Latest Blog Posts

Prois Field Staffer Mia Anstine and LG Give the Readers of the WON Great Tips on Hunting Abroad!

Never ones to take a rest…. Prois Field Staffer Mia Anstine and Junior Ambassador LG have some great tips for hunting abroad!

Mia & the Little Gal: Mia Anstine shares tips on how to prepare for a hunting trip overseas.

LG and I dream of hunting abroad. In our downtime we chat about where we would like to go. Can you imagine how long the list is? We’ve all had those, “If I won the lottery” chats, right? The “where” question really isn’t the hard part because we’d be happy to see the entire world. That is, if money, safety and time weren’t issues. Now we just have to figure out how to get there.

LG and I chatted with a few of our friends who are experienced world travelers and accomplished hunters. Their answers about hunting abroad enlightened us…
READ MORE:  Visit the Womens Outdoor News

 

Photo Courtesy of the Womens Outdoor News

 

Prois Field-Staffer’s…Amy Hanneman’s Girlfriend Guide to Big Game Hunting!

Girlfriend’s Guide to Big Game Hunting

By:  Prois Field Staffer- Amy Hanneman

Ok ladies, I know many of you are curious about this whole hunting thing and want to know what’s so great about it. Maybe your husband or boyfriend is a hunter and you see how passionate he is about hunting, but you just don’t understand why he thinks it’s so wonderful. Perhaps you love the outdoors and want a hobby that will challenge you. The biggest hang-up keeping you from indulging in the sport is that you are intimidated by the entire concept and you have no idea where to start.

Read More… 

Falconry Files- Lessons from the Field

By Katherine Grand

When I first started practicing falconry I had never even hunted so the learning curve was often painful.  I have learned so much in my 7 years practicing falconry and I look forward to many more lessons yet to come.  The following are just a couple lessons I’ve learned while practicing the ancient art of falconry.

Lesson #1, Always wear a hat

When out in the field hunting with falconry birds, people often end up being used as perches.  Although the hawks are not treating your head like prey, hawks and falcons will still end up scratching your head with needle sharp talons as they try to gain traction on slippery scalps.  Also any smart ass falconers in the field with you may decide to purse their lips and squeak like a screaming mouse which will make any hawk clamp down on whatever is beneath their feet, namely you.  This is also a good reason to never hold a hawk barehanded as falconers love these types of jokes.  My dog Lucky played this trick on me yesterday by whining while Aurora my current red-tailed hawk was perched on my head.  My red-tail Apollo was much more polite and would perch on my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot instead.  Yaarrr that be much more comfortable

Aurora also enjoys smacking me in the head with her feet as she flies by me if she thinks I am not flushing enough game or calling her frequently enough to the fist for tidbits.  A good ball cap makes the difference between that being mildly annoying and expletive eliciting pain.  Aurora also decided this season that my ponytail periodically looks like a squirrel.  This generally happens on evenings when the weather prevents me from taking her out hunting and I do some backyard training.  I usually keep my hair in a braid and she hangs from my ponytail until I push her off.  So far my Prois caps have prevented stray talons from ending up anywhere with nerve endings.   I also learned this season never to handle her while wearing my faux fur trimmed hooded down jacket that my Mom bought me for Christmas.  You may use your imagination on that one.  Needless to say falconry is not the sport for those with a low pain threshold or fear of talon acupuncture.  Last but not least hats are great for keeping mutes (AKA raptor poop) out of your hair.  Hawks and eagles projectile poop which is called slicing while falcons mute straight down.  Slicing is the reason I have been banned from bringing my hawks on work trips.  While hunting with my first red-tailed hawk Artemis using a T perch he muted and it landed directly on my hat.   I watched it drip off the front of my bill like a giant brown and white glob of snot but luckily it wasn’t sliding down my face.   T Perches are used in flat areas with no or few natural perches to give your hawk a height advantage and added acceleration on prey.  They also put hawks in a great position to mute on you and your friends in the field.  Here is my friend and fellow Colorado falconer Chuck Butler explaining more about T perches (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojpp5_iyv34).

Lesson#2 Aiming your bird

Photo courtesy of http://chickadeephotoart.com/red-tailed-hawk/

If being pooped on by birds is lucky then I am one of the luckiest girls on the planet.  As a falconer one of the first things I learned was a hawk’s body language when it’s about to mute .  When you are indoors initially manning  (acclimating your new hawk to people and pets) if you have any carpeting or furniture you don’t want pooped on you get very quick at aiming your bird for them to launch a flying hawk shit in the most cleanable direction possible.  Sometimes you can’t redirect them quickly enough.  On my wedding day when I was holding my goshawk Hades during our ceremony I was able to point him away from myself and my maid of honor. He muted into one of the large bouquets instead.  I have accidentally pointed Aurora at my dog Lucky but he was still easier to clean than our area rug.  I did receive an angry and insulted look from Lucky when it happened.  He is a poop connoisseur and much prefers being covered in coyote and fox poop than hawk.  This is yet another reason not to piss off a falconer.  We are crack shots with a muting hawk.  Don’t believe a falconer when they tell you that you being in the line of fire was an accident if they are holding the hawk.

 

Thous Shalt Not Poop on the Bride

Stay tuned for more incredibly serious and very important Falconry Files, Lessons for the Field.

Falconry is the most highly regulated form of hunting.  It requires an extensive licensing process and it is a huge commitment.  Most falconers describe falconry as a lifestyle rather than a hobby.  Please DO NOT attempt falconry without a license.  Please visit http://n-a-f-a.com/AboutFalconry.htm  to learn more about falconry.

An Adventure to Remember

By Prois Staffer Megan DeHaan
Some people leave marks on your heart more than others. It just so turns out we met more than a few in Florida. Southern Florida feels like a foreign country to me. Its full of swamps, farm ground surrounded by ditches of water, and its flat, but still for some reason every time you turn a “corner” you seem to find something new. There’s water everywhere, but you don’t dare dive in to cool off unless you want a limb bit off. We started the trip off helping out a trapper. There are few ways to hunt gators. One of them is buying a tag for trapping. You can be accompanied by a licensed trapper and go out and harvest live gators or shoot them to be taken back for meat/hides/etc. Almost nothing is wasted, and population control is essential to maintain a healthy balance. We got the front row experience! I was hooked.
 
We then ventured off to go hog hunting in the evening. We didn’t know what to expect other than we were going in a swamp buggy and we had hounds. I thought gator hunting was fun……this was better. Not only did we not have lights, but we didn’t have alligator/snake proof body suits. I only ponder the thought because as were running full speed in the dark chasing the guys and dogs in front of us sinking in water, tripping over brush, I start thinking what if I stepped on an alligator or something??? But the adrenaline rushing through my body told me not to worry and I kept running lifting my feet up hoping I didn’t trip….again. We get to the dogs, and the pig, my husband ran up and grabs the pig by the leg, flipped it over and the rest of us had to grab the dogs off before they got mauled.   By this point I was out of breath.  They told me to hold the pig down so they could tie it. Once the hog is tied its pretty much a sitting duck, just don’t get near its head…
Next, was fishing. We headed on down to the Everglades and went to the Ten Thousand Islands. Don’t let the name fool you, only a couple islands are even islands at all with only a couple places to stand. They’re all mangroves. You can’t just get out of the boat.  It’s all huge groves of trees that look like they’re just floating in the water. Bizarre! Our fishing guide takes us all through the “islands”.   At one point I thought we were going straight into some trees only to have to duck down into the small fishing boat and within a minute we were slowly weaving through a tunnel of mangroves and swamp in the middle of nowhere. The tunnels were miles long! You leave  one and enter into a secluded open water resembling a lake to fish some more. The only way out is through the tunnel system. It was beautiful, peaceful, and left me speechless just soaking it in. The fishing was great and of course I caught the biggest fish. A 35″ Snook! Everything we caught was catch and release, we didn’t catch anything we could keep. I was in paradise and I have the sunburn to prove it.
Air boats….I need one. Seriously…..I do. Those things are awesome! If I could just bring home a swamp buggy and an airboat I would be set. We got to take one out in the swamp and drive around. I had a permanent grin of my face the whole time. They can spin around on a dime! If you ever want an adrenaline rush that might be the ticket.
We had so much fun the first time out hog hunting we had to go for round two. Only this time was a little different. We ran a hog within the first 30 minutes. He was big, I mean big. I knew this because the guys that took us didn’t let me off the buggy this time without telling me to stay back. Not only did they say this, they made eye contact with me and made sure I heard them. The strike dog did its job and before I knew it all the commotion had settled down and while some were hog tying the rest of us were wondering where the blood was coming from? One of the dogs were bleeding pretty badly. Those teeth are more treacherous than they look. One little swipe could kill a dog. Luckily it was only a flesh wound. Did I mention how big that hog was? I couldn’t hardly lift him up for a picture, not to mention I had to balance him between my legs and stop him from whipping his head around at me.   It started drizzling…..we kept at it.  Within an hour it was pouring. Every single person on that buggy was drenched. Except for me! HA! I was smart enough to bring my Prois jacket with me and I was dry as a whistle…except for my legs. They were drenched. But, at least I was warm. I even stayed on the buggy after everyone got dropped off at one car in hopes we would go faster on the way back. Oh and you can add, mosquito proof to any Prois shirt. I never got bit through any shirt!
The last hoorah. We decided to give her one last try and go for a real big gator. And as luck would have it we found a monster. He was 12 ft. long and weighed over 450lbs. This guy must have been 100 years old! As soon as they see you they go under and they’re gone. You have to fish fo them and snag em up. After wrestling them down you either have to bring them ashore and tape their mouth shut or in this case (he was too big for comfort to do that) you shoot him first.  He showed his age. I’ve never seen such a giant dinosaur up close. My husband shot him with one shot and it took a truck to get him out of the water. Now that was a gator!! What a great way to finish up our trip.
I saved the best for last. The people we met there. We had the royal treatment the whole time. I’ve never met more hardworking, honest, all around great people. I feel honored to even had met them. I will never forget my experience and im already planning a time to go back. We made some lifelong friends that’s for sure.  If anyone is looking for a great place to go gator hunting and a once in a lifetime experience. Please look up Townsend & Sons Everglades Outfitters. You will not be disappointed I promise you they are some of the nicest people I have ever met and I consider them a part of my family. www.thegatorman.com 863-673-3783

Words to Live By from Lanny Barnes

By Lanny Barnes, Prois Pro-Staffers and Twin Biathletes www.twinbiathletes.com

The path to becoming an Olympian has no map, or trail marker, or mile marker, or Olympian for dummies book. This path however sits at the corner of life, heartache, and dreams. Every step is carved out by a million missteps, stumbles, falls and leaps. When we set out, we discover how many of those around us are willing to lend us a hand to help us find the right path. Those are the people beside us and behind us lifting us up and helping us find the right road, the right path, and giving us the wings to soar. Every setback isn’t a step back, it’s a comeback and a chance to soar again. These are a few things I’ve learned along the road to becoming an Olympian and while the 2014 Olympic Winter Games have ended,  it is only the beginning of a new dream and new path. I didn’t bring home a medal in Sochi, but I brought home so much more in experiences, perspective and my gratitude towards those who have helped both of us in this incredible journey.

The life lessons and challenges we’ve faced in biathlon over the past 15 years have not only helped us to become a better competitor, but it’s allowed us to find out exactly who we are. Thanks to all of you we know now that we won’t give up no mater what life throws at us and that we are also willing to make sacrifices for the ones we love. The last race of my career and my last Olympic race I decided that I was either going out there to win it or die trying. The sacrifice all of you have made for me deserved nothing less than my full effort. I unfortunately didn’t win, but I did die trying and had nothing left at the finish. I have always set very high goals for myself but nothing that I didn’t think wasn’t possible. All of you have pushed and encourage me to try and follow my dreams no matter how hard and challenging they might be. One of my big goals besides bringing home a medal was to try and inspire those around me in some way. I hope that both Tracy and I have as all of you have inspired us to keep pushing no matter how hard things got. I know that when I die and it comes time for God to judge me, he will not ask “how many gold medals have you won?” rather he will ask “how many people did you inspire and how much love did you put into what you did and those around you.” This is not only what I hope to have achieved, but it is something you have achieved as well. Thank you for your inspiration and for allowing us become Olympians and represent not only our country, but you. Tracy and I will dedicate our lives to giving back to all of you who have selflessly given to us and our dreams. Thank you!
-Tracy & Lanny

Ice Fishing Prois Style

By Prois Staffer Shannon Rasmussen
One thing that I have learned about myself over the years is that I HAVE TO SPEND TIME OUTDOORS! Winter and I have never been friends. It used to be that every year; fall hunting season would come to an end, which would then lead to a severe case of PHSD (Post Hunting Season Depression).  You add being stuck in the house as the weather turned cold and snowy, and you now had what was “The Shining” about to play out in real life! Well, that is no longer the case! My happy little, cabin fever suffering family discovered the sport of Ice Fishing. I never would have thought that I would enjoy sitting out on an ice covered lake in frigid temperatures, for hours on end, staring at several small holes drilled in the ice.  I have always been more of a warm weather kind of fisherman. Turns out that I didn’t know what I was missing, and thanks to my Prois Ultra Hoodie, Pro-Edition Jacket, Reversible Sherpa Vest, Sherpa Beanie and Gaiter, I am always prepared for whatever the weather conditions are for the day.  In my opinion ice fishing might just be the greatest way to survive the winter months!  Think about it, you get out of the house, and if you’re lucky the sun will be shining, giving you a chance to soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Add to that, the entertainment of slipping and sliding, as you frantically run to whichever of the many poles you have out, as it starts to bounce up and down with a bite. Then to top it off, after a great day of fishing, you now have a delicious dinner made up of your fresh catch!  It is such a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends until the warm weather reappears, and the Spring hunts begin.  

Hunting with a Camera

 

By Gretchen Steele

 

Now that most hunting seasons have come to close, many of us want to stay in the woods and keep our scouting, tracking, patterning, and stalking skills intact. One of the best ways to do this is to hunt with a camera.

These days, my work as an outdoor communicator finds me hunting with a camera more days than I hunt with a gun or a bow. Rarely a day goes by that I am not in the field, with a pack full of cameras and lenses, my shooting sticks strapped on to use as camera rests. Thanks to the high quality and durability of the Próis line one worry I don’t have is that of durable, well fitting, technical outdoor clothing. Whether I am lying in a snow covered field photographing incoming geese or sweltering in the swamps photographing snakes, salamanders, and wading birds; Próis has me covered.  Literally.

Many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts ask me how to improve their wildlife photos. The short simple answer is treat it like hunting. Just like hunting with a firearm or bow, hunting with a camera requires many of the same skills. Whether I am putting a trophy on the wall or an image of that big buck, the process is the same.

Good wildlife photos don’t just happen – it takes time and effort.  Here are a few tips to help you improve your wildlife photos.

Scout – Scout, scout and scout some more. You can’t photograph the creatures if you can’t find them. The added advantage to hunting with a camera is that one can access areas that are closed to hunting. Burn the boot leather, and figure out where that flock of turkeys is roosting, when they come down, where they are strutting.

Pattern – Pattern the creatures that you wish to photograph. Learn their habits, watch them long enough to know when and where they usually feed, drink, and bed down.  Soon you will know that every evening just before sunset the elk come down out of the trees to a meadow pool to drink and eat sweet fresh grass.

Stalking – Yes, wildlife photographers routinely use long focal length lenses, but often the cost and sheer need for a pack mule to haul around those giant heavy weight lenses makes the need to get close and fill the frame an often utilized skill. Just as a bow hunter needs to close the distance, so does a wildlife photographer. The same methods that you employ as a spot and stalk hunter are exactly what you will use when it is a camera in your hands versus a bow.

Concealment – we all know that concealment is key when hunting. This is no different when hunting with a camera. Thanks to the camouflage patterns offered by Próis I can stay well concealed in a variety of settings.  Conceal that camera too. My cameras and lenses have camo covers that keep the glaring white of Canon L series lenses from blinding everything in the neighborhood. My black camera bodies and lenses will stick out like a sore thumb in a snowy cornfield, so again, don’t just camouflage yourself, camo up that camera as well.

Use a blind – Like it or not, just hunkering down in brush pile, the tall grass, or a clump of cedars won’t always work.  I’ve spent just as many hours in a blind with a camera (I’m inclined to think more actually) as I have with a bow or gun. Just like a day in the blind hunting, some days I leave with cards full of images, the photographers version of tagging out; sometimes I come home with odd shots of the mouse in the corner, a mockingbird in a nearby tree and way too many of my boots.

Learn to call – Just like calling in the geese, the ducks, the turkeys to get them within in shooting range – I need them to be in camera range.  Being able to use a range of different calls effectively will work well to bring the creatures in close.  Using calls can also be an aid for enticing the creature to “look at the camera”.

By the time the cute babies from spring have grown into gangly teenagers, and the rest of the hunting community is ramping up for the next season, I have often become part of the landscape to the animals around me. They are accustomed to my scent, they are accustomed to my presence, and in many cases they have come to trust me. One would think I would use this to my advantage as a hunter.

Tempting as it might be, I try to not hunt the areas where the animals trust me the most. That just seems patently unfair. Instead, since I have been out there every day of the off season watching, patterning, and clicking away I still have a pretty good idea of where the best hunting will be.

Do my skills as a hunter make me a better wildlife photographer? Or perhaps my skills as a wildlife photographer make me a better hunter?  I say neither – the skill set is essentially the same.
 

Tracy Barnes Receives the U.N. International Fair Play Award

By Twin Biathletes and Prois Pro=Staffers

Tracy and Lanny Barnes

 

Today Tracy was awarded the United Nations UNESCO Fair Play Award. Since its foundation by UNESCO and a number of international sports governing bodies in Paris in 1963, the goal of the International Committee for Fair Play is the worldwide defense and promotion of fair play. In order to honor and directly recognize the acts of fair play performed either within or outside the sports world, the International Committee for Fair Play annually awards Fair Play Prizes to personalities who have proved to be excellent ambassadors of fair play. Tracy was given the Pierre de Coubertin World Trophy – for an athlete or team for an act of fair play. Pierre de Coubertin was the founder of International Olympic Committee and is consider the father of the modern Olympic Games. This award has been instrumental in promoting sportsmanship both on and off the field. It is a huge honor in sports to receive this award. Very few are given out annually. Here is what Tracy had to say in accepting this award-

 

“I think sportsmanship, which this award embraces, is a way for people to go beyond the playing field, or the ski course and recognize that there is more to sport than just a win. Sportsmanship is about creating champions, both on and off the field. And while I am not a champion in my sport, I do strive to be a good person and do the right thing. In sport there is winning and there is losing and sometimes in order to win you must lose or at least sacrifice the win. I didn’t go to the Olympics to compete, but I feel I have won. I had the most incredible experience of cheering my twin sister and best friend in the greatest sporting event in the world. And I couldn’t be more proud of her effort. In biathlon Lanny was not only my best friend, but my greatest competitor. And I’ve come to realize over the years that without your competition there is no sport. You have to show the same kind of respect to your competitors that you do to your teammates. That’s what makes you a good competitor both in life and in sport. I hope that my story will help to inspire people to do something good for the people they care about. Their friends, their family, their teammates, their competitors and their neighbors.

I for one have been surrounded by incredibly inspiring people my entire life and I have to say that their selflessness has rubbed off on me. Both my grandparents were in the army and air force and served their country. Our men and women in uniform are the ones who make the ultimate sacrifice, sometimes with their life so that we can enjoy our freedoms. Both my parents were school teachers and their selfless dedication to their students and that of all teachers continues to inspire me. And my older sister is a doctor and surgeon. Her dedication to helping others is a model I will continue to strive for in my life. So, if I may, I’d like to dedicate this to my family who have supported me and given me a purpose to live by and also to our men & women in uniform, our teachers, and our doctors who work to selflessly help others on a daily basis. May we all strive to dedicate ourselves to others so that we may enrich each others lives in sport and otherwise.

 

Thanks for seeing something in me that I may never have had the opportunity to see myself. Thanks to the International Fair Play Committee for this incredible honor and thank you to the US Olympic Committee for being such wonderful hosts.”

Barnes Twins Olympic Update

 

By Lanny Barnes
Tracy is up for an award for the most inspirational person that helped an Olympian with O.C. Tanner the company that makes the rings and medals for the Olympics. When you have a free moment, please visit this page and vote for Tracy- http://www.octanner.com/olympics/2014/lanny-barnes/. You can vote up to 5 times a day until March 16th. Thanks. I attended the opening ceremonies last night which kicked off the  Sochi 2014 Olympics. It was, and always will be one of the greatest experiences and honors to be able to walk in behind our countries flag. There was so much excitement and inspiration in that stadium. We unfortunately weren’t allowed to stay for the entire event as we had to take an early bus back to our village up in the mountains to get some sleep and prepare for our training the next day. My first race will most likely be the individual next friday the 14th so tune in for that. It starts at 7pm here in Sochi (9hrs ahead of EST and 11 ahead of MST). I will keep you posted if the schedule changes. Have a great weekend!!
-Lanny