September 5th, 2012

2011 Prois Award Finalist Spotlight~ Meet Stephanie Wottrich!

 

I am an extreme huntress, and extreme outdoorswoman in general. I am very passionate about the hunt, as well as on educating others on why hunting is valuable to sustaining our natural resources. I began hunting in 2000 when my boyfriend (who is now my husband) Jerel took me on my first hunt. I loved it, and could not wait for the next trip. I have since hunted and/or fished 10 countries on 4 continents, collecting over 43 species of big game animals. I am active in fishing and bowfishing, as well as duck, goose, dove, and upland bird hunting.

 

Many of these hunts were physically challenging… mountain hunting inSpainandNamibia… stalking Asiatic water buffalo through the swamplands of the Northern Territory of Australia as well as the Cape Buffalo in the Okavango Delta region ofBotswana.

 

The most rewarding trophies have been the ones I have worked the hardest for, and those which have presented the most danger. The adrenaline of hunting an animal that can hunt you right back is something I can never get enough of!  I have currently taken two of the “big five”, buffalo and lion, along with several species of plains game and small game.

 

I hunted the forest buffalo along with my husband hunting a bongo on a combo hunt in the rainforest ofCameroon, and hope to do so again soon, with success this time! I went on several unsuccessful stalks for buffalo. My husband harvested his bongo on the second to last day of the hunt. We encountered several challenges on the hunt, with the weather not cooperating, my eye getting lacerated by a thorny vine, which of course in the heat and humidity was almost immediately infected. However, what affected our hunt the most was our head tracker, a pygmy by the name of Jean Quatre, was killed right in front of us by an elephant. This affected us on many levels, the hunt was stopped for two days for the funeral and grieving, but when we got back to hunting, everyone was working hard to get the animal Jean Quatre was hunting for. Many tears and cheers were shed when the bongo was down, with toasts for Jean Quatre.

 

Two years later, my first African PH, Christo Kaiser, was killed by a cow elephant inBotswanawhile he was with clients fromSpain. Both of these occurrences enhanced my appreciation for the danger of the hunt, and reinforced the need of continued focus and determination during the entire hunt.

 

There are multiple reasons I love to hunt. There is the social aspect, such as bird hunting, which is always great. Every year, September 1 is a huge day in our family. We gather friends and family for a hunt. When the hunt is over, we all get together, talk, clean birds, then enjoy a big dinner. The beginning of a new year of hunting inTexas!

 

My passion for the hunt led me to see what I could do to preserve our precious resources, and I became involved with Safari Club International as well as the Sables (SCIF Educational Division) on a local and national level. I am a life member of both, am past president of ourAustinchapter, serving other offices as well. I chaired Safari In A Box, now called Hands On Wildlife, nationally for the Sables for four years, and served as a national director on the Sables Governing Board and Steering Committee from 2007-2011. I have also served on several other committees and boards, both locally and nationally. I have completed the training and am a Master Measurer for SCI Trophy Records.

 

I am also a member of Texas Wildlife Association, National Rifle Association, Coastal Conservation Association, US Sportsman Association, as well as many other conservation organizations and chapters.

 

The education of our youth on why hunting is important to our resources is something I am extremely passionate about. As such, I am active with teaching Safari In A Box at local elementary and middle schools, as well as training teachers on its use once placed in their schools. I have also lectured at WestRidgeMiddle School6th Grade Social Studies Classes on topics of the cultures Africa andAustralia, in their similarities and differences with ours.

 

I volunteer with many and events, such as Cabela’s Kids Outdoors Days,TexasParksand Wildlife Expo, and I Support Outdoor Ed, as well as several others.

 

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