Jon Gosch

Novelist and Award-Winning Journalist

From the Blog

Appearance on Northwestern Outdoors Radio

Discussing the Link Between Elk Hoof Disease and Herbicides with John Kruse


A mysterious hoof disease is steadily exterminating elk herds throughout Washington and Oregon, and many thousands of hunters, conservationists, and concerned citizens continue to believe that forestry herbicides are causing this horrendous epidemic.

On November 4th, I will join John Kruse, host of Northwestern Outdoors Radio, to explain why the public’s persistent herbicide theory may prove correct after all. The show will air on 60+ stations throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Many thanks to John Kruse for tracking this important issue. Your listeners are lucky to have such a strong outdoors advocate.

Will WSU Study the Link Between Herbicides and Elk Hoof Disease?

Editorial in The Chronicle, The Reflector and the Wahkiakum County Eagle

I wish my family was getting ready to go elk hunting. I wish we were shopping for supplies, setting up our camp along the Coweeman River, and maybe even doing some scouting on the weekends.

Instead, my dad, my uncle, my brother and the rest of our hunting party are boycotting our Department of Fish and Wildlife and Weyerhaeuser for the fourth consecutive year.

It all began when a pitifully unsuccessful black powder rifle season prompted my family to start attending meetings and asking tough questions about why there were so few healthy elk. What we learned about elk hoof disease was sad, but what we’ve learned about the collusion between certain government agencies and the timber and chemical industries has been truly disturbing.

Read the column in The Chronicle


Dr. Boone Mora examining disfigured elk hooves
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A Timely and Courageous Book from Dr. Michael Gurian

Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys


Saving Our Sons is a timely and courageous book, and I am proud to have contributed my small share to the editorial process.

While some may bristle at Dr. Gurian’s assertion that boys in the U.S. and abroad are falling behind girls in many measures of health and well-being, numerous studies and statistics support this observation. In 2015, the World Health Organization published a major study of male health worldwide in which the study’s authors conclude that: “In most parts of the world, health outcomes among boys and men continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women. Yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or health-care providers.”

Some of the statistics Dr. Gurian cites about American boys are truly shocking. Boys are twice as likely as girls to be labeled “emotionally disturbed” and twice as likely to be diagnosed with a behavioral or learning disorder. Boys are four times as likely as girls to be suspended or expelled from early childhood and K – 12 learning environments. In school, boys receive two-thirds of the Ds and Fs, and less than 40 percent of the As. While much has been made of the STEM gap, few are aware that boys are much farther behind girls in literary skills than girls are behind boys in math and science. Tragically, males between the ages of 15 and 24 are four times more likely to commit suicide than young women.

Saving Our Sons by Dr. Gurian

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Appearance on Horns and Hooks Radio

Discussing Elk Hoof Disease with Kelly, Rex and Colin



I was honored recently to share my insights into the issue of elk hoof disease with Horns and Hooks listeners throughout the Longview, Aberdeen and Olympia areas. Many thanks to Kelly Barnum, Rex Peterson and Colin Hamilton for having me on the show, but especially for continuing to shed light on this horrendous disease, as well as the way in which certain corporations and landowners appear to be controlling WDFW’s ineffectual response. I only hope that we were able to encourage a few more hunters and conservationists to ask WDFW the tough questions about what they plan to do to save our great elk herds of southwest Washington.

Click on the link below to listen to the entire podcast. And if you want to get right to the issue of elk hoof disease then skip ahead to minute 15:00.

My ongoing investigation of elk hoof disease and toxic forest practices is funded entirely by my readers. If you appreciate my work and believe that journalism should be fearlessly independent of corporate influence, then consider clicking on the donate button below so that I can continue giving these issues the time and attention they deserve. Thank you for your support.

Kayaking the Columbia

5 Days and 90 Miles Afloat the West's Mightiest River


The Columbia River Gorge is notorious for its wind, and as my kayak crashed into the trough-end of yet another formidable whitecap, it occurred to me that I wasn’t quite certain my dry hatch was watertight or that I would be able to right my vessel should it capsize along with a thousand dollars worth of gear. Inveterate fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants travelers, my girlfriend Logan and I had borrowed two $300 Costco kayaks from my mother and sister and we were overwhelmingly underprepared for a ninety-mile paddle down the final damless expanse of the West’s mightiest river. We didn’t have a map and like idiots we were wearing jeans and tennis shoes that were already saturating under our ponchos. We did have an emergency whistle though, not that anyone would have heard it.

The purpose of the trip was simple enough. Born and raised in the port town of Longview, I had been traveling up and down the river by car, bus and motorboat my whole life, always in some gas-powered hurry, and like a neighbor you’ve only ever shared a few passing pleasantries with, I didn’t really know the Columbia that well. Sure, I’d hauled some fish from it and could name its most prominent landmarks, but overall it was a stranger and that was a shame. I finally wanted to experience this magnificent waterway that coursed through my backyard, and as intimately as possible – to earn its acquaintance through five days of paddling and camping on its islands and beaches. We would put in the river just below the Columbia’s final dam, traveling through the famous Gorge, the industrial section around Portland, along cliffs, farms, pulp mills, nature reserves, and finally exiting the river again in Longview.

While it was only now that I’d mustered the gumption to properly introduce myself to the Columbia, it was something I’d been keen to do for many years. I’m not exactly sure when I first dreamt of the trip, but as a young reader of Huckleberry Finn I suspect it was early. And perhaps that book had some bearing on my lack of preparation. Sensible planning and high adventure do historically have a strong inverse relationship.

The foggy cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge

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