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Setting Up Camp: The “3 W’s”

by Ruth CusackRuth

In the spring of 2014, we headed to the coast of the Alaska Peninsula to hunt coastal brown bear. It was a fairly bumpy ride across the Shelikof Strait from Kodiak Island, but our pilot did a great job of managing the turbulence and successfully landing into a 35 mph headwind. Once we landed, it was all we could do to anchor the plane and offload, but we jumped out, grabbed gear, off-loaded and stacked our gear as quickly as possible, then waved good bye to our good friend and pilot Roland for the next 15 days.

It’s about this time that I remembered where we were! The Alaska Peninsula hailed by some as the land of the smoking giants and well known for its rugged beauty, long list of active volcanoes and home to some of the largest salmon runs and brown bear in the world. The Peninsula, which is also well known for its coastal winds and frequent storms, makes picking the right base camp location as important as remembering to bring ammo. This could mean the difference between having a great hunt and chasing your base camp down the beach. I usually do my best to find a flat location with some sort of a wind break to protect our camp from the predominant wind directions; usually a bluff, mountain side or clump of alders. We found our spot, and after a few branch trims and tent and bear fence setups, we are home sweet home and ready to begin searching the area for bear signs.

Later that night while we were having dinner our hunting partner Andrew asked why we picked this spot to camp and what we look for when setting up a campsite.  It’s a really good question and for us the answer is what we refer to as the “3 W’s” (Weather, Wildlife and Water), specifically in that order.


Weather: When hunting and picking a campsite on the Alaska Peninsula where 40-foot waves like those seen crashing across the bows of the boats on “The Deadliest Catch” slam against the shoreline, you have to consider prevailing winds and storm patterns. In a place like this, protection from the elements is a key part of picking a good location. You have to remember that if the weather turns and a storm rolls in, you will have to be prepared to ride it out. Unless you are in a life-threatening predicament, help is not going to come your way. A great tent by itself will not withstand these types of conditions – you have to have a great tent in a great location. On this hunt, we spotted a location which was flat and just along the edge of some alders with large overhanging limbs. We always carry a saw with us and by cutting these limbs, we created a flat opening which was protected by the alders on either side of our site, so we were able to stack the limbs as a windbreak for additional protection. Another weather pattern we have to consider on a coastal hunt is the tide. Alaska has huge tide patterns with some areas having tides up to 30ft, with tides changing in heights to where a tide book or a GPS with tide information can come in pretty handy. Just because your camp is dry today, doesn’t mean it won’t get soaking wet if you have a significant increase in tide depth.

Our goat hunt is another example where weather must be considered when selecting a camping location. We hunt on Kodiak Island in late October where big wet storm patterns are a frequent occurrence. These storms have a tendency to blow in from the east and our drop-off is on an alpine lake on top of a big valley which lays east to west, rifling those easterly storms in like a bullet through a gun barrel. Unfortunately, this location does not have any trees and few resources are available for building a break, but we were able to find and setup behind a little knoll, which gave us shelter from the brunt of those big easterly winds. Without this barrier, we would have been in a heck of a bind in 2009 when a great easterly blew in with 45-mph sustained winds, gusts up to 65-mph, and the most rainfall ever recorded in a 24-hour period. Great camping weather!

Here’s what we mean:

These are two great examples of where weather and weather patterns play the biggest part of our selection for a remote wilderness campsite.


Wildlife: The second biggest factor that we consider when selecting a campsite is mostly in consideration of bears. A good friend of ours is a local bear knowledge expert on Kodiak Island and participated in the investigation following the Timothy Treadwell incident. He once told us that campsite location played a big factor in that attack, and that bears literally had to walk through his camp and around his tent when traveling to and from their feeding area. It’s never a good idea to set up a camp that will interfere with wildlife movements. One well-known fact is that bears have a tendency to walk the exact same trail, and there are places on Kodiak Island where bears have literally worn individual step holes in the side of a mountain from centuries of placing their feet in the very same spot.

We always look for a spot that is away from game trails. We will usually try to set up with the front of the tent providing a good view of game trails and glassing areas, with the back and sides usually backed-up to some sort of blockage or cover where any animal coming into camp will make a lot of noise before they reach our site. It’s just a precaution that has always served us well. On the peninsula, we had a big bear walk right by camp while we slept and you could see where he just moseyed on by without even one step in our direction.

In the fall of 2014, we had a bear encounter during our black tail deer hunt on Kodiak Island. This bear entered our camp from behind our campsite and we knew he was coming in a long time before we actually saw him. We were prepared well before he reached our camp and we successfully ran him off, but to say there were a few excited folks in camp would be a serious understatement.

Bear encounter:


Water: Last but not least of the things we look for is a good source of fresh water. Our least favorite of all of the camp chores is packing water. Life is good if we can find all of the weather and wind advantages mentioned plus a ready source of fresh water. Since most of our water sources tend to be mountain streams or river drainages where wildlife has a tendency to travel, we will generally try to find a location which is close, but not next to a water source.

Picking a campsite near a good water source is another example of where weather can become a big factor, especially when hunting near a river system or during the late fall where a couple days of steady rain can flood a river drainage, or turn a small mountain stream into a raging river.

Both in 2009 and again in 2011 when our tent became closer to being a waterbed than a tent site, placing our camp played a big factor. In both of these cases, we had to deal with a lot more water than anyone would reasonably want to sign up for. Had we set up in any other location, instead of having water running under the tent and stomping a mud pie under our vestibule, we would have had a much more severe problem. We would have had water in the tent!


These three “W’s” are the things that we take into consideration when picking a remote wilderness camp, because when you decide to do an Alaskan remote wilderness hunt it’s usually going to be 10 to 15 days in a land that’s beautiful yet unforgiving. It’s a hunt where it is all on you. If you don’t bring it, you don’t have it, and if something goes wrong it’s all on you. Taking these things into consideration could help you enjoy an adventure of a lifetime without the added adventure of an emergency rescue.


The Apparel Company Shifts Focus to Accommodate Growing Customer Base

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The New Year is fast approaching and 2016 is full of exciting things to come for Próis®. In addition to a fresh new look and great new gear, the apparel company is taking its show schedule directly to consumers. A rapidly growing female hunting market brings increased sales and more demand for the women’s hunting gear we all know and love so much.

In order to accommodate new and existing customers, Próis plans on shifting their focus to consumer shows rather than trade shows. You can find them at the following events: RMEF Hunter and Outdoor Christmas Expo, Dallas Safari Club, Wild Sheep Foundation Convention, Safari Club International, Western Hunting and Conservation Expo, and the NRA National Convention. In addition, Próis will be present at most of the ladies functions connected to each event. They have opted to forego the ATA Trade Show and the SHOT Show in order to attend this new variety of consumer-based shows.

“Do not be misled, Próis is better than ever,” said Kirstie Pike, President/CEO of Próis Hunting and Field Apparel. “We look forward to doing what we do best: connecting with female hunters and shooters across the country. It is, after all, what sets us apart from all the rest!”

Próis was created for women, by women who refuse to settle for downsized men’s gear or upsized children’s gear. Each garment is created with the most technologically advanced fabrics available and a host of advanced features to provide comfort, silence and durability. The company’s out-of-the-box thinking has resulted in amazing designs for serious hunters that have taken the industry by storm and raised the bar for women’s outdoor apparel.

To learn more about the company’s innovative line of serious, high-performance huntwear for real women, contact: Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, 28001-B US Highway 50, Gunnison, CO 81230 · (970) 641-3355 · Or visit:


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Hunter and Outdoor Christmas Expo is less than a month away! The show will be held from December 3rd to the 12th in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, co-located with the NFR’s Cowboy Christmas. Do you have plans to attend? If so, be sure to stop by and say hello to Paige Murphy and Katherine Grand of Prois! Can’t wait to see you there!



DanniMooreCLothesWe all know about washing in scent free detergent, but do you also make sure that it is free of all optical brighteners? You should and here’s why.

The quick a dirty explanation goes a little something like this. Mammals eyes are comprised of cells called rods and cones in order to see, different mammals have different ratios of these. Rods pick up light transmission, but don’t register colour; while cones are what allow us to see colour. Ungulate eyes are composed of mostly rods with some cones. So they do see some colours and are not completely colour blind as previously believed. This is why hunter orange works, they don’t have those cones in their eyes and therefore it is a grey scale colour to them. Laundry detergent, unless stated no optical brighteners, all have uv brighteners in them. It makes clothing ‘pop’ to us, which we interpret as bright and clean. However, to ungulates this gives off a ghostly bright glow in the woods, regardless of colour! So next time you wash your hunting clothes, make sure that it is optical or uv brightener free along with being scent free.

This doesn’t mean that deer won’t see you or that you can trot around in the bush like a magical unicorn unseen by your prey, but it can certainly give you an edge in detection and hopefully get you that advantage to get the job done!!

-Danni Moore, Prois Hunting Apparel Staff


Gear Up for Deer Season in Próis Hunting Apparel® and You Will Never Be Cold Again

Deer season is finally upon us and wScreen Shot 2015-11-05 at 1.16.52 PMhether you are a trophy or meat hunter, the end result is the same if you aren’t donning the right apparel. Female hunters deserve the very best fit and function available to ensure a successful harvest and Próis is here to deliver that. Designed by women themselves, Próis pulled out all the stops to ensure the ultimate in silence, concealment, and comfort this deer season.

On the coldest days late in the season, when most hunters opt to stay in bed, you will be geared up and ready to go with Próis’ Archtach Down Jacket. Constructed of 800 fill gray goose down, this jacket is made for the serious hunter who doesn’t play hooky from a little bad weather. Super lightweight and compressible materials make it a perfect addition to any hunting pack. Should the weather change drastically or you work up a sweat dragging a big buDSC_1274ck out of the woods, you’ll have no problem stowing it for future use. The Próis Archtach Down Jacket is offered in Realtree® APX, Advantage Max 1, MothWing Mountain Mimicry, and Black. It comes in sizes XS-XXL.

Silent, wind-blocking, and water resistant pants are a must when sitting in the deer stand. With Próis’ Generation X Pants, you will have just that and more. Warm microfleece lining makes these pants perfect for hunting the rut when sitting all day is necessary. Warmth is a huge factor if you plan to stay out longer than a few hours, especially during late season hunts in colder climates. Prois’ Generation X pants offer maximum protection from the elements, while still being lightweight and functional. Deep cargo pockets with magnetic snap closures offer a place for must haves like hand warmers or wind checkers, knees with articulated pleats take the strain off your joints while sitting for extended periods, and elastic drawstrings with cord lock technology draw pants to the boot to keep the cold air out. The Generation X Pants are offered in Realtree® AP, Advantage Max 1, and MothWing Mountain Mimicry. Get them in sizes XS-XXL.

Layering is ever-so necessScreen Shot 2015-11-05 at 1.14.36 PMary when it comes to hunting a tree stand. With no natural blockage from the wind and very little body movement, keeping your core warm is paramount to staying comfortable. This is why the Reversible Sherpa Fleece Vest is the perfect addition to your gear list. With camouflage polyester Sherpa fleece on one side and Polartec 200 blaze orange microfleece on the other, this vest is perfect for anyone hunting areas with blaze orange laws. Scapular drop pockets between the shoulder blades are perfect for housing activated hand warmers, further boosting core temperatures. The Reversible Sherpa Fleece comes in Realtree® AP and Advantage Max 1 and is offered in sizes XS-XL.

Quite possibly one of the most important and most vulnerable parts of your body are the feet. Cold feet can ruin the best hunt and nobody likes that. Próis staff recommends Incredisocks to keep you warm throughout the day. Made from bamboo charcoal, the sleek designs of the Incredisocks only confirm Incrediwear’s commitment to perfection. This recipe ensures a perfect match for the hunting lifestyle. Keeping you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm, Incredisocks performance unequivocally lives up to the promise of excellence. At this point, you’ve got all the best gear and you might as well have the socks to match.

Get these items and more at or call (970) 641-3355 to receive additional advice from the staff on recommended sizing and camo patterns.

Próis was created for women, by women who refuse to settle for downsized men’s gear or upsized children’s gear. Each garment is created with the most technologically advanced fabrics available and a host of advanced features to provide comfort, silence and durability. The company’s out-of-the-box thinking has resulted in amazing designs for serious hunters that have taken the industry by storm and raised the bar for women’s outdoor apparel.

To learn more about the company’s innovative line of serious, high-performance huntwear for real women, contact: Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, 28001-B US Highway 50, Gunnison, CO 81230 · (970) 641-3355 · Or visit:

It’s Waterfowl Month! Ready for Some Goose Fajitas??!!


Goose Breast Fajitas

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 4-6 hours
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


  •  4 goose breast fillets, skin on or off
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, cut into
  • 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup tequila (or substitute orange juice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • salsa
  • warm flour tortillas
  • lime wedges

1. Place goose breast fillets in a shallow plastic or glass container. Arrange red onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño over goose. In a bowl, combine tequila with the next seven ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture over goose, onions, and peppers. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, turning often.Fired Up Southwest Fajitas

2. Pour off and discard marinade. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add goose and brown evenly on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. Add onions and peppers, and cook until onions are translucent.

3. Remove goose breast when still medium-rare. Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice thinly across the grain of the meat. Arrange sliced meat on plates, top with onions and peppers, and serve with salsa, tortillas, and lime wedges.

Ready. Set. Hunt.

by April Mack

Just a thought in my mind;

Bird season has come to a close. No hunting for the next 3 months. Now what? After hunting for almost 9 months straight I am almost at a loss! Ah yes… I begin thinking about the upcoming fall elk and deer archery season. So many things to do! Where will I hunt? Will I draw a tag this year? If not, where will my focus for general season be? I need to practice daily and hone in on my archery skills. I must make sure all my gear is still in good condition. Do I have enough supplies? Do I have extra’s of the important things (headlamps, release, arrows)? What do I need to purchase that I don’t already have? Oh yeah, and then there is the physical aspect. You must be in good, strong physical condition to hunt – packing in or just a day trip. Luckily that is a habit I have developed over the years and don’t have to focus too hard on (it seems I have enough to think about!).   Yes, I think I will be busy enough prepping for this fall!


I can vaguely see it in the distance;

No controlled hunt tags… general season will be my focus now. This will be the year that I am finally able to hike in and spike camp. Something I have been dreaming of doing for years, not just my local day hunting trips. Our location is narrowed down, time off has been requested. Time to pull out my packing list and review it. Time to increase my practicing. Time to fine tune my calling. I am starting to become distracted at work, thinking about the possibilities of this fall’s hunt. Yes, I even downloaded an app to count the exact seconds until I can get out there and play ball. I attend elk calling seminars and learned some very valuable information. For instance; an elk rubbing a soft, young tree in a sense is him flirting with the “ladies” vs. a hard, solid dead tree; that my friends is his way of asking for a fight. Or learning just exactly what he is saying; when to determine he is beckoning for a little love and knowing when he is yelling to get out of his house. Good stuff! I attend more seminars on packing in, tips and tricks on food as well as a complete over haul of gear; packs, clothes, boots, bino’s etc. It seems that this year I am more ready for elk season then I have ever been. With my new found information along with developing the skill to call and bugle I feel pretty good about what I am about to embark on.

20 30 40 50BUGLE








What is everyone else doing?

So let me back up for just a minute… while attending all these seminars and watching videos and reading articles, a lot of this information can be overwhelming as well as a bit confusing. One suggests (this is the rule I’ve always followed) once you hit the animal, depending on the shot placement (lung, heart, liver, gut etc), you give it time. 30-minutes to six hours let it lie and expire without getting pushed. Seems to make sense. The flip side to that is no matter what the shot placement is, go after the animal immediately. Here is the reason behind this theory; we all know deer and elk are hardy animals. We have all heard of an animal getting shot, we follow the blood trail only to find less and less blood to end up losing a blood trail altogether. With the idea of pushing the animal right away you keep the wound fresh and the parts that are injured constantly moving and bleeding out while they are trying to get away. This does not allow the blood to thicken up and seal the cut. Eventually they are down for the count. That also seems to make sense. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Face concealment vs. none. Aggressive approach vs. soft and subtle. Sitting vs. stalking. Sneaking into the “bedroom” vs. letting them come out. Good grief, the list goes on. Don’t get me get started on manufactures brands! Basically what it really boils down to it is either someone’s opinion or someone’s personal experience; as with anything else I need to research where I am getting my advice from, what kind of success rate they have had, how long they have been hunting and if possible a little one on one to know if they truly do walk the walk.

I have decided that with all this new found information that it is up to me to see what each scenario and situation holds and move on my gut feeling The last thing I want to do is to second guess myself and lack confidence in any area of my hunt.


It’s just around the corner;

I have all my gear and pack items spread out across the floor, somewhat resembling a small sporting goods store. By the looks of things I may need to lighten the load a bit.


Or get a pack-horse. I have amped up my shooting practice, shooting at least an hour every day and hitting 3-D courses at least once a week. I continue to hit the gym regularly as well as add in some hikes with my pack, throwing in some dumbbells- you know, just for fun. I am even experimenting with making my own version of pre-made dried foods. That is turning out to be a whole different story. And of course, continuing to practice my calls. It can be quite entertaining the looks you get sitting at a stop light on the way to work!

I do a final check of all gear and supplies, go down the list, checking it twice. (Yes, this does resemble Christmas time). Almost with a nervous feeling… I think I am ready!


It is time!

One last work week to go. Last minute honey-do’s around the house. Last minute packing, organizing, repacking and re-organizing. This final week seems to fly by as last minute details continually creep up. We are already into the elk season so I have had the pleasure of seeing other hunter’s post on social media the things they have seen and the animals they have harvested. This only increases my excitement and knowing that time spent out hunting or any animals seen will be a success.

We load up a few days prior to when we leave, double checking and reorganizing yet again. Finally, the day has arrived! Leaving first thing in the morning, only to have it feel like we should have left even hours earlier, my hunting partner and best friend, (who happens to also be my husband) and I…

To be continued???

I am secretly hoping to leave you hanging to maybe follow up with the story of our actual hunt!


I have included a general list of items we pack in:

  •   Tent
  •  Sleeping bags
  •   Sol Escape Bivy®
  •   Light weight pillow
  •   Light weight inflatable pad
  •   Sawyer Squeeze® water purification system/ extra bladders
  •   Pack bladder
  •   Mess kit
  •   Rocket Pocket® cook stove with MSR® fuel canisters
  •  Extra batteries (flashlight, range finder etc.)
  •   Sewing kit
  •   Camera
  •   Wipes and Body Glide Anti Chafe®
  •   Mini-flashlight
  •   Walking sticks
  •   Painters plastic (light weight and helps to keep the animal clean; animal hide only goes so far)
  •   Dry bags (to hold ropes, electrical tape, matches, fire starters, emergency First-aid kit)
  •    Fire starter – Vaseline® & cotton balls
  •    First aid – Super glue, blister & regular band aids, gauze, lip balm, Neosporin®, Ibuprofen®, emergency blanket, tape
  •   Food
  •    All meals are individually bagged and prepped
  •   Clothing
  •    All base layers and liners have merino wool in the material

Not included in the list are things we have readily accessible on our persons as we hike in. (Range finder, knife, wind indicator powder, binoculars, etc).


Hunt proud and God bless.


Food Adventures

by Nancy Rodriguez


If you have ever planted a garden and watched it grow, then you know the satisfaction that comes from it. You choose your seeds wisely, prep and till the dirt. You carefully place the seeds in their own little spot in the earth. Then you water, fertilize, nurture, and wait. Then one day it happens…a tiny little green stem pops up to say hello to the world. You can’t help but smile, because you are part of something magical. You are growing food! You’re constantly working in your garden, watering, fertilizing, and sometimes even talking to your plants. Your plants grow and mature daily. Then the day comes when you see a tiny green tomato pop out of a little yellow flower, and your smile becomes bigger. But the greatest satisfaction will come the day you pick your first beautiful vine ripened tomato. Your knife will cut through the beautiful red flesh and you will swear you have never tasted something so delicious. You know exactly the preparation, work, and care that went into growing that tomato. You know with that, you are providing a perfectly healthy piece of food for your family. Every time I eat a vegetable from our garden, I remember the journey it took to grow and harvest this food. This type of food adventure never ceases to amaze me, even if it is in my own backyard.


The feeling of new adventure is the same for me with hunting, fishing, and gathering but on a much grander scale. My husband and I enjoy the great outdoors together, leaving the distractions of our daily lives behind, and embracing the stillness of the wilderness. Ultimately we hunt for food, but the journey and adventure are also extremely important to us. We train, prepare, and work hard to harvest every animal we take with an accurate and clean kill. A biting contradiction in the world of non hunters, I know. The process of killing is a direct result of taking responsibility for the life of the animals you consume. I know how the animals I eat lived, and more importantly I know how they died. It then becomes my responsibility to utilize as much of the animal as possible to the best of my ability. Whether I’m chasing antelope over the desert floor or diving in the deep blue ocean to pick abalone, I know each and every adventure I experience will provide food for our family and a memory that will last forever. No matter what, I always give thanks to the animals, fruit, plants, and mother earth. I believe, as long as there are people living and working to preserve the hunting and gathering lifestyle, there will always be wild places for everyone to enjoy. I choose to hunt, harvest, and gather from the earth. The food nourishes my body, but the adventure nourishes my soul.


From field to plate…these are some of the amazing meals that our food adventures have provided.

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

Antelope backstrap with roasted peppers and tomatoes

Antelope backstrap with roasted peppers and tomatoes


Bull Elk

Elk Burger

Elk Burger



Smoked Trout Salad

Smoked Trout Salad



Sauteed abalone in lemon cups and clams

Sauteed abalone in lemon cups and clams

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Venison steaks in Mushroom Sauce

Venison steaks in Mushroom Sauce


Waterfowlers Require the Warmth and Dryness of Próis’ Xtreme Clothing Line Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.39.44 PM

Whether it’s ducks, geese, or cranes you’re after, choose your hunting gear wisely because let’s face it, it’s going to be a cold, wet, and windy day afield. Waterfowl hunting isn’t for the faint of heart, birds don’t take days off because of weather and you shouldn’t have to either. This season, try Próis’ Xtreme Line to keep you warm in the field or marsh.

You can’t function without your weapon, which extends beyond the shotgun you carry. Hunting apparel can make or break your hunt, especially when you are fighting the elements. Próis’ Xtreme jacket and pants offer a waterproof shell and insulated fabric, which will keep you dry and warm on the most frigid days.

Try the Xtreme jacket on for size and you’ll never want to take it off. Offered in both Realtree AP® and Advantage Max 1®, this jacket has all of Próis’ signature features you know and love. Nylon tricot lining makes for ease of layering and added silence. Deep chest and hand pockets with zippered closures offer plenty of space for calls, gloves, hand warmers, and other tools.

The more wind the better when it comes to hunting waterfowl, but more wind can also mean added discomfort if you aren’t donning the proper attire. This is not a concern with the Xtreme jacket, as it features Velcro closures at the wrist and a ducktail designed to provide additional warmth and dryness to the backside. A built in drawstring along the waist further enhances warmth and keeps cool air out.

Próis’ Xtreme pants are constructed of similar materials, with nylon tricot lining and 150 gram 3MM ultra thinsulate. They are also offered in both Realtree AP® and Advantage Max 1®. Layer these pants over your jeans while goose or crane hunting and you will never be cold again. As the day goes on, quickly remove them by unzipping the 9 inch boot zippers, designed specifically for ease of layering. Deep-set cargo pockets on each side are perfect for stowing flashlights, cell phones, or other important gadgets. An elastic waist and drawstring are perfect for layering and keeping the breeze out. These pants are the ultimate in warmth and perfect for the seasoned waterfowler.

The Xtreme line is offered in sizes XS-XXL. Get these items and more at or call (970) 641-3355 to receive additional advice from the staff on recommended sizing and camo patterns.

Próis was created for women, by women who refuse to settle for downsized men’s gear or upsized children’s gear. Each garment is created with the most technologically advanced fabrics available and a host of advanced features to provide comfort, silence and durability. The company’s out-of-the-box thinking has resulted in amazing designs for serious hunters that have taken the industry by storm and raised the bar for women’s outdoor apparel.

To learn more about the company’s innovative line of serious, high-performance huntwear for real women, contact: Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, 28001-B US Highway 50, Gunnison, CO 81230 · (970) 641-3355 · Or visit:


by Gretchen Steele

Chances are if you are reading this you already understand the importance of “passing it on” and taking youngsters afield and waterfowl hunting. There are multiple reasons to pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting. In this era of electronic and technological bombardment, it becomes even more important to help connect children to the land and help build a good conservation ethic. Teaching the young ones about waterfowl hunting also makes for increased family bonding time, develops life skills such as responsibility, good sportsmanship, self – discipline, respect, and contributes positively to both physical and mental health.

However, taking the wee ones to the duck blind or goose pit does require a little planning on your part as an adult in order to ensure a successful time in the field. If that time in the field is not fun, or worse yet if it’s miserable, it’s hard to retain those young folks as future conservationists and hunters.

Here are some ways to help insure that your youngster has an enjoyable and productive time in the field this waterfowl season.


GRETCHENWATERFOWLIt goes without saying, but safety should be the number one concern anytime you head outdoors with child. These first experiences will lay the ground work for their safety actions later in life. If they are taught both via instruction and by example from the get go good hunting and outdoor safety practices, it will become ingrained and instinctive them as they grow into adulthood.

Look for youth wingshooting clinics, insure their attendance at a hunter safety course, repeat over and over basic gun, boat, water, and weather safety. Explain the why of safety rules, the reason we need to wear hearing protection and life jackets. Set an example by always displaying the best safety practices when afield.


Since most states and public land waterfowl areas have a designated youth season, as well as special youth hunts, take advantage of those opportunities. Conservation organizations such as Delta Waterfowl also have specially designated “First Hunt” waterfowl hunts that can take much of the work out of the hunting trip for you and are geared especially towards a young audience with additional activities that turn a hunting trip into an event.



Education should start well before your youngster ever steps into the duck blind. Take your youngster scouting with you, and use this as an opportunity to teach waterfowl identification skills. Invite your youngster to sit down with you when preparing or ordering any permits, licenses, windshield cards etc. It’s important for young ones to learn the entire process, from buying your duck stamp and shells to having that delicious duck breast for supper. This goes for all aspects of the hunt, everything from ethics and safety, to the waterfowl, to the habitat. Don’t be rigid in your instruction, but rather let the youngsters innate curigretchen_steele_youth_waterfowl_hunting-7573osity lead to the areas they want to learn. Encourage them to be curious, and ask all the questions they want. Help them research youth friendly facts by visiting websites directed towards young folks and waterfowl and hunting in general. This will help build their anticipation level for the actual trip afield.


Young hunters don’t need to be outfitted in the best high tech hunting attire that money can buy, but they DO have to be comfortable, warm and dry. Be sure that their outdoor gear fits appropriately and isn’t too big, too floppy, and causing issues with walking or shooting. Just like with adults, it’s hard to stay motivated and enjoy the time afield when your hands and feet hurt from the cold. Keeping the young ones warm and dry will keep them from being miserable and not wanting to join you the next trip to the duck blind. Pack extra hand and foot warmers or a small heater. Ask them frequently how they are doing. If you just assume that they are fine, and wait until you hear “I’m cold…I want to go home” you are already in trouble, since likely it will take a little time to pack up decoys, gear, and hike back to the vehicle – rendering them past cold and flat out miserable by the time they are getting warm in the clubhouse or truck.


Youngsters in a duck blind can easily eat their weight in snacks. They are ALWAYS hungry. First, think about what kinds of snacks to take. For example, if they eat half a dozen candy bars and guzzle three bottles Mountain Dew you are will have a wired for sound can’t sit still wiggling nightmare on your hands. Instead opt for smarter snacks like peanut butter and crackers, pretzels, jerky, or dried fruit and some juice boxes. Second, think about the packaging. The snapping and crackling of little fingers ripping through individually packaged snacks can sound like a jet airplane when trying to be still in the blind. Not to mention all those wrappers that have to be gathered up and hauled out. Consider packing in zipper top plastic bags for a little more ease in opening with gloved hands and for a little quieter snacking experience.


There is no magical age for when a youth should take their first birds. Certainly, practice, experience, training, and adequate supervision are all very important aspects of a first harvest; but just being properly educated in the use of firearms and firearms safety, and demonstrating the ability to reliably use a firearm is only one aspect. The youngster must be mentally ready also. If a young hunter is pushed too hard before they are really ready it can ruin the experience, and may turn them away from hunting all together. Assure the young person in blind that there are no expectations, and when they feel ready to take the shot and down the bird – you will do all you can to help them be successful. ON THEIR TERMS. There is a highly likely chance that if a child is forced to shoot before they truly feel ready the likelihood of a bad shot and crippled game is high. An event like that can completely turn them away from hunting. Praise them for what they do shoot. Even if it is a lowly coot – for that young hunter it is prize and treat it as such. Make every success they have an opportunity for positive feedback and praise.

It’s perfectly normal for children to feel sad and possibly even cry after a harvest. Children aren’t always as comfortable with death and dying animals as we assume they might be. Allow them to feel a little sad, allow them to have a few tears if need be. Negating their feelings, belittling them, telling them to “man up” etc. may make them feel they are unworthy to hunt. Instead, use this opportunity to talk about putting food on the table, humane killing, why we respect what we kill, explain the importance of keeping populations in check. Acknowledge and accept their feelings and demonstrate the positive parts of hunting.


It’s hard to tolerate a bored, wiggly, whiny, child when you are waiting for birds, but have realistic expectations and keep the experience positive. Use this time to talk about the other wildlife and birds in the habitat around you, pack some age appropriate field guides and books about wildlife, nature and hunting. Use your smartphone and some the great apps for hunting, bird id, bird sounds, tracking etc. to spice things up a little. A deck of cards can also come in handy as well! Small digital cameras are an inexpensive way to also keep the young ones entertained. Appoint them “official photographer “status and encourage them to capture moments that can later be used on a snow day to make a scrapbook about their hunting trips.


Most of all, stay positive and remember that the time in the blind a young child is able to tolerate can be relatively short. Be prepared to call the hunt earlier than normal. Play up all of the positive aspects, all of the things in addition to killing birds that make waterfowl hunting such an enjoyable experience, and you will go far in building a lifetime love of waterfowl hunting and conservation in your young companion.