Latest Blog Posts

Julie Golob is Back in the Saddle Again!

By Julie Golob

I am excited to share that I competed in my first event since having my daughter in April! Last weekend I shot the 2013 USPSA Northern Rockies Sectional in Hamilton, MT. I placed 4th Overall in the Production Division and finished second among the women behind a ladies national champion, Sara Dunivin.

As expected, my guns and gear ran flawlessly. Considering it has been over a year since I last competed in USPSA, I am beyond pleased my performance. Pictured at the top is my match report infographic from the competition with some interesting stats.

In addition to sharing photos and updates throughout the match on social media I also wrote an article for Women’s Outdoor News (http://www.womensoutdoornews.com/2013/08/action-shooting-coverage-2013-uspsa-northern-rockies-sectional/), shared a post on my blog (http://www.juliegolob.com/10-reasons-why-my-first-uspsa-competition-this-year-rocked) and created a video from the footage I was able to capture on You-Tube. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-V_VMByys&feature=share&list=PL1136DC7197D0B014)

2012 Prois Award Finalist Spotlight! Meet Candace Crick!

I’m Candace Crick, mom of 5 boys, married to my best friend, hunter, competitive archer, angler, and outdoors enthusiast along with a lengthy compilation of various other titles. 6 years ago, I met my husband, who changed me indefinitely. When I first met him, I thought he was crazy spending so much time in the woods, but eventually I was curious to see what all the hype was about. He was leery of me wondering, and I leery of the hype. After experiencing buck fever for myself, I am transformed for life.

Archery hunting became my biggest endeavor. For 2 years, I spent playing reindeer games with whitetails in the woods, often left frustrated and in tears. I have been busted flinging arrows from rooftops and ladders, practicing the real elevation scenario presented from the old might tree stand. Eventually, I discovered archery competitions, a perfect opportunity to help me flourish as an archer. Much to my surprise, I won gold in my first tournament leading to several other rankings from thereon out. In 2011, I won a 2 week elimination style shoot out. I aspire to become more involved in ASA on a national level, and have started my venture of a Grand Slam with my bow. Archery is my fire, I live it, love it, breath it!

In 2012, I became the first certified 4H archery coach for Lincoln County, since the 1980’s. It is not just about teaching my children, the art and skill of archery; it’s about the younger generations as a whole. I take pride in the journey I have gotten to experience with my children, not just being a mom but a coach and teammate as well. The mere fact, that I can inspire one to pass this on for generations to come is a reward in itself.

I was once told by a man, women belong in their women’s clubs back home not at deer camp. Who was he to deem what club I should join? I am not angry with this man, as he has become my motivation. I found out there all kinds of women’s hunting clubs, and even banquets. For the past 2 years, I have been on the banquet committee, for our local NWTF WITO, Camo & Pearls. I aspire to make this event grow in mass numbers. We are here to support each other; we are the vitality that will make this dream a reality. There are so many of us in today’s society affixed on winning gold for themselves, or bragging about the “booner” on their wall, confined with dark walls of self-greed. It is my goal to be devoted to sharing my love and passion of archery and hunting, even if I have to share all my secrets. I want to set an example in the industry. My motto is practice what you preach, and preach what you practice.

I, like others, have had my fair share of losses, as well as success stories. It’s called hunting for a reason, if we are all rewarded each time we went out then what would be our drive? In 2011, I harvested my first traditional archery harvest, a 250 lb. wild boar. I have camped in the mountains of Idaho, harvesting a cinnamon color phase black bear with my compound. I have camped in the bush of Alaska, being one with nature and the grizzlies, harvesting my first Yukon Moose. I learned the art of fly fishing, by catch and release only, and have had the opportunity to fish the sea for Halibut, the fish with 2 eyes on one side. I have eaten yellow fin tuna hearts for the simple tradition of fisherman’s luck. I have driven to the furthest tip of Northern Quebec, on a DIY Caribou hunt, blessed with opportunity to witness at hands length, the migration. Something I feel the Discovery Channel can’t do justice of its sheer beauty. I am currently active staff for several outdoor companies. I had my first magazine article published in 2012.

All things are possible in life no matter what we may deem unconquerable, whether it’s accomplishing shooting a bow, or the finesse of fly fishing. Sometimes we just need a helping hand and open heart. I hope to be that person to as many as I can possibly touch. By being nominated for the PROIS Award, I hope to be one step closer to my goal of illuminating my raw felt passion and love of the outdoors, one arrow at a time!

Falconry Files, Much Ado about Moulting

By Katherine Grand

Katherine Grand and Aurora during their first season hunting together

Many people ask me questions about what it is falconers and falconry birds do during the summer so I thought I write a little blog with answers to my most frequently asked questions. During the summer most hunting seasons are closed for both falconry and other hunting methods. Furthermore raptors are moulting during this time which means they are losing their feathers from the previous season and growing in new ones. During this time falconry birds need to be kept at a higher weight than their ideal hunting weight for the increase metabolic demand of feather production. Poor diet, disease, or starvation can result in feather deformities. In falconry a raptor’s weight is very important to its performance while hunting and responding to its falconer. Falconers weigh their birds daily while they are hunting them, often times multiple times a day. Also growing feathers are much more susceptible to being damaged, sometimes resulting in permanent damage to a feathers. For these reasons the majority of falconers do not hunt their birds during the moult.

A moulted juvenile tail feather from Aurora

All my previous red-tailed hawks I have trapped in the fall as juveniles, hunted during the winter, then released in the spring. I am keeping Aurora through the moult this summer which is called intermewing. The transition between juvenile feathers and adult feathers in red-tailed hawks is especially dramatic and exciting as typical juveniles have brown tail feathers (AKA train feathers in falconry speak) and most adults have brick red tail feathers which are the red-tails namesake.

This photo shows Aurora's adult brick red train feathers coming in. The brown feathers are her juvenile feathers which have since moulted.

Many people ask me if raptors are still able to fly while moulting. Healthy raptors do not lose all their feathers at once, in the wild they continue to hunt and fly year round. They lose their feathers gradually so they are always able to fly. There are of course exceptions to every rule. Raptors that are unable to fly would die of starvation or predation. To learn more about raptor feathers and moulting visit http://www.themodernapprentice.com/feathers.htm.
So what do falconers do with their birds during the moult? I like to continue to work with my birds handling, training, and flying them throughout the moult. Some falconers just leave their birds alone in their mews (raptor aviary http://www.themodernapprentice.com/mews.htm) while other handle them extensively. I enjoy feeding Aurora from the fist (on my falconry glove AKA gauntlet). As you have probably already guessed falconry has its own extensive vocabulary. I also enjoy flying her outside on a creance. A creance is essentially a leash that you tie your bird to so they can’t fly away.

Creance training flight with Aurora in the back yard mid-moult

It’s used during initial training before you trust the bird not to fly away and in situations like during the molt when the bird’s weight is high and they may not return to the falconer. (http://www.themodernapprentice.com/creance.htm) My favorite creance material is fly line. Furthermore I work with her do indoors doing flights in our garage and jump-ups where the bird flies from a low perch straight up to your fist while holding your hand as high as possible (http://www.themodernapprentice.com/games.htm). When doing multiple repetitions this is great exercise. To learn more about falconry you can visit http://www.themodernapprentice.com/ and http://www.n-a-f-a.com/.

A good view of Aurora's growing adult tail feathers during another creance flight.

Stay tuned for future fun filed Falconry Files from your favorite falconer, Katherine Grand!

From the Windows…to the Walls…Oh Wait… How Prois Becomes the Final Resting Place for Wayward Mounts

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

OK. We have too many windows in our house. Not enough walls.

Let’s face it. We have fabulous views. Amazing sunrises. Gorgeous sunsets. We can gaze out over the ranch and Blue Mesa Reservoir. Yes. We have windows.
Walls? Not so much.

Why is this a problem, you might ask?

We are quite simply out of room. No more room for goat mounts. No more room for Dall sheep mounts. Nope. Don’t even think about another moose…the current moose on the wall will never come down without a divorce decree. And even if it did- I can neither confirm nor deny that it most likely cannot fit out any doors. We still don’t know how we got it inside in the first place. So where would the extra mounts end up? Prois of course.

It dawned on me today that this was becoming problematic while I was cleaning the Prois warehouse (yes…I do this. I am the CEO and I do this. I also clean toilets but that is a story for another day) I was trying to sort through crates and boxes when I kept tripping over some elk mounts conveniently stored here. Yes. Plural. There are two. Sitting on the floor by the bay doors. And trust me, they do not conveniently tuck up close to the wall. Or anything else for that matter.

These suckers have been down here for months now. And let me tell you…they are gorgeous. However, one currently functions as a rack for the broom and shop vac. The other is simply a nuisance and occasionally gores unsuspecting shipping clerks who aren’t on the top of their game. Don’t believe me? Take a peek.

I don’t know how or why they are here, but I am willing to bet this is not how they envisioned their sweet eternity.

Don’t fret. They are not alone. The warehouse and office walls are cluttered with bucks, bulls, geese and mountain lions that found themselves homeless. I have to confess…we even have a bull on the wall that belonged to a friend who just couldn’t take it with him to his new forever home. So I am now in the adoption business. For a limited time, we even had a sheep down here that was perilously close to Bunbun’s cage and resulted in a head-butt each time we fed the rabbit. We had a name for said sheep, but believe it or not we just can’t share that.

I have been working tirelessly to decide what to do with all of these wayward mounts. My 17 year old currently uses the moose at our house for a clothes drying rack. Good idea. But we don’t do laundry down here. So that seems senseless. While functioning as racks for cleaning supplies currently works… it just doesn’t feel majestic. Put them on the wall? Oy…we are out of wall room here too. Toilet paper holders? Eh…this would make a trip to the bathroom a bit perilous and I’m not certain Work Comp covers this.

What’s a girl to do?

Goat Chronicles ~ Kirstie Pike, CEO of Prois Actually Draws a Goat Tag Before She Reaches Medicare Eligibility.

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

It’s no secret…I have had a hankering to hunt goats for years. Many years. When I started applying, I had toddlers. Now I have kids in college. You do the math. With anticipation that rivals that of the birth of the new Royal in Great Britain…I have been waiting to see if I drew my tag.

Not that my goat is more important than William and Kate’s baby. Maybe equal. Maybe.

The conversation went something like this…
(Steve) We should know today if we drew any goat tags. Gonna’ check.
(Me) Cool. However, by the chance I draw said tag I will be too old to go. I think the Division of Wildlife does that on purpose. If the NSA can monitor my every move, I am certain the DOW must be able to calculate my potential increasing age/declining health over time. Once I hit that “golden age”, BAM…I will draw a goat tag when I won’t be physically able to go.(ok…maybe they don’t… this could be a mild tantrum. Sorry, NSA if I have offended you…but you probably knew I was going to write this blog before I started it. I hope you like it!)
(Steve) silence…keyboard clicking… Dude. You drew your tag.
(Me) Wuh? I suppose this means the DOW thinks I’m old and fat.
(Steve) …silence…

Over the past month, Steve has made it quite clear he is tired of my own version of a knock-knock joke…
(Me) Speaking of goats…guess who drew a tag?
(Steve) Um. You?
(Me) Excellent guess! In fact, I DID!
(Steve) Who knew?

OK…so I drew! Finally. After more than a decade of trying, it seems it’s my turn! And so the adventure begins!

The weekend provided great opportunity for some high-peak scouting. Finding ourselves over 12,000 feet gave great opportunity to get a lay of the land…or actually..the precipices. While this is an area with which we are quite familiar, I have to admit…it is WAY more fun to scout for MY goat. After a great day spent scaling the ridges and glassing I am beyond excited to get this hunt underway. I look forward to the physical rigors of this hunt as well as the thrill of the isolation of the high peaks. Stay tuned as we pen the next Goat Chronicles and I will try to keep my exuberance under wraps.

Speaking of goats…guess who drew a tag?

Prois Pro-Staffers, Lanny & Tracy Barnes Take on Alaska! And a Moose. And a Flight Attendant.


In Alaska Moose have the right of way….
By:  Lanny Barnes

Tracy & I boarded our second flight in Denver, Colorado that would take us to Anchorage, Alaska and yet another adventure in the world of the Twin Biathletes. After our first flight and a flight attendant that threatened every passenger that stepped foot on the plane to be thrown out face first onto the tarmac if they didn’t follow her instructions, we were hoping the next 5 hour flight & flight attendants would be a little less hostile. The male flight attendant on our second flight who resembled John Travolta with a perfectly shaped and colored black & grey goatee that complemented his jet black on bottom, grey on top “not a single hair out of place” dew, was a breath of fresh air for the stale (5 hours worth of recycled air) cabin. He was one of those people whose big goofy grin immediately made you smile or laugh. As soon as we boarded that plane and for the next 5 hours we were presented with jokes, laughs, illegal gambling, and tough history questions. Don’t worry, the illegal gambling was nothing more than collecting a dollar from willing passengers who wrote their seat number a dollar bill and threw it into a pot to be drawn by the flight attendant who insisted he won before drawing another bill and announcing a winner who ended up being a very happy 14 year old who walked away from the flight with $65 extra dollars in vacation spending money. After what seemed like the quickest 5 hour flight we’ve ever taken, the flight attendant left us with a little song… “I love you, you love me…. If you marry one of us you’ll get to fly Alaska for free”….

 

After settling into our home for the next two weeks which happened to be a short 15 minute bike to the biathlon venue located in Kincade park, we hit the sack. We had 3 simple goals for Alaska- bring our fitness to a new level, help grow biathlon & shooting sports in Alaska, and not get trampled or eaten by a moose or bear. Not quite as simple as it sounds, but ultimately we had to prepare ourselves for two weeks of extreme mind and body bruising intensity training as well as shooting clinics for ages 10-60 & two weeks of alert senses that would hopefully keep us from getting chased or worse by the many moose and bear that roam Alaska’s wild frontier.

 

The next morning we were up bright and early because Alaska summer are definitely bright and early with only 2-3 hours of dusk per night and daylight for the other 21-22 hours a day. We hit the biathlon roller ski trails and completed our first hard intensity session with our bodies feeling great with the extra O2 present at low altitude. Every morning and afternoon we would be pushing and testing ourselves to get in top physical shape to try and become the best biathlete in the world. Every evening we would put on a clinic for biathletes age 10-60 and all different levels of shooting from having never touched a rifle to having competed in World Jrs. to having extensive military shooting experience. Then every night around 9:30-10:00pm we would hop on our bikes and run the “moose & bear gauntlet”, as the locals called it, back to where we were staying.  So far we are just under a week into our journey here in Alaska and have pushed ourselves physically & mentally to a new level, have worked with a bunch a great Alaskans on improving their shooting and physical shape, and we haven’t seen any bears, but are definitely letting the moose have the right of way on the trails…..

We have another week and a half of training with two biathlon races squeezed in with the highlight coming at the end… A Babes with Bullets Shooting Camp. We’ll update you again on our next weeks worth of adventures in a week… Have a great summer!!!!

The Things that Scare Horses Make No Sense

By Katherine Grand

The past two weekends my husband Eric and I have gone for long high country rides  in the unit we’ll be hunting in Colorado’s gorgeous Gunnison county.  We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area with so much public land and awesome hunting opportunities.  After years of being horseless last spring I was given a beautiful grey mare we named Fiona and we found Eric a great Missouri Fox Trotter gelding named Remington.  I taught Eric to ride and he has turned out to be a natural horseman.  I grew up riding and competing out east in English and jumping so we both have learned a lot hunting and backcountry riding with horses.  Back east where I rode horses were kept in stalls, they were let out individually in small pens so as not to hurt each other, ridden in indoor arenas and generally coddled and protected in every way possible.  Here in Gunnison horses roam large pastures in herds, they are loaded into stock trailers fully tacked without shipping boots, and cuts and scrapes are almost an everyday occurrence.  Rather than being fearful of the outdoors like our babied eastern horses, they are afraid of man-made objects and totally at home in the wild.

 

Remington checking out a highly suspicious ranch goat

This winter the awesome backcountry horses I had become accustomed to seemed to lose their minds.  Fiona injured her eye, cut a large gash in her chest and they  both became terrified of everything from birds, nesting waterfowl, blue tarps, and the ranch goats they had walked past a million times at the ranch.  One particular corridor of willows we aptly names the gauntlet which we had to ride through EVERYDAY was always greeted with terror alert RED.   Any sign of movement would send them leaping through the air and riding them felt like riding a stick of dynamite.  After Fiona healed we have ridden the heck out of our two crazies this spring and they have regained their composure.  Two weekend ago on out ride I was trotting around a corner on a high country trail when I heard a thrashing through the brush.  The large butt of a big cinnamon bear was bounding away from only 20 yards away.  I exclaimed “OH BEAR!!” and the horses didn’t even flinch.  Me and the bear were far more startled than the horses.  This is coming from horses that can find an electrical box, trash bag, or a fly mask that has been hung from a fence petrifying.  Stepping over a hose is akin to an anaconda, but a bear?  No problem.  Crazy horses.

No big deal, it's just a bear

NWTF Helps Clean up Tornado Devastated Moore OK

By Prois Staffer Kara Jo Lorenz

People often ask what the National Wild Turkey Federation is.  I usually have to clarify that it does not have anything to do with drinking whiskey but is a non-profit group that is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of our hunting heritage.  At least, that’s it’s mission statement.  But the NWTF is so much more than that.  It is an organization that has taught me many things about being a responsible hunter and outdoor enthusiast.  Three years ago when I was asked if I’d be interested in heading up a new chapter for the cities of Moore and Norman, I was excited, but unsure because I don’t really consider myself a leader and I had never done something like that before.  But I stepped out of my comfort zone and said yes.  Each year we host a fundraising banquet.  It’s all about good friends, good food, and of course, raising money for our cause.   I’ve also spent many hours helping other chapters to organize women events, volunteering at youth shooting events, etc.  I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. It’s given me a sense of pride knowing that I may have helped teach someone something new or helped someone discover an interest in the outdoors.  I felt very content with my community involvement and volunteering efforts.

Until May 20th 2013.  A devastating F5 tornado ripped through Moore Oklahoma.  As I watched the drama unfold on the television at work, my heart broke for all those affected. Businesses, homes, and even schools were destroyed. Men, women and children lost their lives and many more were injured.  The wing of the hospital where I delivered both my children was torn apart. Our pediatrician’s office had the same fate.  My physician’s office was completely leveled, only the foundation was left. You see we lived in Moore for the first 7 years I lived in Oklahoma. I’ve watched it grow and really become a wonderful place to live.  I’ve driven past one of the elementary schools that were destroyed multiple times on my way to visit friends.  In fact I’ve visited many of the places that are no longer there.  

There was an immediate outpour of support from all over the country.  Music stars put on a tribute concert, NBA stars made donations in the amount most of us will never see.  People from neighboring towns and other states made their way here to lend a hand.  It was so natural, so pure. I think across the country, people were touched by this tragedy. But as the weeks passed, the national media moved on to other stories, and the Moore Tornado faded into the background.


I guess as fate would have it, my schedule had kept me busy for the first few weekends following the tornado but I felt compelled to help.  I reached out to our NWTF chapter early on to see if anyone would be interested in putting together a work group to help out. This caught our regional director’s attention, who reached out to national. We set the date for June 22nd and rallied the troops.  We had NWTF committee members from other chapters including ours come out to help.  One of our state board members works with a lady who’s house received substantial damage and was uninhabitable.  I was hoping we could be of some help but since it had been a month since the tornado hit, I wasn’t sure how much work needed to be done.  I was about to find out.

On this typical hot and humid summer day in Oklahoma, we turned into the neighborhood where her house is and goose bumps covered my arms.  A lump in my throat grew. To our left was what remained of an elementary School, and to our right were the remains of homes. Over a dozen vehicles were still sitting where they landed, windows blown, paint stripped off, just beaten and obviously totaled.  We passed by construction crews who were about to bulldoze someone’s home.  I had heard people describe the destruction as if a bomb went off.  They were right.  It was awful and gut wrenching.

Kara Jo lends a hand

But we were there to help, not sightsee. We arrived at the home of the woman we were there to help and started to work right away.  It had been a month but she still did not have power. Of course she didn’t need it because she also didn’t have windows, a garage door, or much left of a roof. Her fence had been torn up- the metal posts were literally bent over.  Trees were snapped, roof shingles were everywhere, along with random debris from her yard, or someone else’s yard from down the street, who knows. We were to move all trash and debris to the sidewalk to be picked up by the city. The grass had grown up so it was difficult to see all the stuff in the yard. I even found about 30 old baseball cards from the 80’s scattered around.  We had to drag our boots through the grass to find things that needed to be picked up. Another volunteer group was driving by and asked us if we wanted help. They jumped on board and with everyone working together, we were able to clear her yard, cut down trees, and remove the rest of her fence.  By the time we were done, there was about a 65 foot stretch of trash ready to be picked up.

We were exhausted, but as we packed up and were saying our goodbyes, I think we all had tears in our eyes. The homeowner tried to tell us thank you and I watched her chin tremble a bit.  At that point I couldn’t think of her thanking us. I wanted to thank her for giving us the opportunity to help.  Knowing that we helped her was one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced.

That was when I really realized that the NWTF is NOT just a conservation group. It is a group dedicated to helping communities and friends too.  I am so grateful for being a part of something that not only gives back to wildlife, but to people as well. I have learned that we are capable of many things when we work together.

Whether you are with a group, or by yourself, take some time to go down and help. It’s been over a month but there is still so much to do. Even walking up to this home, it seemed so overwhelming, but we just got after it. Each person that lends a hand brings a neighbor one step closer to a sense of normalcy. We worked all day. It was hot, it was dirty and I think we are all a little sore. But it was an honor.

The Thrill of the Hunt- Shannon Rasmussen’s First Elk Hunt!

Story by: Shannon Rasmussen

Let me start by saying I didn’t grow up being a hunter. When I met my husband Shane 17 years ago, he introduced me to the world of hunting. It took me a few years to understand why he was so passionate about the sport, until I became a hunter myself.

I started out hunting deer for several years, and I absolutely loved it, but I had always dreamed of being able to harvest an elk. There is no animal in my opinion more majestic than a bull elk. I had become very intrigued with this incredible animal when I started tagging along on  Shane’s archery hunting adventures. He had always tried to describe to me what the sound of an elk bugle echoing in the woods was like, but until the first time I heard it myself, I had no idea how that sound would affect me. Whenever he would call in a bull using his bugle or cow calls it was always the most spine tingling, heart pounding event. When you hear an animal of that magnitude crashing through the trees and bugling as it’s coming towards you, and you find yourself with just enough time to duck behind a tree before it’s standing in front of you at 30 yards, panting and looking for the “cow” it heard, quite honestly there is no place I would rather be than in that moment. There have also been occasions as well where we would find ourselves amongst very chatty groups of cow elk. That is also something that I wish every person could get the experience of hearing at least once in their lifetime.

One of my first memorable elk hunting experiences was a few years back. Shane and I decided that we would load up all of our gear and hike several miles up an old logging road that led to the top of the mountain, pushing our mountain bikes the entire way. This proved to be a very exhausting idea, but we persevered and after a few hours of sweating and aching muscles we made it. As we topped out, the view was stunning. We left the mountain bikes and continued around the side of the ridge on a  game trail. As we came to a wooded area the first thing we noticed was the smell in the air. Elk have a very distinct odor and we knew right away that we were in the right place. As we continued into the trees there were fresh elk beds everywhere in the tall grass. I swear if you looked closely enough, you could see the outline of where their bodies had been, as if they had just been laying there  moments before. Excited over this great elk hunting spot that we had worked so hard to reach, we decided that we would find a good vantage point to sit, wait, and watch for the inevitable return of this herd. It was still very early afternoon, and after hours of hiking, we decided that a quick cat nap was in order. So, we covered up with as much of our warm gear as possible and nodded off. After what seemed like only a few minutes Shane woke me up. My eyes popped open, just sure that the elk had returned and this was going to be my big moment, I was going to finally have the opportunity to harvest one of these majestic animals! Unfortunately, that was not the case. As it turned out the sky had darkened and rain clouds were rolling in. Not wanting to get stuck on the mountain in a very cold rain storm we made the heartbreaking decision to head back down off the mountain. By the time we made it back to where we had parked our bikes it had already started to sprinkle, and by the time we made it half way down the mountain it was a full on down pour. It rained so hard at points that we had to stop several times to take shelter under trees and thick bushes. Eventually we made it back to our truck,  disappointed over  how the day had played out, headed back to camp. Although this hunt did not end with an elk being taken, it is still one of my favorite elk hunting memories.

The following year we packed up our camp trailer and headed north to one of my absolute favorite hunting spots in Idaho. I was filled with nervous excitement as we made a plan for our opening morning hunt. We decided we would hunt a ridge that we knew of that had great views of the opposite ridges and clear cuts. Opening morning we woke before dawn, grabbed our gear, and jumped on our atv. After a 20 minute drive we parked and  hiked the rest of the way to the ridge. We found a spot to sit and watch. As the sun started to come up we noticed movement on a ridge straight across from us. We threw up our binoculars and saw a herd of elk feeding across the hillside. There were two bulls that were fighting. One of the bulls knocked the other bull over and he rolled down the hill several yards. It was very impressive to witness such a thing. We were a bit disappointed because we had considered hunting that spot as well that morning, but had chosen where we were instead. There were so many elk in that herd that they were even crossing the road on the other hillside right in front of pick-ups that were coming up the mountain for opening day of the season. Not giving up, Shane decided to try blowing some cow calls. As soon as he did a second herd of elk appeared, trotting down the hill directly in front and across from us, heading our direction. I pulled out my bi-pods and got set up for a shot. Watching the cows filing towards us I still didn’t see a bull. Suddenly Shane whispered “Right there, there’s a bull”. Still not seeing it I said “Where?”. It turned out that I was looking at cows that were on the hillside across from us, he was looking at cows and a bull that had filed out right below us on our side of the hill. Once I realized where he meant, I found the bull in my scope, steadied the cross-hairs, and squeezed the trigger. The bull dropped and rolled down the hill! I immediately started crying tears of joy! I had finally done it, I had killed a bull elk! I was ecstatic! I felt like somebody needed to pinch me and wake me from a dream, after all of the action we had seen that morning, between the two herds of elk running everywhere, to having actually harvested a bull.

After waiting for a bit we hiked down the hill and found my bull laying against a log. I never get used to the size of an elk when you walk up on one. They are such big animals! Although he wasn’t a wall-hanger bull, I couldn’t have been more excited and proud that morning.

I am so grateful that I have a husband who not only shared his passion for this sport with me, but has been a patient teacher allowing me the time to become a knowledgeable huntress!!! I wish that other women who don’t hunt would take a chance, even if it’s just once, and tag along with their husbands on a hunt. They might just find the adventure of a lifetime!!!