Jason Hairston (July 17, 1971 – September 4, 2018) was an American businessman and American football player who played in the National Football League. He was the founder and CEO of Kuiu, a hunting gear company.

Hairston grew up in Southern California. In high school, he was an All-Orange County defender at Foothill High School. He attended the University of California, Davis and, in 1993, was named a starting linebacker for UC Davis Aggies football. In his junior season, he broke his neck during a Division II playoff game, damaging his C5 and C6 vertebrae. In 1995, he was signed as an unrestricted free agent to the San Francisco 49ers. After a year with the team, he transferred to the Denver Broncos before retiring in 1996.[1]

Hairston was then a commercial real estate agent and founded the hunting gear company Sitka in 2005. He sold the company to Gore-Tex in 2009.[2] In 2010, he founded Kuiu,[3] which had expected sales of $50 million in 2016.[1][4]

Hairston was friends with Donald Trump Jr. and in March 2017 accepted a position as liaison to the United States Department of the Interior and hunting groups on conservation and public lands issues.[5] He and his wife Kirstyn had two children. He was found dead at his home in Dixon, California, on September 4, 2018, later announced to be from suicide.[6][7]

Postmortem investigations of his brain by the neuropathologist Bennett Omalu revealed that he had suffered from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Erk, Andy (August 12, 2016). "Former NFL player Jason Hairston sits atop hunting gear business". Sports Illustrated.
  2. Wisner, Matthew (December 9, 2016). "Jason Hairston on Going From NFL to 'Gucci of Hunting'". Fox Business.
  3. Siler, Wes (February 28, 2017). "Why Your Next Hiking Boot Might Be Designed for Hunters" (in en). Outside Online.
  4. Stock, Kyle (February 9, 2016). "A Camouflage Clothing Line Wants to Be Lululemon for Hunters". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  5. Whieldon, Esther (March 17, 2017). "Donald Trump Jr. taps hunting pal for Interior liaison". Politico.
  6. Robertson, Michelle (September 6, 2018). "Jason Hairston, former 49ers linebacker and hunting gear mogul, dies at 47". San Francisco Chroncle. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  7. Davidson, Joe (September 6, 2018). "Jason Hairston, KUIU hunting gear CEO and former UC Davis football star, has died". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. Branch, John (January 31, 2019). "Was C.T.E. Stealing His Mind? A Gunshot Provided the Answer". New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
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