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Christy’s First Turkey

For the past five years I have been trying to bag a gobbler. Some people make it look so simple going out on opening morning and fifteen minutes later coming back to camp with a big ole Tom. Sometimes I do feel a little discouraged as I scroll through my facebook and see all my friends posing with their awesome trophy’s . Well, these birds are smart, and it hasn’t been easy for me at all. Not saying I haven’t had a blast these last five years and all of my very close encounters, just not the right opportunity with the perfect shot available.  

My husband and friends have made it a mission to help me achieve my goal of shooting my very first gobbler. For Mother’s Day weekend our good friends Brian and Whitney Black with B&B Outdoors in Farlington Kansas invited us up for a Turkey hunting adventure. That first evening hunt I saw something big and black out in a soy bean pasture and asked my husband is that a Cow or a Turkey?! I got my binoculars out and saw that it was a huge Turkey as he gobbled at my husband calling for me. Wow, did my heart start pumping! I even had a Jake fly over my head going to roost. I almost passed out from my excitement. That next morning we set up where we knew they were roosting and even in the silence in the pitch dark at five am they were gobbling. My adrenaline was at full swing and I was even shaking before sunrise. I watched them all fly down and there were several Jakes. The one I shot I watched for a few minutes as he was in full strut and twirling around the hens. It was just amazing. A memory I will have for the rest of my life. Everything I imagined it would be like. I can’t thank my husband and friends enough for helping me achieve a goal I have been chasing after for some time.  

 

It’s now Monday morning and I am sitting in the office with my dress and heels, but my mind is sitting on the edge of that soy bean pasture watching these turkeys with amazement. Brian and Whitney have an amazing place; I was so impressed with their set up and hospitality. My husband deer hunts up there every fall. I now see why he loves it up there so much. Check out their website at www.kansasgiants.com I’m ready to have more adventures of a life time up at their Kansas ranch!

 

ONLY AT PROIS… WHO Will Be the Bedazzle-Off Champions of the WORLD?!?

Never ones to shy away from a challenge…Prois has officially accepted the Bedazzle Challenge of the century from Jen Cordaro and Angie Wilson. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

What is at stake? Well, just the esteemed title of Bedazzle Off Champion of the World. Not a big deal you say? Gasp… It is only akin to the Heavy Weight title in boxing. Stanley cup in hockey. Triple Crown in horse racing. Yeah. It’s ALL that and more.

It is THAT important.

So…stay tuned. May 31st is the day to mark on your calendars. We will have the Prois Posse weigh in to determine the Bedazzle Off Champion of the WORLD!

While Angie and Jen may have an inside edge in the Bedazzling world given Jen’s Bedazzling photo shoots and Angie’s desire to have a bedazzled car, Kirstie Pike and Katherine Grand are not ones to be outdone. Their creativity (typically enhanced with coffee and/or wine) is unsurpassed. It’s true…Angie and Jen don’t really even stand a chance but we will humor them anyway.

Who will be the Bedazzle Off Champions of the WORLD???
Stay Tuned #ProisBedazzleOff

Prois Field Staffer Mia Anstine Shares 6 Ways to Ensure Kids Have Fun Turkey Hunting on the Womens Outdoor News

Mia Anstine shares 6 ways to make sure your little guy or gal has fun turkey hunting at her blog via Beretta USA.

Turkey hunting is a perfect opportunity to get a novice involved in hunting. There is so much they can learn. Plus, hunting is a form of wildlife research and ultimately wildlife management. As a hunter, a child will learn about wildlife identification, animal habitats, animal migrations and so much more. It creates a connection and responsibility between them and their surroundings. Many hunters become stewards to the earth.

 

Mia Anstine turkey hunting

Photo courtesy of Mia Anstine

 

Educated hunters ensure the future of the sport. This is why I write a lot about getting the next generation of hunters ready to take over this incredible sport. We introduce our children to shooting and hunting to preserve traditions from long ago. Years ago people hunted out of sheer necessity. It was a matter of survival, and an avenue for putting a meal on the table. In this day and age hunting has evolved into so much more.

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From the Prois Ladies Room- Keeping College Age Kids in the Field

By:  Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women

As all of us who have hunting families know, getting your kids hooked on hunting early is the key to a life- long passion.  How many hunting seasons have we all encountered where the kids are the first ones popping out of bed, chattering in the truck and getting amped up on typically ‘outlawed’ snacks?

As our kids grow older, life starts to get in the way of the previously sacred hunting seasons.  High school sports no longer recognize that missing school to go hunting is not really considered a family emergency.  And why is it that Homecoming is ALWAYS during hunting season.  Scholastics?  Sheesh, apparently the National Honor Society does not view “a brief illness resulting it missing a few days of school” during hunting season as reasonable.  What’s a kid to do?  At the end of the day, as kids get older, the hunting seasons get shorter to accommodate the demands of high school life.

Then comes college.  Now the debate starts.  Do we put the girls in for tags or points?  Can they get time off to come hunting?  Do we burn points in hopes that they can make it home for a couple of days?  Will they be able to continue hunting as their lives pick up steam and propel them in different  directions?

This year, we debated heavily over what to do with both of our daughters with regards to putting in for licenses.  Both were attending college in state, but not close enough to make a trip home easy.  Our oldest daughter was tied down with school and two jobs and we knew it would be unlikely that she could get enough time off to hunt.  We gambled on our youngest and put in for her buck tag.

As the season drew closer, she was able to make a brief trip home to help scout for muleys.  Keeping in mind that school is located four hours away.  The distance of the trip, coupled with the scholastic demands of her engineering program made it clear to all of us that it was going to be difficult to do much scouting.

The week before the season opened, it became clear that not only was she not going to be able to make it home on opening weekend due to a heavy school load. She wasn’t going to be able to come home until late on Thursday night on the closing weekend.  This quite literally left about two days of hunting.  We were all feeling a bit disheartened at this but decided to make it happen.  Did we make a mistake by trying to push the season?  Should we have elected not to burn her points?  The real issue brewing in our minds was centered around the fact that we knew our  family hunting adventures were most likely changed forever.

We hit it early on Friday morning on closing weekend.  We spotted a number of bucks but none of which were what she was after.  At the close of the day, she passed on three decent bucks.  She was happy with her choices and really wanted to hold out for a larger buck.  We headed home and knew that she only had one day left to hunt as she had to head back to school on Sunday.

We hit it early again on Saturday.  The bucks were definitely moving, and again, we encountered a number of nice bucks.  However, none of them were what Haydyn had in mind.  Unspoken to her, her father and I were worried she would come up short for the season and we were hoping beyond hope that we could encounter the buck she wanted.  We knew this would be extremely unlikely, and Haydyn was fine with that.  It just takes time, and time was the one thing we did not have this year.

As the morning drew on, she passed on two bucks that would have made most hunters quite happy.  Then it happened.  A nice 170+ inch buck worked his way into a clearing about 350 yards away.  This was the one!  Well, we thought.  She sat back and considered this buck for a while trying to decide if he was the one for her.  This really did feel like dog years between the time she saw this buck to the time she decided to pursue him.  She made the move and he drew a bit closer.  She leveled off her shot at 285 yards and dropped him immediately.  We were thrilled!

She got her buck.  To her credit, she never settled on anything less than what she wanted, even though she knew her time was limited and the potential for success was unlikely.  She was thrilled.  And we were proud.  Not because she was able to get her buck, but because she had grown into a mature hunter who realized she didn’t want to feel pressured to take an animal she didn’t want because she felt pressed for time.

By the way…that buck turned out to be a 178” buck.

We got home that night and took care of her buck.  She packed up and left early in the morning.  We have no idea what the next few hunting seasons will bring with our kids.  What we do know is this, these kids will be hunters for life.

 

Haydyn and Steve Pike. Photo Courtesy of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

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Giving Back

The crazy wrangling team

By Nancy Rodriguez

Opening day of the spring turkey season was very different than my usual turkey hunt.  Instead of sitting patiently waiting for a turkey to strut by, I was in the middle of an amazing elk capture/relocation. My husband, Joe and I were honored to be invited to participate at a Tule Elk capture in central California, by our friend Joe Hobbs.   Joe Hobbs is a senior environmental scientist that works for California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He also happens to be the California elk coordinator.

 

California is home to three subspecies of elk: Roosevelt elk, Rocky Mountain Elk, and the very special Tule Elk. Tule Elk are only found in my home state of California.  The Tule Elk in California were once close to extinction. In the mid 1870’s there were reports that fewer than 30 elk remained in a single herd near Bakersfield, Ca. A cattle rancher named Henry Miller preserved this last group of elk that he discovered on his ranch in 1874. Experts believe the elk were pushed to the brink of extinction from loss of habitat, market hunting, and displacement from cattle. Thanks to Henry Miller and others that followed suit by 1970’s the Tule Elk population had grown to around 500 animals. Over the years with improved management, the help of wildlife organizations and conservation agencies like RMEF, Tule Elk numbers have steadily increased.   Today California has over 4000 Tule Elk in 22 distinct herds!

Sunrise in Tule Elk Country

 

Joe and I arrived on Friday afternoon at the San Luis Wildlife Refuge for our mandatory safety meeting. We met with approximately 70 employees from California Department of Fish and Wildlife and US Fish & Wildlife services, along with veterinarians, andnthe helicopter capture crew. Joe Hobbs conducted the orientation meeting, assigning everyone a specific job. We all broke into groups to become familiar with our upcoming rolls. Joe and I were assigned to the trailer chutes. We rotated with another team manning the chute gates as the elk were herded into the trailers for transport.  6:30 am Saturday morning couldn’t come soon enough. We arrived at base camp full of adrenaline and excitement. The teams quickly dispersed into their designated areas. The teams consisted of: The helicopter crew, the ground transportation teams, the processing teams, the wranglers, and the relocation team. Each group showed amazing team work.

Leading Edge Aviation Team

The first team up was the helicopter crew, Leading Edge Aviation. They are a team of four dedicated wildlife capturers. The pilot’s job is to bring the chopper down over an elk to net gun level. Then one of the gunners hangs out of the chopper, aims the net gun over an elk and fires the net for capture.

Helicopter net gunning an elk

Once the elk is in the net, the chopper drops to a low hover, a team member jumps out and immediately blindfolds and hobbles the elk for transport. The pilot radios the closest ground team for pick up. These guys are fast!  On arrival the ground teams quickly lift the netted elk onto litters. They safely transport the elk on the back of Gators or trailers to the processing station.

Joe doing his job of blindfolding and Nancy posing

The elk are strapped to the litters for safe travel.  The next team is the processing team. There were 5 tents set up to process the elk as quickly as possible. They consisted of Ca. Fish & Wildlife employees, US Fish & Wildlife, and veterinarians to collect samples and data on the elk. First the elk are weighed and then carried to a tent station.

Checking weight

There the team would draw blood, check general health, place ear tags, and radio collars for future research.

Processing team taking blood samples

The entire time the elk’s temperature was monitored closely and cool water and ice packs were applied to maintain the animals temperature if necessary.

Processing team cooling the elk with cold water

Once the research teams finished their jobs, the elk were carried to the corral to be persuaded into the trailers.  The corral is what I called the “elk wrangling station”.   This station consisted of a metal pipe corral about the size of a small garage with two chutes that led into the trailers. The pipe fencing was covered in black burlap, so the elk would stay calm.

The wranglers stand ready in the corral

The ground crew would carry the elk on the litter into the corral. They would safely tip the litter to lay the elk on the ground. The elk wranglers would then remove the hobbles and blindfolds as quickly as possible. Next they would use bucking boards to persuade the elk up the trailer chutes. Joe and I would nudge the elk up the chutes and close the gates behind them as fast as we could, as they entered the trailers.

Nancy ready with a bucking board

On the second day, Joe and I we’re invited into the corral to help with “wrangling”. Joe removed the blindfolds and I helped out with the bucking boards.  The final stage and the most amazing part of the capture was yet to come. Joe and I were able to go to the grand finale… the release! We had two trucks and blacked out trailers full of elk, followed by a safety vehicle.

Ready for the ride to a new home!

After a 2 ½ hours drive, we arrived at the elk’s new home. We pulled into the wildlife area full of hope. As we opened the trailer doors and stepped back, each elk curiously stepped out of the trailer and safely trotted off  into their new home. Watching them run off, I was completely speechless!  We had just been a part of one amazing adventure.

Freedom!

We had helped with the California Tule Elk re-population, conservation, and management process.  All in all, the teams safely captured and relocated 36 Tule Elk to three different locations in California. California is lucky to have Joe Hobbs as the elk coordinator. He ran a safe, seamless, and upbeat elk capture. With people like him, Fish and Wildlife agencies, and conservation groups like RMEF, we can keep supporting our once nearly extinct Tule Elk.

This experience was one we will never forget. Not only did we have a great time comingface to face with Tule Elk, but we met some amazing people!

To Pink or Not to Pink…Ask the Writing Huntress on the Womens Outdoor News!

Dear Writing Huntress,

I am going to start hunting this year. I’m excited about hunting, but I am a little nervous because I’ve already had some issues with the color pink on my gear. I went to a small, local store to buy my camo and the only women’s clothing I could find had pink tags and zippers, and some items were totally covered in pink. I already own a pink camo hat that the guys make fun of me for having, so I don’t know what to do about getting gear for season. What’s the deal with pink? Is it OK to wear while hunting? What animals can see it? Do you wear it?

 

Sincerely,
Pretty in Pink in Portland

Read the Writing Huntress’ Response! http://www.womensoutdoornews.com/2014/04/ask-writing-huntress-wearing-pink-camo/

 

Ain’t too Proud to Beg

By Nancy Rodriguez

 

The first day of spring turkey season is always magical. As I climb under the low tree branches in the dark, I know today will be a great day in the field. I am hunting after all! My decoys are set 20 yards out, ready for some action. I take my stand in the twilight. I quietly adjust myself in the tall, damp grass and slowly place twigs and branches around me for extra concealment. I lean against a mighty oak tree with my backpack next to me and shotgun across my lap. I have my arsenal of turkey calls ready to start their love songs.

 

As the curtain of darkness starts to rise, I am greeted with the beauty of spring. The new leaves on the trees are fluorescent green and dew sparkles across the blades of grass all around. Birds are singing back and forth, as a butterfly feeds on a lupine flower at my feet. Suspended from “my” oak tree hangs a shiny thread with an oak worm attached to it. It is gently swinging in the morning breeze. Is there anything better than this?

 

I start with the first song on my playlist…”Love Me Tender.” My slate call sounds great. I hope a gobbler recognizes this song and gobbles. Hmmm…Nothin! Again…Nothin!!! OK, I change the song. Mouth call in for the next song…”I’m Too Sexy”… Nothin!!!

I switch between these two songs for a couple of hours and no action. Damn Birds!!!

 

As I quiet back down, my right bum cheek starts to go numb. My nose is running to who knows where, and I have a flock of not turkeys around me, but mosquitoes! Only my eyes are showing a small amount of flesh and of course a mosquito finds it. As I realize I’m getting nailed right on my eyebrow, my left bum cheek goes numb. I have an oak worm inching across my knee, and a spider crawling across the rim of my hat. I slowly flick off my buddies just as a gnat flies right into my eyeball. Direct hit! I rub most of him out except for what feels like his left wing. Serves him right! Where’s my turkey? Damn birds!!

 

Okay, time to bust out my go to song. I use this only when all else fails.  As I break out my box call, I am really ready for some action! I shift on my now completely numb bum and try not to think about my itchy eyebrow. I sniff my runaway bogey nose, blink my eye with a floating gnat appendage in it, and notice there are oak worms dropping down on me like paratroopers! Time to get this show on the road!

 

Next song up…”Ain’t too Proud to Beg.” As I hit the chorus-GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE! Yeah baby!! I turn up the sound and hit it again…“I AIN”T TOO PROUD TO BEG”. GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE!   This time he’s closer. I aim my barrel in the direction of the gobble and with my adrenaline pumping, I wait. I watch the tall grass for any sign of movement, and pray I will see a glowing red head appear. He moves closer and closer, gobbling as he tries to find the hen singing a song no mother would approve of. I line up my fluorescent orange bead on the beautiful red head that magically appears and pull the trigger. Poor thing, he didn’t stand a chance.

A Prois chick playing “Ain’t too Proud to Beg” gets them every time!!!

Prois Field Staffer, Gretchen Steele Teaches Us to Search for Strutters!

By:  Gretchen Steele-  Prois Field Staff
For all the Prois gals out searching for strutters Gotta love the Eliminator jacket and it’s duck tail for sitting in the wet spring turkey woods. No more soggy fannies!

The southern Illinois boys are lighting up the woods this week…let’s hope they stay this cooperative when season opens!

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Photo Courtesy of Gretchen Steele

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…
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Photo Courtesy of the Womens Outdoor News