleys of the Muskwa-Kechika, and going kicking and screaming back to school in the late fall, to learning about game, and hunting practices- my world revolved around the northern mountains of British Columbia.

It was a silly notion to most that a young woman would want to spend her days traipsing around the mountains, guiding clients, and escaping the norm. At one time, I worked tirelessly trying to convince myself that there was another way to make a living. I tried everything; from pursing my dream to work as an actress in Auckland, New Zealand, to working in viticulture, farming and ranching, to desk jobs, and dabbling in construction… yet nothing satisfied me. After living abroad for a year and half, I returned to North America with a plan and what little I had in my bank account. On the remaining pittance saved, I flew down to Safari Club International some years ago in Reno, NV, and threw caution to the wind. I had decided that if I was going to be an outfitter one day, I would need a clientele, and to learn a bit more about the business. So with one hundred and fifty neon orange ‘hunting resumes’, a firm handshake, and a plan, I walked the floor in search of a job.

Since then, life in the fast lane has been an incredible journey. While the overall goal has been to build a life in the mountains, I have enjoyed several opportunities along the way. Some have taught me valuable lessons in business, while others have reminded me of my true course. My life has been intoxicating. And I don’t mean in the literal sense of alcoholism. I mean in the "it’s-Christmas-morning-excitement" essence. It has had its fair share of dramatic ups and downs, betrayals and victories, learning experiences, and pure outright joy. When you work hard to create a life that is uniquely your own, there is something so liberating and soul satisfying about it. It’s hard. But if it were easy, the feeling of accomplishment wouldn’t be as fulfilling. Life is short, and meant to be lived. For me, that’s riding a fine horse, with a pack string in tow. It’s sharing this timeless and pastoral lifestyle with clients and friends. It’s the hope that showing someone what is real and pure might inspire them to care for our resources.

Accomplishments:

  • Professional Guide 2007 - Present
  • 2013 Prois Award Recipients
  • Youngest Woman to serve on the Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
  • Original Founding Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance; Director 2014 - Present
  • Jim Shockey’s The Professionals’; Season 2 and 3
  • Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures; Various Episodes for Bear camp
  • Collaborated with Weatherby Inc on the creation of the Vanguard Camilla Rifle and Women of Weatherby Program
  • Trade-show Seminar Host Public Speaker, Youth & Women’s
  • Published Author Wild Deer & Hunting Adventure’s Australia, Mountain Hunter Magazine, Eastmans’ Hunting Journal, Eastmans’ Blog
  • Thinhorn Summit & Symposium Stakeholder 2013 - Present
  • 2016 Women of Will Campaign- Under Armour
  • Published in American Hunter, Women’s Outdoor News, The Rich Outdoors Podcast, Recoil Magazine, Range 365, The Outdoor Wire
  • Voice of the Mackenzie’s by Paul Deuling, Cover Photograph Contributor
  • Wild Sheep Foundation < 1 Club "Kicked Out"

Foundations:

  • Wild Sheep Foundation
  • Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance
  • Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
  • Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia

What Mystery Ranch Packs do you Run?

  • Marshall 6500 & Pack Fly
  • Indiana Jones Satchel (Custom off-shoulder daily driver that has got me through four years, six countries, and umpteen miles)

Other Sponsors:

  • Sitka Gear, Yeti, 7o Saddle Shop, FHF Gear, Schnee’s Montana, VSSL, Mathews, Leupold

Favorite Quote:

"Life is meant to be lived, not just observed."