Latest Blog Posts

Grabbing Life by the Horns- Karma, Sweet Karma…

By: Gina McLeod

After my bad luck doe hunting this year, I was a little weary to think about buck hunting during the Colorado fourth season. My husband and I went to Evergreen, Colorado in efforts to fill my tag. It was on the second day we were there that my husband spotted a very nice muley not far off the side of the road. This shot, of course was about 20 yards off the fence line in the area where we were hunting. Did I mention it was on the WRONG side of the fence line?

We were hunting with a friend of ours and he knew the property owners in the area. He decided to contact the owner of the property where the buck was located and ask if I could gain permission to hunt the buck on his property. Despite the fact that our friend had allowed this particular property owner to hunt his property in the past, the property owner refused to allow me to hunt the buck. I did become upset- being confined to a wheelchair makes hunting a bit more challenging and seeing a gorgeous muley standing broadside and not being able to take a shot was so frustrating.

We decided to drive down the road a bit in the hopes that the buck would eventually jump the fence if we left him alone. On our way back up we heard a gunshot! The property owner that refused to give us permission to hunt the buck decided to race home to shoot the buck for himself! As Karma would have it, he missed his shot. The buck jumped the fence and I was able to take my own shot. I shot him at about 60 yards and he went down!

Talk about some good luck! He is a beautiful non-typical and scored 193. I was very happy! Interestingly, the property owner was only 200 yards from me as I shot the buck!

I just wonder though, how mad that guy must have been that his buck was taken not only by a girl…but a girl in a wheelchair! I guess what goes around comes around.

Gina McLeod and her 2011 Buck!

A First Time Huntress

As a first time huntress, I was not sure of what to expect. I always tend to be cold, so I was a little concerned about spending a long weekend in the Mountains of Montana hunting Elk. My Prois gear kept me very comfortable and I love how it fit!

Before I purchased my Prois gear, I looked at several outfitter stores. It was frustrating to see all the great gear for men, but when it came to women, the selection was almost non-existent. I had a terrible time finding anything in my size and even when it was my size it didn’t fit well. I work in construction and I have the same problem when I’m looking for work gear, so I decided to do some research online. I discovered Prois through Bass Pro Shops website. I went to the Prois website and was amazed at the options I had! After reading several testimonials I decided to call my good friend Kim McCormick and ask if she had heard of the brand and if she had any opinions about it. Kim told me that Prois gear is what she wears and that she loves it. Knowing the experiences she’s had, I decided to give it a try.

When my order came in I was so excited to try it on. It was really easy to move in and the fabrics were amazing. They were tough, but soft and quiet. My husband even said that he was impressed with my gear and he wished they made some of the same things for men! I’m so pleased with my Prois gear and I will definitely be keeping my eye on the catalog to see the new products that come out. Thanks to Prois, I can’t wait until my next hunt!

Michele Dorsch
Pickett, WI

Three Weeks in Europe with the Lanny Barnes

By Tracy Barnes

Week 3: Conclusion… Ridnaun, Italy/ Hochfilzen Austria

After a week off from racing and some good training under my belt I was ready to race again. The weekend would host two races; an individual and a sprint race. The individual is our longest race and is 15 kilometers. This race is known as a shooters race because 1 minute is added for each miss as opposed to the normal 150 meter penalty loop we ski in all of the other races. It has been years since I’ve raced in Ridnaun, Italy and I have made a promise to myself that I’ll improve on my results from the last time I was here. That being said, I had quite a lot of work to achieve that. 10 years ago my sister and I competed here and became the first women to medal at a World Junior championship. We received a silver medal in the relay and in the individual race all those years ago, Lanny placed 3rd with one penalty and I placed 8th with 2 penalties. I vowed this time around I’d hit more targets and place higher up. The stakes were higher and the field was tougher, but I’d give it my best shot.

The individual race would consist of five- 3 kilometer loops with 4 shooting stages. Twice we would shoot laying down and twice we would shoot standing. The race course was tough and wound up and down the fields that made up this beautiful valley. The climbs were long, but more gradual. The most interesting part of this course was the fact that you could see everything that was going on. You could see the competitors in front of you and you could see the ones behind you. It really gave you a good idea of how you were doing during the race.

I started the race in bib number 29 out of 96 competitors. Each racer started 30 seconds apart. I started the race and I was relaxed, a huge change from the frantic race I had in Sweden a few weeks ago. I easily found a rhythm skiing on the long 3 kilometer loop. Today, I knew I was going to clean the race. At least I had that feeling. I don’t know how to describe it, but you just know. So, when I came into the range for the first time, I laid down and settled into a shooting point. The five shots went off smoothly, but when I looked back at the target, one of the five was left standing. I’d missed one! Damn. I thought. Well, cleaning the race was out of the question at this point, but the good thing about biathlon is, if you are patient and you don’t get all worked up, you can come back from a bad stage. So, that’s what I did, I hunkered down, focused on skiing my loops well and every time I came in to shoot I was patient and just let the targets fall. After I left the shooting range for the fourth and final time I was in a good spot. I pushed hard on the last loop and finished in fourth. But there were still over 60 women still to finish the race, so I waited and waited and waited.

When all was said and done I was bumped to 8th place. 1 target, that fateful target I missed, out of 2nd place. I had tied my finish from 10 years ago, but with one target better. I was happy. A top ten on the European Cup was hard to achieve.

An hour after my race I found out that I would be starting the World Cup relay the next day in Hochfilzen, Austria. So, I packed up my bags and hitched a ride with the Canadian team over to Austria. It was a busy day and even busier the next day. In the morning I got randomly drawn for the doping control, my second day in a row, having been chosen in Italy as well. So I made my way early to the venue, gave my blood and was off to the races. Lanny, who was sick, accompanied me on my warm up. It was nice to have someone to ski with. The race came and went in a flash and we ended up in a disappointing 14th place. It wasn’t my best performance either and I left with quite a disappointed feeling. The relay is my favorite race and no one takes it harder than I do when I feel I’ve let my teammates down. But there will be plenty of more relays this year and we’ll have our revenge!

Week 4: Obertilliach, Austria

This week we’d be back in Obertilliach, Austria. The place I spent a week training at just two weeks ago and the place I’d be spending Christmas. We would have two races this weekend; a sprint and a pursuit race. The sprint is three loops of 2.5 kilometers with 2 shooting stages. The results from the sprint determine your start in the pursuit. So, the person who wins the sprint, starts the pursuit. The person who is in 2nd place starts 2nd and starts in the time that they finished behind the person if first. Only 60 people qualify for the pursuit. After the sprint was done, I finished in 59th place. You don’t cut it any closer than that. Lanny, had a pretty good race after being sick and placed 33rd. The next day in the pursuit, Lanny would start 33rd and start at about 2 minutes behind the winner. I would start in 59th over 3 minutes back. Basically in the pursuit, everyone is trying to catch the person, or people in front of them. The first person across the line wins, so clearly the people who’ve had a better sprint, have more of an advantage in the pursuit. But that’s the crazy thing about biathlon. With so much pressure in the shooting, the person in first can drop 10 places with a missed shot in the first stage, the same goes for someone in the back, with good shooting you can really move up in the placings. That was my goal today, move up as far as I can.

The race started and I was feeling good. I skied behind a pack and came in to the shooting range and cleaned my first stage. My next three stages I missed one shot in each and still moved up. Until the last loop I skied pretty conservatively, too conservatively and so during the last loop I turned up the juice and started to pass people. It felt good to finally ski like I knew how. I was flying and had the 9th fastest last loop time of the day. I was psyched. I ended up moving up 22 paces to 37th place from 59th.

Week 5: Munich, Germany/ Obertilliach, Austria

The races last weekend were the end of the December World Cups and European Cups. Now all the athletes have a two week break before the racing picks up again after the new year. Two weeks seems like a lot of time, but if you add on travel to and from the U.S. and all the jet lag, there isn’t much time for training. Which is why Lanny and I choose to stay in Europe. It’s one of the hardest sacrifices we have to make. It’s not easy and not always enjoyable being so far away from your family on Christmas. And even though we’ve done this for many years now, it doesn’t get any easier, in fact, I think it only gets harder. But that’s the sacrifice you make to reach your goals.

So, after the races we traveled to Munich, Germany to watch some of our teammates travel home to the states. After they were on their way we turned the van south once again to head back to Obertilliach, Austria where we’ll spend Christmas. On our drive down, in honor of tradition, Lanny and I stopped in the town of Sterzing, Italy. A beautiful mountain town with picturesque buildings and quint shops. They always have a spectacular Christmas market, where you can buy hand made ornaments and knick-knacks as well as gluwine. Gluwine, is a favorite of Europeans this time of year, it’s a spiced wine that is served warm. It is good! So, the tradition that Lanny and I have is to take 20 euro and split up and buy each other a gift or gifts with a 20 euro limit. Mostly we buy little stocking stuffers and gifts that will help fill the time. The best part about it is you have to be pretty creative because 20 euro won’t get you very far. It’s always fun to see what the other came up with on Christmas day. Lanny’s worried this year that I out-did her. Must be her competitive nature, only a professional athlete would be worried about being out done in the gift giving arena. Of course I’m hoping I did out do her. :)

Later that day we arrived back in Obertilliach, Austria and this time we were staying at a different hotel. After we settled into our rooms we made our way down to dinner. When we turned the corner into the dinning room we heard a collective “Ohhhhh!” I looked up to see the Japanese team sitting in front of us. They were so excited to see us. We’ve spent many a Christmas’ with the Japanese team in Europe. They aren’t afforded the opportunity to go home for Christmas because of the long travel, so it’s often we find ourselves together in some mountain biathlon town.

We have been friends with the Japanese team for a really long time…well… let me clarify….we’ve enjoyed each other’s company for a really long time. I think of them as friends and I want to think that they feel the same way, but our friendship involves a lot of smiling, waving, and bowing. It was only a few years ago that some of the team members started to learn English and Lanny and I are desperately trying to learn some Japanese. So, I guess you could say that we have a very non-verbal relationship. Mostly we just exchange gifts. And we get really excited when we see them, and they get really excited when they see us. Yep, that about sums it up.

Well, this year, we wanted to do something special for them, so we had a cake made at a local bakery and then we added our own decorations. Lanny drew a card and we were all set for the delivery. That night we arrived early at dinner and set the cake, which was in a box, down on their table with a note. As the Japanese team trickled in only a few of them noticed the cake and those few hadn’t yet figured out why this box was sitting on their table. Being the shy people that we are, we got too excited and embarrassed to sit and wait, so we finished our dinner and went to our room.

About an hour later we hear some commotion out in the hall. I turn my head to listen and all I can here is “Hello… Hello….” Clearly someone is walking down the hall saying “Hello” at every door. Then I hear my name “Barnes”. I almost burst out laughing. I open my door and peer down the dark hall. Then I see three of the guys on the Japanese team. They are walking from door to door trying to find us. They didn’t know what room we were in so they decided to just yell outside each door. It was such a funny sight. They came over to the door and the three of them awkwardly shook our hands and said “Thank you” and “Arigoto” and bowed and handed us two very large pieces of the cake we had given to them. They also handed us two Japanese fans and 2 packs of candies. The excitement on their face was priceless. Through some very broken English we communicated how long we were going to be in Obertilliach and where we were going next. What happened next was the most entertaining. From my encounters with the Japanese team, I’ve come to the realize that in Japanese culture it’s not very nice to turn your back on someone when you are walking away, especially when you’ve just given them a gift. So, the three guys on the Japanese team bow and say thank you one more time and then start to back down the hall, then they bow and smile again, and again, and this continues until they disappear down the hall. I leave the door open to my room and back in just to make sure I didn’t disrespectfully turn my back. A few minutes later, when I suspect they’re long gone, I go and close my door. I sit back down on the couch and open up the book I had been reading before. No sooner did I do this, do I hear a knock on the door. This time there’s a different member of the team. He bows and hands us 2 very large bottles of Coca Cola zero. He thanks us for the cake, rubs his belly and says “very good.” And then smiles and waves and bows and backs down the hall, doing the same routine as the other guys. Finally I turn, close the door and walk into the room, grab my book and there’s another knock at the door. This time it’s two of the women on the team. They say thank you for the cake and hand us a bag full of goodies from Japan. They tell us that the goodies are for making soup. There are some rice noodles, some sauces, and some really strange looking biscuits. This time, instead of doing the routine of backing down the hall they just slowly close the door while smiling, waving and bowing. It’s such a funny sight and I love every bit of it. They are such wonderful people. They’re my favorite team on the World Cup.

In two day’s it’s Christmas. Training will continue through the holidays, which is good because it keeps your mind off the fact that you are so far away from your family. We are very thankful for having the opportunity to compete for our country, but we also promise ourselves that when we are done competing we won’t take for granted a Christmas at home with family. Happy Holidays to everyone. Merry Christmas.

Andrea Fisher Named as 2011 PROIS AWARD RECIPIENT!

Próis Hunting & Field Apparel, the leading manufacturer of performance-driven hunting clothing for women, continues to celebrate females who dominate in the field with its annual Próis Awards. And the competition will be stiff, as there is only one winner who will take home the coveted prize: a hunt of a lifetime for Elk, Mule Deer, Whitetail and Wolf in the pristine Canadian Rocky Mountains with Savage Encounters and Sports Afield Editor-in-Chief, Diana Rupp. Plus, she’ll be fully outfitted with the latest hunting gear from top equipment manufacturers and Próis Awards sponsors — a killer package that rings in at more than $25,000 in value.

“Próis and its contest partners are passionate about recognizing strong, successful female hunters who consider hunting a lifestyle, and are involved in conservation, management and the hunting community,” says Kirstie Pike, CEO for Próis Hunting & Field Apparel. “We had over 70 entries for this contest and the competition was stiff. The top 12 finalists were determined by our panel of judges and each woman had an amazing story to tell. This whole process is quite humbling.”

Essays and photos were reviewed by a panel of industry expert judges, and the top 12 chosen were posted onto the Próis Awards website on October 15, 2011. Here the hunting community had until December 15, 2011 to cast their vote on which candidate they believe should be crowned the 2011 Próis Award Winner. Once online voting was complete, Prois added in the accumulated judges scores to the online votes to determine who the winner would be. Andrea will be introduced as the winner to the industry at both the 2012 Archery Trade Association Show in Columbus, OH and the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV.

2011 Próis Awards sponsors include: Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, Savage Encounters, Outdoor Connection, Sports Afield, Blacks Creek, Hunter Hills Journal, Ripcord Arrow Rest, Bowtech, Swarovski Optik, Bog-Pod, Acli-Mate and Zamberlan.

The Próis Awards panel of industry expert judges includes Diana Rupp, Editor in Chief of Sports Afield Magazine, Kirstie Pike, CEO of Próis Hunting & Field Apparel; Craig Boddington, Outdoor Writer; Guy Eastman, Publisher of Eastman’s Hunting Journals; Ron Shmeits, Presdent of the NRA; Ron Spomer, Writer, Wildlife Photographer & TV Host and Brenda Valentine, NWTF Spokesperson & TV Host.

Prois Hunting Apparel Photo Caption Contest- December 2011

We’ve chosen this month’s photo in the spirit of Christmas! Jump in and take part in the fun! Prois Hunting Apparel for Women is sponsoring a monthly photo caption contest which will be posted here, on the Prois Community Blog.

How do you participate? Simply supply a unique caption to go with our posted photo in the comments section listed below.

Why should you participate? Well, for starters it’s fun! BUT- the winner that is chosen by the Prois staff will become the proud new owner of a Prois Cap in Max-1 or Realtree AP

What are you waiting for!? Give us YOUR caption!

GENERATION X JACKETS NOW AVAILABLE- JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

NEW!!! The Generation X Jacket is designed for the extreme huntress who needs more from her hunting gear. The Generation X is constructed with our windstopping and water-resistant Pro-Edition fabric and lined with our signature nylon tricot lining system. New integrated design to optimize movement. Includes our signature Scapular Pockets located between the shoulder blades built to house activated hand warmers, thus enhancing thermoregulation. Deep lumbar pocket across the back hold softgoods, additional handwarmers or functions as a vent. Zippered arm pocket to hold valuables. Extended hooding offers additional warmth and concealment during the hunt. deep hand pockets. All zippers with snapdown sliders for enhanced silence. Zipper garage at chin to reduce chafing. Perfect for the rugged hunting expedition.

Check them out at www.proishunting.com!

PROIS GIFT CARDS NOW AVAILABLE!

Just in time for the holiday shopping season…Prois is offering a variety of gift cards – the PERFECT gift for the female hunter/shooter on your shopping list! Available now at www.proishunting.com!

The Barnes Twins Head to Europe

After the trials races in Vermont in August and Utah in October, Tracy and Lanny Barnes, top American biathletes, secured the top two spots at the trials and secured a spot on the World Cup/ Europa Cup team. They are currently at training camp in Ostersund, Sweden and then they’ll compete in World Cups and Europa Cup races in Scandinavia and Central Europe before Christmas. This winter Tracy and Lanny will travel to Sweden, Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Russia. They’ve made a lot of great progress in their ski speed and shooting and they can’t wait to use it against the rest of the world in the races coming up. World Championships are in Ruhpolding, Germany this year and Tracy and Lanny hope to be representing the US there at the races in March. Record crowds are expected at the races with close to 50,000 spectators at every event. You can watch the races live on www.biathlonworld.com and we’ll keep our results, pictures, and adventures on www.twinbiathletes.com and blog on http://thewoma.com/category/the-road-to-russia/. Currently they are some of the only biathletes in the World getting on snow training as most of Europe and Scandinavia are too warm for snow. I guess it pays to breathe a little harder and live at altitude!

Prois Hunting Apparel Photo Caption Contest- November 2011

We’ve chosen this month’s photo in the spirit of Thanksgiving! Jump in and take part in the fun! Prois Hunting Apparel for Women is sponsoring a monthly photo caption contest which will be posted here, on the Prois Community Blog.

How do you participate? Simply supply a unique caption to go with our posted photo in the commments section listed below.

Why should you participate? Well, for starters it’s fun! BUT- the winner that is chosen by the Prois staff will become the proud new owner of a Sherpa Beanie in Max-1 or Realtree AP

What are you waiting for!? Give us YOUR caption!