Final Exits: Ready, Aim, Rest in Peace

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside Magazine, November 1994

Final Exits: Ready, Aim, Rest in Peace
By Hannah Holmes

"Everybody thinks that you get cremated, then you get left in a shoe box, spilled, swept up, spilled, swept up. But you have many choices!"

So says Jay W. "Canuck" Knudsen Sr., owner of Canuck's Sportsmans Memorials Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa, outfit that offers exciting funerary options--like sealing "cremains" inside fishing bobbers, bowling balls, and hand-carved duck decoys, and even mixing them with catfish "stink bait." For the ultimate parting shot, the burly, blond 53-year-old Knudsen will load your ashes into shotgun shells and fire you at the game species of your choice.

Since 1991, some 150 adventurers have gone out the Knudsen way. "He was a real reasonable person to deal with at a time like that," recalls Corey Brown, 23, whose brother rests in a basketball on a walnut stand in his Des Moines living room. One client recently became one with a black bear, having paid Knudsen $7,000 to launch ashy 12-gauge volleys at a 400-pounder in Saskatchewan.

When his own time comes, Knudsen plans to be scattered broadly during a five-stop shooting tour of North America. Asked if he might be better off in a nice, quiet urn, Knudsen snorts a little nonsensically: "Never. A sportsman wouldn't even drink his coffee out of an urn."

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