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Meet 2011 Prois Award Finalist – Nancy Jo Adams!


It didn’t take long for the bug to get under my skin—the hunting bug that is. I was not raised in a hunting family. Matter of fact, I was on the complete opposite end of the pendulum, a competitive equestrian who grew up on the emerald coast of Northwest Florida. My husband, Richard, created this unbridled monster and it has ran rampant every since.

My hunting world is three-fold. First, a husband and wife hunting duo traveling extensively each year to hunt just about anything edible; second, a mentor and advocate of women hunters dedicated to volunteering my efforts to scout, plan and host economical hunts for women throughout the year; and third, a writer specializing in product reviews of gear I personally field test on various hunts.

My eyes were opened up to hunting when I harvested a buck on my first trip to the woods; however, my heart was stolen on my first turkey hunt. I can still close my eyes and feel every sense I felt that morning as if it were happening in the moment. The morning dew as it lightly seeped through my pant legs. That subtle moment the sun broke the horizon, sending a chill up my spine. Hearing my first booming gobble resonating through the damp woods, bouncing off the pines, sending a spark up the nap of my neck. The sounds of fly-down cackles, clucking, purring and my favorite sound—just short of a gobble—the kee-kee run. But nothing, absolutely nothing, could be as magnificent as watching my first tom strut; morphing from a slim silhouette to a big blob with a few quick steps. The colors, sounds, and the regal way it tucked its head, as it slowly, methodically seemed to float several inches off the ground. It was love at first sight.

That has been 4 years, immeasurable footsteps, many miles and countless hours of all-night road trips, often 20 hours straight driving after 8+ hours of work in the concrete jungle. In that short time, I have been privileged to experience hunting Merriam turkeys in 3 foot of snow in the mountains of Montana. I spent an entire week solo on a self-guided bowhunt for deer and antelope on some beautiful alfalfa fields by the North Platte River of Wyoming. I wore the bruises from belly crawling the rocky basins of Kansas sneaking up on Rio turkeys. I was humbled by my first black bear harvest as I listened solemnly to the death moans echo in the motionless woods of the rocky terrain of beautiful Minnesota.

I have sat patiently hunting whitetail deer in the eerie, leafless cottonwoods of Kansas for countless hours until my lower limbs were numb. I felt the strain in my arms from reeling in a 350-pound gator on the black swampy waters of Central Florida. I have flown by the seat of my pants to successfully hunt 3 different game animals in 3 different states in 8 short days. I have reveled in achieving my personal goals of my first turkey grand slam and successfully harvesting game with rifle, bow, shotgun and muzzleloader in a one-year period. My perseverance and what I have achieved in this sport is something I would not have ever dreamed attainable.

My wish was for every woman hunter to experience the grandeur that I found on my hunts and my dream was to make that possible, especially those who did not have the excess financial means to do so. For that reason, I decided to volunteer my time in finding economical hunts, coordinating and hosting those hunts. That choice brought only one hardship, having to give up a media position that I enjoyed; one that enabled me to educate other women through my writings. A decision I did not have to think twice about because I knew my heart was in the right place.

That has been nearly 2 years and over 2-dozen self-hosted women’s hunts. The heartfelt gratification that I get from seeing other women enjoying camp, the experience of the hunt and, often, their harvest cannot be measured.

I pride myself in being an ethical hunter, passing on the knowledge that I have been fortunate enough to learn from some great mentors. At every opportunity, I believe in giving back to nature what nature has allowed me to enjoy, never taking it for granted. Hunting, sharing with others and committing to conservation is not only a passion; it is a way of life for me.

Prois Hunting Apparel Photo Caption Contest- April 2012


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 Hoodie in their color choice!

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

Meet Prois Award Finalist Donna McDonald!

More than one time I have heard – “Are you the Camp Cook?” “You can’t vote only outfitters can vote “where’s your husband?”. Or how about this one, “ I really appreciate you guiding me and you did a fantastic job, but if my wife calls tell her that I was guided by Don”.

It has been an amazing journey being a huntress all my life, guiding and sharing the outdoors with others. I liked what the mission of the Prios contest entailed and that is why I decided to enter: community involvement, management, and conservation efforts. It is more than hunting it is about the love, the passion, sharing, conserving and getting more people involved in the outdoors. I hope to accomplish this by not only words but example.

Thinking back I can’t remember a time that I didn’t hunt or when I even started hunting! My first memories of hunting were as a young girl following my father with my single shot 22 rifle knowing with my ability once I looked down those open sights and took aim – no animal was safe. My father, I am sure felt the same way – because he carried the bullets.

My husband Jake and I own and operate Upper Canyon Outfitters in Southwest Montana. People are surprised that I am a woman outfitter and guide which has always been been a bit difficult for me to explain – because to me it’s no big deal. It’s just something I love to do. And it’s nothing new: Remember Sacajawea? May not be as many of us but we have been around for a long time.

My role models were my parents, Dad took me hunting and Mom tried hard to make sure I still remained a lady. Mom was concerned that my tomboy attitude would affect my lady like behaviour. With mom’s insistence she taught that it was fine to have grace and tenderness in my life. She taught me to speak up for myself and be confident in whatever endeavors I chose and be respectful. She encouraged me to believe that if something is in your heart then there is no gender. And when you think about it there really isn’t any gender, to me it doesn’t matter who you are what sex, size, shape, age.

Having served for over six years on the Governors appointed Private Land/Public Wildlife Council, a council of citizens representing the interests of hunters, landowners, and outfitters. This position made it possible to help developing solutions and legislation which addresses issues involving hunting, outdoor heritage and help to improve access in Montana. I served on the Western Montana Resource Advisory Council for the Bureau of Land Management from 2001 -2006, providing advice on public land management to the U.S. Department of the Interior. I am currently on the Ruby Water Shed Council and involved community collaboration to share information, education and concerns.

For years my husband and I have taken children with life treating illnesses on hunting trips. While I was president of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association we developed a program called Big Hearts under the Big Sky. This charitable partnership program provides military service men and women, children who face life threatening illness, and women who suffer the challenges of breast cancer the opportunity to enjoy Montana outdoors at no cost. http://www.bigheartsmt.org/ Currently I am chairing the board for Big Hearts Under the Big Sky.
In 1989 I passed the test to become a licensed outfitter in Montana. We joined the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, at that time I was told I could not vote – they just assumed my husband was the outfitter. 19 years later I was elected the first women president of the association. I tell you this not because of me, but because times do change and women are welcome in the hunting industry today. According to the NRA women are gaining on men in the purchase of firearms for hunting and personal defense.

I believe hunting is a tremendous privilege that needs our constant attention and support. We are keepers of the future, and we must not waver in our effort to preserve and protect hunting for the sake of our children and grandchildren. We have an obligation to keep informed and offer our help to ensure that future generations will enjoy the same opportunities in the outdoors.

And today I am addressed as Donna not Don – oh what a difference 25 years can make!

Twin World Champion Update!

Ruhpolding, Germany is home to one of the biggest biathlon venues in the world. Ruhpolding is the center of the biathlon universe from March 1 until March 11, transforming what is normally a quiet Bavarian village into a bustling mix of sport and celebration. Ruhpolding, Oberhof, and Antholz, three of the top biathlon venues in the world all have a special atmosphere and aura about them. However Ruhpolding has fans so close to the finish line and shooting range and that they can almost touch the athletes. The thunderous roar of the crowd bounces off the mountainside behind the shooting range and joyous atmosphere at the Chiemgau arena as well as in the village is unmatched. All of this has added up to the tag of “Super Bowl of Biathlon” in recent years. Now this Bavarian village stepped up a huge notch in 2012. The title really fits this year; in some ways this year it will match or exceed that ubiquitous Super Bowl of American football.

Ruhpolding was literally be overrun by fans this week at a previously unseen level for any biathlon competition. With advance ticket sales at over 210,000 and some walk-up tickets available for several days, the US event is dwarfed. The 6,500 inhabitants will disappear in the ocean of fans that will pass through each day. Few towns of this size, if any have ever hosted an event of this magnitude. The US Super Bowl is always in cities with populations in the millions. Just like any major event, many people will make their way to Ruhpolding without a ticket to just be a part of the ongoing party. Over 300, 000 people are expected to pass through this one-main street town by the time the Championships end. Ruhpolding will be packed every day until the competitions end on March 11.

For me, the Biathlon World Championships started with the 7.5km sprint race on 1/3. I had high expectations and goals coming into the Championships having just medaled in the International Biathlon Union Cups just two weeks ago in Canmore, Alberta. I was the only member of the team that had traveled from North America to Europe to meet up with the rest of the team who was already in Europe preparing for the races. I knew the jet lag and fatigue from travel would play a role in how I felt, so I took it one race at a time. The conditions and weather made for some very challenging skiing with temperatures soaring into the 50’s during race time. I shot well in the sprint only posting one missed shot, but struggled with an off day of skiing and finished a disappointing 67th out of 119 competitors.

I then geared up for the 15km Individual which is considered a shooters race and my best event. It is considered a shooters race because a one minute time penalty i s added for each missed shot for a total of 20 shots. In a sport that has gotten extremely competitive and close in time over the last 10 years, you can’t afford even on missed shot if you want to be standing on the podium. I started bib # 89 out of the random draw for the 118 starters and I knew the conditions on the track would get slower as the race when on, so I had to focus even more on my shooting and to make sure each shot count. There would be no making up for missed shots with the snow melting and getting slower and deeper as the race progressed. I had a great start hitting 5 for 5 in my first bout of shooting. Coming into the second shooting I knew I was in a good position so far in the race and easily hit the first 4 of 5 targets. The 30,000+ fans seated directly behind me started cheering in unison for each hit target I knocked down. Getting a little to confident, I took the last shot a fraction of a second to early and missed. Having only half the race finished, I knew not to give up as anything can happen in biathlon. I hit all of my remaining targets. I skied hard on the last loop and finished 37th of 118. I was definitely hoping for a top 10 and even a podium, but I made the most of the situation and finished in the top 40 which is awarded World Cup points.

Today is the last race and is the Women’s Relay. As a four person team, each person completes a 6 km course (three 2km loops) with 2 shooting stages, a prone and a standing. Each person is also allowed 3 extra bullets per stage is they miss a shot, but each extra has to be hand loaded which costs precious seconds in the relay. Any misses after the 3 extra and the athlete has to navigate their way around the 150meter penalty loop for each missed shot again loosing more time. After each leg, the athletes tag off to their teammates who then complete their leg until the final and 4th woman who has to sprint to the finish ahead of as many teams as possible. I will be competing the relay with my teammates in this order- Sara Studabaker, Susan Dunklee, Annelise Cook, and I will be the anchor leg for the team. You can tune in live for the race at 7:15AM MST or 9:15AM EST on this link http://eurovision.digotel.com/ibu/index.html. We’ll keep you posted on how the relay goes. Thanks for all your support!

Prois Hunting Apparel Photo Caption Contest- March 2012

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, Max-4, or Realtree AP

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

Prois Award Finalist Spotlight….Meet Britney Starr!

It is our honor at Prois Hunting Apparel to be associated with so many amazing women. The 2011 Prois Award brought forward an amazing group of ladies who are hardcore to the bone…and still have time to invest their energy into conservation efforts and community service. Our 2011 Prois Award Recipient, Andrea Fisher, was announced in January of this year. Despite the fact that there can only be one winner for such an award, we at Prois felt it was important to spotlight each of our 12 finalists and their amazing stories! With that…meet Britney Starr!

“Obsessed”, “crazy”, “addicted”, “driven”, “passionate”, “hardcore”, and “extreme” are words that others have used to describe myself and my lifestyle. I agree with them all.

My name is Britney Starr and I was born and bred in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My existence revolves around hunting and I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are following my dad while scouting for turkeys and picking up turkey poop to show to him. “Santa” brought me a Browning 7mm mag rifle for Christmas when I was 12 and the following year I harvested my first Caribou with it. I traveled to South Africa on my first safari when I was 16. I have also been hunting whitetail deer, turkey and upland birds since I was 12 along with shooting trap and sporting clays.

In 2000 I was in a car accident that left me in the hospital for six weeks. It also left my arm and wrist severely injured. I was furious because it caused me to miss spring turkey season. I was a freshman in high school at the time and during the next four years I struggled with my injury but still managed to play varsity sports and continue hunting. I even went on my second safari. During my junior year I had additional surgeries on my wrist which caused a bone infection. I carried an IV bag that pumped antibiotics directly into my heart 24 hours a day. As it neared Michigan’s deer season my dad and I formulated a plan to go to deer camp. My mom protested, but I assured her that I would be fine. Come hell or high water, I was NOT missing another hunting season. I walked through the woods with a backpack holding the IV bag and pump and climbed (one handed) into my tower blind with my rifle slung across my back. Hardcore? Maybe. Crazy? Yes.

Side Note: My IV came out while I was asleep one night at camp. My dad had to shove it back in my arm and I was bleeding everywhere. Please don’t tell my mom-she still doesn’t know.

These struggles only ignited my passion for the outdoors. I realized that I wanted to make hunting a way of life and not just a hobby. I attended Western Michigan University and acquired a B.A. in journalism in hopes that I would become an outdoor writer. By the time I graduated college my dad and I had been on three safaris and were both working for a safari outfitter as U.S. Representatives. A few years later we decided to start our own safari company (Starr & Bodill African Safaris). I couldn’t be more ecstatic with our business venture. I am fortunate to spend three months out of the year traveling to Safari Club International shows around the mid-west and helping our clients make their safari dreams a reality. Our company donates numerous safaris every year to organizations like SCI, Kids Hunting for a Cure, RMEF, etc. I strongly believe that helping these organizations raise funds is imperative to the conservation of our hunting heritage and allowing future generations to experience what I have been privileged enough to experience thus far.

I recently started writing gear reviews for The Women’s Outdoor News online. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to have the opportunity to write about outdoor products and network with other women that share my obsession for the outdoors and similar lifestyle. When I was growing up I literally thought I was THE ONLY girl that hunted. There were no women’s hunting clothes available and I had to wear my dad’s hand me downs. I am currently on a mission to replace all of my hand me downs with women specific hunting apparel. I love the fact that women have options with their gear now and several companies (Prois being one of them) offer practical gear for hardcore huntresses.
Hunting has become not only an obsession, addiction, and passion for me but it has truly become my way of life. I don’t feel it is necessary for me to list every single animal I have harvested in this essay, as I believe that hunting is more about the experience than the trophy. I cherish every minute I spend in the outdoors along with the memories it brings. Nothing is more sacred to me than the feeling of inner peace I experience during the journey. I will continue to contribute to conservation efforts and network with other women who hunt or aspire to become involved in the outdoors. The bond between fellow hunters and huntresses is unbelievably strong and I am blessed to be a part of this industry. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and considering me for the Prois Award.

Twin Biathletes Reach Top 10 and Podium!

Photos by the International Biathlon Union

Tracy and Lanny both reach the top ten in the IBU Cup!
Lanny Barnes made the podium for the second race in a row at the IBU Cup in Canmore, Alberta finishing a career best 2nd place in the 15km Individual race on Wednesday. Lanny led for most of the race hitting all 10 of her first 10 shots in the first two shooting stages. Her one miss on the day came in her third shooting stage while shooting prone. At that point she was still leading the race and hit all five of her last five standing to finish first, but was knocked out of the top spot by a late starter. Marina Korovina of Russia won the women’s 15K individual. She passed Lanny Barnes only on the last lap. Barnes finished second with one penalty, 8.2 seconds back and led the whole race until Korovina who started later in the race, had a surge on the last lap and just edged out the American.Tracy finished not to far from her sister in 11th place with 3missed shots.

Photo by the International Biathlon Union

Lanny Barnes smiled brightly at the finish. “This was so much fun today. It is amazing to be on the podium on North American soil. I think it helped a lot, not only that we did not have to fly so far but also to have friends and family close by.”

“I was really happy with the race today. I knew I was in race because I could practically hear the announcer everywhere on course and our staff kept giving me splits of leading the race. I probably started out a little harder than I wanted too and lost a little time in the end, but was happy that my skiing is coming around. I was bummed that Tracy wasn’t right in there with me, but she is just getting over a cold otherwise I think she might have given me a run for the money! We had really great skis today, Bjorn and Brandon have done a great job and have given us our best skis all year. It was also nice to have the coaches and my teammates out there cheering for me during the race. It definitely helps you push a little harder.”

Photo by the International Biathlon Union

On Thursday, the Barnes twins hit the tracks again for a 7.5km sprint race. Tracy made the top 10 for her third time this season finishing 10th with one missed shot. Having moved up in placing in every race in Canmore, she was happy with her result. “I came into these races just recovering from a cold, so I wasn’t 100%. I took it day to day and moved up in every race. I also felt a lot better skiing as the race series progressed. I’m happy to have finished in the top 20 in a really competitive field and jump into the top ten in the last race”, commented Tracy after the finish in the last race. Lanny finished 17th in that race with two costly missed shots that kept her from making the podium again.

With two podium finishes for Lanny and a top ten finish for Tracy, both twins were happy with the race series in Canmore. “To get my best results of the season and a best ever in my career, it gives me confidence and motivation going into World Champs coming up”, say Lanny. “I can’t wait to get back out there and end the season with some good performances at World Championships”. Lanny will head to World Championships next week in Ruhpolding, Germany where the races will kick off on the first of March.

Photo by the International Biathlon Union

“We’d both like to thank our sponsors and supporters for helping us get to those races. The races were not funded and were self pay, so without the support of our sponsors and organizations like the Durango Winter Sports foundation, we wouldn’t have been able to go.”

Check out www.twinbiathletes.com for more info, updates, and pictures. The Twin Biathletes are sponsored by Advanced Technology International, Otis Technology, Enell, SealSkinz/Danalco, Babes With Bullets. Supported by SportLegs, Smith Optics, Atomic, Elete, Pelican, Teludyne Tech, 110%, The WOMA, Prois, Columbia Southern University, The WON, The Durango Winter Sports Foundation

Photo by the International Biathlon Union

Grabbing Life by the Horns- A Silver Lining Leads to a Trophy Whitetail

It’s funny how sometimes horrible things happen in your life but within that horrible event good things happen that never would have happened if not for that horrible event. That’s how I feel sometimes when I think of my accident. No doubt is has been the hardest thing my husband and I have had to deal with, but in the same sense it has brought us closer and we look at life in a whole new perspective now. Things you would have thought important before are no longer, and you learn to be very grateful for what you do have. We have also met some wonderful people since my accident and that is how this little story began….

I went to Panama in January of 2011 for stem cell therapy. While we were there, my husband and I met a wonderful couple. They too were there for stem cell therapy because the wife has Multiple Sclerosis and the disease had taken over her body at a rapid speed. She too was in a wheelchair. While I was in treatment, Levi started talking to them man and their conversation soon turned to hunting. We come to find out they own a whitetail ranch in Texas. We immediately became close friends with them and they opened the invitation to have us down to their ranch.

So this January we went to Texas and they let me shoot a VERY beautiful whitetail. Bigger than any deer most people could only imagine shooting. We had an awesome time down there. We are so fortunate to meet people like them who also are going through tough times but still are so gracious and kind. We hope to visit again to see them and maybe go hunting again. It surely was a great way to start off a new year. The whitetail scored 200 and even though the picture doesn’t show very good detail he has great palmation on his left which is about as wide a my palm across. Beautiful animal, awesome time, and wonderful people. You can’t get much better than that!

Lanny Barnes Rocks!!!

Photo by Hannah Dreisagacker

Lanny Barnes of Durango, Colorado posted the best IBU Cup finish and a podium this year on the IBU Cup circuit yesterday with a fourth place in the sprint race. Lanny & Tracy Barnes competed for the US in the International Biathlon Union Cups in Canmore, Alberta this past weekend and will compete in two more races there this week on wednesday and thursday. With twenty three Nations competing in the first IBU Cup to race on North American soil, there was some tough competition for the Barnes twins. The races consisted of two 7.5km sprint races with three laps of 2.5km loops and two shooting stages, one prone and one standing. In the first race the twin sisters shot the same with one missed shot and finished 12th and 17th.

Photo by Pam Doyle QMI Agency cal-sports@sunmedia.ca

“I was a bit disappointed in the race (Saturday) with the missed shot in prone,” said Lanny Barnes. “You can’t afford to miss on a day like that with perfect conditions and I also felt like I skied to conservatively on the first loop. The great thing was we had another opportunity on the same course and same race format to give it another go today (Sunday).”

On Sunday they had another chance to race the same 7.5km sprint course and try for a better result. Both Barnes twins went out determined in the second race to improve upon their finishes, knowing that they were within striking distance of the podium. Lanny was in the lead for most of the race posting the fastest first two loop ski times and cleaning (hitting all 5) of her prone shots.

“I went out harder today on the fist loop and tried to keep up that pace throughout the race. I cleaned prone and kept getting good splits out on the course and decided to try and go for it in standing. I came in a little too hard and missed my first shot, but resettled and knocked down the last four.”

“After I skied my penalty loop I was suprised to get a split that despite my miss, I was still in the race. I hammered hard on the last loop and finished in third, but was bumped eventually by the Russian winner. I was happy with the result, but feel there is definitely room for improvement.”
Tracy also posted a better result from the day before finishing 12th also with one missed shot.

Photo by International Biathlon Union

“It gives me confidence going into the races this week knowing that hitting that one shot would’ve possibly given me the win. The skiing is finally there and shooting is something that has always been my strong suit. Tracy and I are both pushing for a top three in the races this week.”

The Barnes twins will race in a 15km Individual timed trail on wednesday and another 7.5km sprint race on Thursday in Canmore where they both hope that their results will earn them a spot on the World Championship team set to race in Ruhpolding, Germany in a few weeks. Tracy, who had been struggling the past couple weeks with illness is looking forward to the races this week.

“I wasn’t 100% coming into these races, but am feeling better and better every day and every race. I think a podium is definitely possible this week.”

“Even though we are racing in the Canadian Rockies, they are still the Rockies and are as close to home as we will get for an international biathlon competition.”, says Tracy. “it is so nice to race on North American soil and have the Europeans make the long trek overseas for a race. We are definitely counting this as a home court advantage and are going to try to take advantage of that this week”

Photo by International Biathlon Union

You can watch the twins races live over the Internet at www.canmorebiathlon.com. There will compete on Wednesday 2/15 at 1:30 pm MST and thursday 2/16 at 12:00 pm MST. Also check out www.twinbiathletes.com to follow their racing with updates and pictures.

Prois Hunting Apparel Photo Caption Contest- February 2012

We’ve chosen this month’s photo in the spirit of Valentine’s Day! 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!