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Prois Woman of the Week- Mary Orvis Marbury (1856-1914)

This month’s Woman of the Week is very dear to me as a female fly fisher and an Orvis Endorsed fly fishing guide. The following text is courtesy of our good friend Bill Bowers. Female fly fishers rock!

The American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont (also home of The Orvis Company) is having a special exhibition beginning June 11 and running until April 2012, called “A Graceful Rise,” about women’s contributions to the sport of fly fishing.

One important figure was Mary Orvis Marbury (1856-1914), daughter of company founder Charles F. Orvis. In the 1870s, in her teens, Mary began supervising Orvis’s fly-tying staff, which at the time consisted of about 10 women who tied the flies Mr. Orvis sold in his tackle shop, and soon through mail order. Orvis was a pioneering mail order retailer in the 19th Century. Mary had great influence over the family business. In 1892 her book Favorite Flies and Their Histories was published. It was the first compilation of American fly patterns, and one of the first books in the world published with multicolored plates (of the flies) using the then-new process of chromolithography.

Turkey Tales with the Twins – Part 1

This past weekend I got out with Prois Pro-Staffers, Olympic biathletes, and identical twins Tracy and Lanny Barnes for some turkey hunting ( I first met Tracy and Lanny during the WOMA retreat Prois CEO Kirstie Pike and I hosted in our home town of Gunnison Colorado (I am a transplant but Gunnison is definitely home now). Right off the bat I really liked Tracy and Lanny, they are some of the nicest most down to earth yet totally badass ladies you’ll ever meet. That is why I jumped at the opportunity to drive a mere 3 ½ hours South through some gorgeous Colorado country to do some turkey hunting with them. Just a few weeks prior I went on a ladies hog hunt which was organized through Tracy Splechter, owner of Outdoor Connection. That was the first women’s hunt that I’d been on and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is something so special about hunting with other women and it is such a supportive and fun environment to learn in. I could barely contain my excitement in the days leading up to the turkey hunt and Kirstie grew weary of me talking about it since she was unable to attend. I got out a couple days before I was leaving and patterned in our shotgun with some turkey shells and readied myself for the hunt.

This was my first turkey hunt ever. Contrary to what many people think I did not grow up hunting or fishing. I was raised in Massachusetts and I only knew two people that actually hunted and neither of them well. I fished some as I grew up in a pond across the street from our house but that was the extent of my sporting experience. After moving to Colorado and subsequently Oregon then back to Colorado I jumped head first into an outdoor lifestyle. It started when I did creel surveys for the Park Service at Curecanti Recreation Center (AKA Blue Mesa Reservoir) in Gunnison Colorado. I would pay close attention to what the people that were catching the most fish were doing and where they were fishing and quickly learned how to catch my limit of trout. I quickly became popular for my fish frys and my fellow creel surveyor Mike would often get frustrated with me because he had been fishing for years and would spent much longer than me setting up his rod and rig only to be out-fished by me every time.

The falconry seed was planted in my head and started to germinate around that time but it wasn’t until I moved to Oregon that I had the facilities available to start hunting with birds of prey and it wasn’t until I moved back to Colorado that I learned to fly fish from my fiancé Eric Grand. Our first date was the first time I went out fly fishing and he made me leave my trusty tackle box and stringer in the truck when I tried to bring them. Though my history in the sporting world has been a short one, I’ve made up for lost time with enthusiasm, by getting out with people that REALLY know what they’re doing, and hunting and fly fishing every opportunity I have. Though I have been a falconer for 5 years, I only started hunting with guns the past two years. I tagged along elk hunting two years and did everything but shoot an elk before I took up my own rifle with the hopes of shooting an elk. Every hunt has taught me so much, even and sometimes especially when I have been unsuccessful. I very high expectations for myself and every unsuccessful hunt (if they can even be called that) has only strengthened my resolve and made me try even harder. Some of my favorite things about hunting have nothing to do with whether I get an animal or not but since I have already gotten way off track, I’ll save that for another blog.

Katherine Browne (me) huntress in training

I arrived at Tracy’s house Friday night and we planned on getting up before the sun and heading out to a spot they had been scouting Saturday morning. I eagerly asked them a million questions about turkey hunting Friday night and tossed and turned all night in bed as Tom’s ran through my head, jumped from the painting on the wall, and pattered across my bedroom floor. I woke several times looking at the clock thinking it must be time to go before my alarm finally sounded. I felt like a kid trying to sleep the night before Christmas. Finally it was time to go. We donned out Prois gear, grabbed our shotguns and packs, and headed for the hunting spot. Unfortunately two days prior the Forest Service opened the road to the area Tracy and Lanny had been scouting early and the turkeys had been pressured and spooked for the first time all season. Fortunately we heard groups gobbling almost first thing that morning and began to stalk them. I love spot and stalk hunting and it was so exciting to hear the turkeys gobbling and try to sneak up on them. My main goal on this trip was to keep up with the twins and hunt as hard as they did. This was a lofty goal considering they are world class athletes and have been hunting this terrain since they were little girls with their father. I was so impressed by their navigation skills, the way the worked together seamlessly with little communication, and their knowledge of the local flora and fauna. They were great at pointing out things along the way. Lanny would whisper and point “bear poop” or pick up a tuft of fur and velvet from a small sapling that had been used as a rubbing post. We came very close to two separate groups of turkeys but they somehow eluded us. Lanny is excellent with a mouth call and we got some responses but jealous hens may have led the Tom’s off when they heard a hen they didn’t recognize as Lanny explained to me. It felt like the forest was full of invisible turkeys because they sounded like they were so close but we didn’t see them. It didn’t help that the forest floor was very dry and it was difficult to move quietly. As soon as we thought we should give up on a group and head back up to find another, without fail we would hear a Tom gobble below us after we had ascended a steep slope.

Lanny Barnes, fearless guide and all around badass

It was really awesome to see elk, deer, and the pointy eared, white bushy tailed Albert’s squirrels that frequent the forests there. It was also exciting to see the huge prehistoric looking tracks of the elusive turkeys we were tracking. Turkeys are much more difficult to hunt then many people give them credit for and they have excellent hearing and vision. This is how these big, noisy, seemingly awkward birds has survived and flourished. By afternoon the turkeys had quieted down and we hiked down to the Piedra River for a little fly fishing and scouting. The river was the color of chocolate milk because of runoff and the fish weren’t interested in the streamers I was tossing along the slower moving water on the banks. We found a big cold abandoned egg in the camping area by the river that we determined was a goose egg. We also ran into a group of very untalented college age rafters, all men who were drinking heavily, that invited us to share a small hot spring puddle with the six of them. I don’t think they had ever seen a group of three women out hunting together. As tempting as their offer was (can you sense my sarcasm here?) we declined sharing the already very crowded shallow hot spring puddle with them. When we passed back by the spot where the egg had been over a half hour later it had mysteriously disappeared. We also heard a Tom and some very angry Canada geese and had fun speculating about what that horney Tom was up to. Unfortunately after hiking up and down a very steep slope twice we determined he was on the opposite side of the river from us which at that level would not have been crossable without a boat. That afternoon it started raining on and off and the birds quit talking. A half hour or so before last light we headed back to the truck just as it started raining hard and decided to call it quits for the night.

Lanny Barnes pondering the mystery egg

That night I soothed my aching muscles with a nice hot soak in Tracy’s hot tub and hit the hay early excited about the next day’s hunting. The following morning was muddy, foggy, and wet and the birds were not talking. We started hiking hoping to run into a group since they were not responding to calls and gobbling. We saw fresh tracks in the mud and were hopeful about running into some birds. The bright side of the rain was stalking was much quitter and many of the people that had come into the area to camp and recreate had left during the night. We saw another group of elk and the low clouds and mist in the valleys was lovely. Suddenly Tracy and Lanny tensed and they saw a group of birds up ahead. The moved me up front and as we rounded the corner I saw a Tom running in the middle of the path. Tracy and Lanny whispered “SHOOT”, I mounted my shotgun, lined him up and pulled the trigger. The boom resounded through the forest but the bird kept going. The Tom turned left just as I shot and my wad flew just right of him on the path he had been running. I was disappointed but the twins patted me on the shoulder and told me I did great and we would find him again. When we stopped for a snack they regaled me with tales of failed hunts and missed shots to cheer me up. We continued to hike looking for that group or anther and as we walked into a clearing Lanny cried out and delight and just as I my eyes lighted upon a massive elk shed lying in the clearing. Just as Lanny raced for the shed Tracy took off to the left with just as much exuberance. She had found the matching shed less than 20’ away from the first. Knowing I could not beat two Olympians in a foot race I reveled with them in the find after they had collected the beautiful matching set of 6 x 6 elk sheds. That afternoon it started pouring and showed no signs of clearing up. Tracy and Lanny said this was the worst weather they had had all spring. We headed back to Tracy’s house and looked at the weather and it showed no signs of clearing until the following morning. On my way home I needed to go over Red Mountain Pass which is one of the most dangerous avalanche prone passes in the state so I begrudgingly decided to go home. We made tentative plans for me to come out again two weeks and they invited me to come elk hunting with them in the fall.

Despite the fact that I didn’t kill a turkey I had a fantastic time. I loved spending time with Tracy and Lanny. I continue to be very impressed with them as people and as huntresses. I am very grateful for all the amazing women that have come into my life as a result of working for Próis. Hunting with other women is so amazing, especially women of the caliber of Tracy and Lanny. They were excellent hostesses and always made sure I was well fed and had everything I needed. Though they had opportunities on birds they did not take them so I could have an opportunity to shoot my first turkey. I can’t wait to hunt with them again in a couple weeks and I hope the weather will be more cooperative then. Stay tuned for the next installment of Turkey Tales with the Twins.

It’s All Rather Unconventional…A Game of Cat and Moose

By: Kirstie Pike, CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

As most who know our family understand, life around the ranch can be anything BUT conventional. At any given time there is some level of ridiculous catastrophe unfolding. Some catastrophes are too good NOT to share while others should not be shared without legal counsel.

On a recent hunting trip to Alaska, my husband Steve harvested an amazing bull moose. The mount arrived a couple of weeks ago, but the effort to get that massive animal on the wall could arguably be compared to childbirth. Not only does the moose require two men (a fact we quickly learned in our first attempts to hang the thing, but thankfully we figured it out before blood was shed) but it was too big to fit anywhere. ANYWHERE. This thing is huge.

So, what started out as a seemingly simple task took an entire Sunday. Within an hour ALL mounts were removed from the walls. It looked like the carnage from a scene in the Cabelas Dangerous Hunts Wii game. The moose migrated from spot to spot but we finally found the perfect perch for it. We commenced rearranging the other animals and pictures until we were satisfied. I will not go into the part about needing to retexture and paint various portions of the house. I may need legal counsel on that one.

I will divert here, but bear with me. I will get to the point quickly. One fact that must be understood is that cats do not thrive long in the Pike household. It is not that we do not like cats. It just seems that the coyotes and owls like them more. In fact, my daughters decided we should start naming the cats numbers instead of names. They also thought it would be funny to name the next cat Appetizer. Their father felt that was tasteless. This coming from the man who will neither confirm nor deny that he had possibly been spotted slaying a menacing raccoon while wearing his boxers and Crocs. Any further information may require legal counsel.

The latest cat is, in fact, Bridget. A cat my daughters decided they had to have from the local pet store to the tune of $100 (their own money, to be sure). At least she was spayed, which gave this particular cat an advantage over the rest because it seems that as soon as we spent $150 to spay or neuter a cat, it was a sure sign that the thing would disappear within a week. Much to our dismay, we all fell in love with this cat. She is The Princess. She has toys. She has a cat box. We even perform a search and destroy mission each evening to make sure she gets in the house before she becomes fodder. A service never provided to any previous felines.

That said, Bridget has on more than one occasion been found on top of some of our mounts. Her favorite perch was often the antlers of the elk which occupied the spot the moose overtook. We tried everything to keep her down, but we soon learned that she is like a willful child- best to ignore her and she will give up the game.

She quickly found her place on top of the massive moose. We frequently found her splayed out across the broad based antlers. This habit came to an abrupt halt early one morning.

The following events were not witnessed by any of us, so we can only speculate the true nature of this particular catastrophe. First, a very loud crashing sound is heard from the living room. Second, the cat is running at a blinding speed down the hallway away from said loud crashing sound. (In fact, she was running in place at points because as she was peeling out on the hardwood floors) Upon inspection, the moose had come crashing down. I am not sure if I have mentioned how massive this thing is, but let us just say that it must believe in the Scorched Earth policy as it cleared EVERYTHING in its path. Amazingly, it did not break. As we cleaned up the mess, we assumed Bridget was at the bottom of this somehow. My daughter went to find her.

We are unsure of how the cat was involved, but not only would she steer entirely clear of the moose, she would not venture into the living room. At all. If she needed to get to food or water, she chose a path around the entire perimeter of the room keeping a keen eye on the killer moose at all times. The following evening, I caught her on one of her stealthy stalks. I felt it prudent to try to make her sit in my lap and calm down. That decision only resulted in blood loss. So I chose the next logical thing any adult would consider…I asked the kids to do it.

As my two teenage daughters held the cat down (yes, it took two of them…) the cat could not stop staring at the killer moose. It was at this point we figured she may have been under the moose when it fell. As she would look up, she started to back away from ALL mounts on the wall. It didn’t matter if it was a goat, buck or caribou- everything was apparently going to attack her from above. She quickly escaped the girls’ grasps and backed herself into the wall, carefully inspecting each different animal. She then ran to the cat box…a natural reaction when one is quite frightened. On subsequent trips through the living room, Bridget would make a stealthy track, but if she happened to gaze upward at any of the mounts she would quickly hit reverse and back herself away. As terrified as the cat was, it became fairly fun family game to try to coax her through the living room and see exactly how she would get through.

Today, she will venture into the living room. She avoids the moose at all costs, but has somehow determined the bucks, goat, elk and caribou pose no immediate threat.

It seems it’s just a game of cat and moose.

Prois Hunting Apparel Woman of the Week…Baby Doe Tabor

Baby Doe Tabor is this Prois’ Woman of the Week. A colorful and willful woman, Baby Doe rose to the top of the Denver social ladder and quickly found herself impoverished. Much has been written about Horace and Baby Doe Tabor and the following information is found courtesy of

“By far the prettiest of fourteen siblings born to Peter McCourt, Sr. and Elizabeth Nellis, “Lizzie” early on displayed a lively and independent spirit that combined a tomboy disposition with the skin and looks of a cherub. This interesting, for the mid-1800s, combination was best exemplified by her winning the Oshkosh Congregational Church figure skating contest, a distinction that was unheard of for a girl, much less a Catholic one, in the winter of 1876/77. That event brought her to the attention of Harvey Doe, Jr., whom she married shortly thereafter, and with whom she moved to Colorado.

Lizzie’s Irish verve, and uncommon beauty brought her considerable attention wherever she traveled, but especially so among the rough and tumble elements of an isolated mining community such as Central City, where Harvey’s father had a half interest in a mine he hoped Harvey would make profitable. Harvey’s inability to make a living, however, forced his new wife to don miner’s clothes and personally work a shaft of their Fourth of July Mine, which caused great distress around the, as yet, unliberated town. (Interestingly, feminist rhetoric, in the form of Lucy Stone, founder of the suffragist Woman’s Journal came to Central City at about the same time.)

Despite raised eyebrows and clacking tongues, the miners of Central City recognized what a unique thing they had in the combination of Lizzie’s gumption and her pulchritude. And just as their hard-edge frontier spirit often found its opposite in the playful, romantic names they gave their mines, the hard-rock denizens of Central City showed their deep appreciation by giving her the nickname that was to follow her down through the ages: “Baby” Doe–the miners’ sweetheart.

Somewhere in the fall of 1879 Baby Doe attracted the attention of the newly wealthy Horace Tabor of Leadville, who caused her to leave Central City and her wayward husband behind. Over the next few years Horace grew increasingly estranged from his first wife Augusta, while his liaison with Baby Doe was becoming a matter of public knowledge. In 1882 they were married in a private civil ceremony in St. Louis, and married again in an opulent (and scandalous) public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the following March at the conclusion of Horace’s short term as U.S. Senator from Colorado.

The two lived lavishly, albeit shunned by “polite” society, for about fifteen years. They had two daughters and a stillborn son before Tabor’s seemingly inexhaustible fortune evaporated in the “free silver” devaluations of the 1890s. Though Horace was employed as Denver’s postmaster when he died in the Spring of 1899, Baby Doe spent the remaining thirty-five years of her life little better than impoverished in a cabin outside the Matchless Mine in Leadville. Still beautiful and relatively young, she could easily have remarried. She chose, instead, to “hold on to the Matchless,” continuously seeking funds to “work” it, while scribbling page after page of her increasingly idiosyncratic and, some would say, ultimately delirious thoughts.

In early March of 1935, her frozen body was discovered on the floor of her cabin, her arms peacefully crossed on her chest. After a particularly cold spell, she had apparently run out of wood for her stove. By then, having been deserted by both of her daughters, she had nevertheless already become a legend; the subject of two books and a Hollywood movie. Eventually her story would find its way into two operas, a stage play (in German), a musical, a screenplay, a one-woman show and countless other books and articles.”

Prois Hunting & Field Apparel Teams Up With the Mule Deer Foundation!

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY, UT-Conservation, outdoors women and all hunters will benefit from a new Corporate Conservation Partnership between Prois Hunting Apparel and the Mule Deer Foundation, announced today. The initiative is designed to increase female participation, comfort and enjoyment in hunting and the shooting sports, and achieve other objectives, according to Kirstie Pike, CEO and Founder of Prois, based in Gunnison, Colorado.

“We believe that this strategic partnership will help thousands of MDF members and their families in about 100 chapters, and help hunting, conservation and the shooting sports,” said Miles Moretti, CEO of the charitable non-profit Mule Deer Foundation.

The initiative will be implemented in a three-pronged approach: online, at MDF meetings, and through the colorful, informative pages of MDF magazine.

According to Pike, “We agree with our retail partners like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and others that MDF is one of the top three big game membership groups of hunters and conservationists that companies like ours should be working with to help the cause, help our business and help the future of hunting and the shooting sports.”

The Mule Deer Foundation is a national non-profit 501(c)3 organization with about 100 chapters across the United States and Canada. MDF magazine currently averages about 15,000 circulation to avid hunters and dedicated, dues-paying MDF members who receive great benefits. MDF’s mission is to ensure the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat. For information about the Mule Deer Foundation visit today. For information about Prois go to

For more information, contact:
Miles Moretti: 888-375-3337
Kirstie Pike: 970-641-3355

Prois Woman of the Week – Osa Johnson 1894 – 1953

This week’s Prois Woman of the Week was an unknown to me until I investigated Peter’s comment last week on the women that have inspired him. I am grateful to have learned about this incredible woman. Osa Johnson was a huntress, traveler, adventurer, writer, explorer, photographer, pilot, and filmmaker. She was a women way before her time and her adventurous spirit lives on in scores of huntresses and outdoors women today. Thank you Peter for bringing this amazing woman to our attention.

The following except is quoted directly from

Osa Johnson and her husband, Martin, were pioneering explorers, photographers, filmmakers and authors, who documented the lives of the indigenous people and wildlife of the South Seas Islands, Borneo, and East and Central Africa. Their films serve as a record of these cultures and a wilderness that no longer exist today.

Osa Leighty was born in Chanute, Kansas on March 14, 1894. On May, 15 1910, at the age of sixteen, she married Martin Johnson of Independence, Kansas. Martin had recently returned from an excursion to the South Seas with Jack London, who became famous for his wilderness novels, and was touring the country presenting travelogues of the trip; Osa joined the tour after she and Martin married. It soon became apparent to Osa that her new husband was always going to want a life of adventure, and she was determined to stand as his equal and share it with him. After several years of traveling around the country, they scraped together enough money for an expedition to the South Seas, where they intended to film the natives in their natural state, not influenced by outside cultures.

Their first expedition left from San Francisco on June 5, 1917 to the island of Malekula in the South Pacific island chain called New Hebrides, where the Big Nambas were considered as savage a group of headhunters and cannibals as existed anywhere on earth. Once on Malekula, they ascended through steep, thick jungle with a crew of eight natives, a small amount of film equipment and a handful of goods for trade. They soon found the Big Nambas, and while Osa tried to interest their chief, Nagapate, in their goods, Martin rolled the camera. It became clear that Nagapate was more interested in Osa than in the goods she was offering, and the crew made a hasty retreat, scrambling down the steep path with the natives in quick pursuit. Fortunately, they were rescued by a British patrol boat. The resulting film, Among the Cannibals of the South Pacific, was released the next summer in 1918 to much acclaim.

Far from being scared off by the hardships and danger of their first adventure, Osa embraced this way of life. Whether it was rubbing down with kerosene oil to fight the ever-present mosquitoes, burning off leaches that doubled their size sucking her blood, or dealing with two-inch cockroaches crawling across her while she slept, Osa accepted these challenges as part of the adventure. The following year, in April of 1919, they returned to the South Seas and North Borneo for their next film, Jungle Adventures, which was released in 1921. Martin and Osa were the first to film these South Pacific Islanders, and the resulting films are considered important historic and ethnographic documents of Pacific Island Cultures in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

After the success of these films, Osa and Martin decided to try capturing the wildlife of Africa. Over the next several years, from 1921 to 1933, they recorded an unmatched photographic record of Africa; its people and its wildlife. These were among the earliest documentary films ever made in Africa, including the first sound movie made entirely in Africa, Congorilla, which opened in 1932. While Martin did the filming, developing, and editing, Osa was responsible for feeding the crew. She fished and hunted. When they put down roots in an area, she immediately planted a garden to supplement their diet. She was responsible for planning the expeditions, getting the supplies and help needed, and making all the travel arrangements.. All of this required good managerial skills, as well as linguistic abilities and the discernment to judge which native men would be trustworthy guides.

Osa was an expert with a gun, calmly standing by to protect the crew from danger while Martin filmed with his hand-crank camera. On one occasion, as Martin was photographing a herd of rhinoceroses, one of the animals charged directly at him. With her trademark calmness, Osa raised her rifle, shot, and killed the charging rhino. Martin never missed a second of the action, capturing the dramatic moment on film.

Along with her husband, Osa got a pilot’s license in 1932, and they acquired two airplanes. Not only did they record the first aerial photos of African wildlife, they were also the first pilots to fly over Mt. Kenya, and the first pilots to film Mts. Kilimanjaro and Kenya.

Martin died of injuries resulting from a plane crash in Burbank, California in 1937. Osa survived the crash and continued to produce films and write books about their adventures. Her book, I Married Adventure, published in 1940, was listed in Best books of the Decade, 1936-1945 and was the top seller in its genre in 1940. When the US entered World War II the next year, the US military chose Johnson to write a book aimed at soldiers in the South Pacific. Published by Editions for the Armed Services in 1944, she titled it Four Years in Paradise. In 1951, her first best-selling book was translated into French.

Osa died in New York City on January 7, 1953 at the age of 58. Together, from 1917 to 1937, Martin and Osa made eight feature movies, published nine books, and shot thousands of still photographs. In addition to their expeditions, they traveled thousands of miles presenting lectures and showing their films. As well as being a commercial success, they were also commissioned to make motion pictures for the American Museum of Natural History, some of which are preserved on videotape there.

About his wife, Martin said, “she had all the qualities that go to make an ideal traveling companion for an explorer – pluck, endurance, cheerfulness under discomfort.” To Osa, that was the highest of compliments.

In 1927, The Scientific American said, “The animal films and ‘stills’ by Mr. Martin Johnson have never been surpassed. It would hardly be fair not to mention Mrs. Martin Johnson in the same paragraph, for she handles a gun as fearlessly, and a camera almost as skillfully as her husband.” Some of Osa Johnson’s photographs recently were put on display in the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) of Florida’s Disney World.

Works Cited:

•Johnson, Osa. I Married Adventure. The Lives of Martin and Osa Johnson. New York, Kodansha America, Inc. 1997.
•Mih, Miriam. Safari: A Short Travelogue of Martin and Osa Johnson. Chanute, KN, 1961.
•Weatherford, Doris. American Women During World War II: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Christina Holden’s Grande Hunt

Turkey hunting normally doesn’t come easy to me, but on a hunt this weekend in South Texas I scored on a big Rio Grande gobbler an hour after setting up on the first day. The bird weighed almost 20 lbs, had 1 inch spurs and a 10 1/2 inch beard. This gobbler makes number three of the four subspecies in the U.S. for me and my goal now is to collect the Osceola which inhabits Florida exclusively. Since the Florida turkey season is winding down now that bird will be on the top of my hunting list to complete my Grand Slam in 2012.

Meet Marissa Oaks…Prois Extreme Huntress Finalist!

Prois Hunting Apparel is excited to announce our second featured Extreme Huntress Finalist! Despite the fact that there can only be one announced winner to the Prois Extreme Huntress contest, the stories of the top 10 finalists were all simply amazing. We felt that each of these finalists deserves a moment in the spotlight.

Meet Marissa Oaks…this is her story.

“Whether it’s a long days work in the saddle or in the freezing rain waiting for that trophy animal to show, the passion I have for the outdoors consumes me. Growing up on a cattle ranch, which is now in its 5th generation, hunting was instilled in us. My brothers and I were taught the importance of wildlife management. Having the responsibilities of being a part of a successful ranch, habitat and conservation are not taken lightly. We have put countless hours into the improvement and conservation of our public lands. We have used the tools of modern grazing techniques to enrich the landscape. Along with my father, Mitch Hacking and uncle Brad Horrocks, we have put together an organization called “Grazing for Wildlife”. Giving information on how proper grazing techniques are a vital tool to habitat for wildlife as a whole. I believe being part of your local sportsmen groups and taking the time to know the issues going on locally with wildlife concerns is every sportsman’s responsibility. Management of ALL species is key to successful and healthy wildlife. I am involved in many proactive sportsman’s groups such as Sportsmen for Wildlife and Big Game Forever. If we don’t get involved there will be no future hunting for our children. Hunting is a privilege not a right!

As for me, I took great pride in my rabbits, prairie dogs, and rock chucks as a kid, but when I tagged my cow elk at age 14 hunting ran through my veins. Spot and stalks to blinds and water holes and the rush of adrenaline when that animal shows is second to none. My .243 Browning was my pride and joy until my hubby literately forced me to pick up a bow and try it. Archery has put a whole new spin on the hunting experience. When I killed my first animal with a bow my respect for wildlife came to a peak. Blending in to the surroundings, controlling your body to allow that animal to be drawn in to a close distance, and focusing in on placing your shot is as much of an addiction as tagging that record book animal. I was spoiled for my first bow kill. With my husband, Beau’de, calling behind me, the screaming bull was heading my way in a hurry. With all the new scenario’s of bow hunting vs. rifle, my head was spinning. 20 yds away and beautiful broadside shot, I let that arrow fly, hitting its mark and bringing me my first archery kill…a beautiful 5 point general season Utah elk. Having that feeling of accomplishment was as if I had just killed that coveted 400+ bull. Hunting in the great state of Utah has given me the privilege of harvesting antelope, bear, deer, elk, and turkey. I have been VERY fortunate to take animals in other states but my pride and joy is the mountain caribou I tagged in the Northwest Territories Canada.

I will admit I have had more than my fair share of what not to do’s . Those are the experiences that make every hunt a learning process. Like the time I slept on the cold ridge top so I could be in that perfect spot come morning. Settling into the trail just as the sun peaked the elk were heading my way. Lets just say, it’s really hard to knock an arrow when you have none. Without realizing my entire quiver had come off and was somewhere between point A and point B with hundreds of sagebrush in between. BUMMER! Or the time when I took my three amazing children all under age 6 deer hunting. We spotted a nice general season 2 point and they were excited. I told them to stay on the four wheeler and watch mom put a stalk on the buck. I mentioned several times no talking or the deer would spook. “Okay mom” they softly whispered. I had a great opportunity with this buck as tall sarvis berry bushes were between him and I. Peaking around the bush to get a amazing 30 yd shot I hear. “MOM!!! Daegun’s not being quite!” yep the gig was up. Even learning the hard way that when you lay on the ground, flat on your back, flat on your back, to make a good shot on the bear who has found the tallest tree to tree in, the recoil of that 30.06 has nowhere to go! Ouch! I will just say there have been many more “live and learn” moments.

While we were growing up, my dad always said that seeing his kids fill their tags was the same excitement as if he had tagged out himself. I always thought that he was crazy watching someone else take the shot. For the first time, this past October, I found out exactly what he was talking about. I had the opportunity to take out my trusty .243 and teach my mom how to use it. She drew out for the Utah limited entry deer, South Slope Diamond Mountain . With a couple days of target practice she was comfortable with the gun. Few days into the hunt and making her turn down some amazing deer my brother JD called saying he had him spotted in the cove next to us. Her heart was pounding so hard I could hear it. We put a stalk on him over the ridge. With spectators watching from down below, she set up for the shot. As she tried to breathe through the nerves and shaky hands she touched ol’ Browning off. 200 yds and a beautiful heart shot she had her first animal. And talk about a trophy! He measured at 30 wide and scored around 175 gross. Her father was one of the spectators and was there to witness this with us. Tears in his eyes he told her how proud of her he was. With all the excitement I felt as if I had tagged him. I was so proud of her and I can wait to experience that with my children.

Raising three awesome kids Daegun 11, Hayden 8, and Thailer 8, loving life on a ranch, and being able to enjoy the privilege of hunting, life is good! I love to see my children learn as I did why we hunt, management being first and foremost and hoping to someday to tag that trophy with never ending inches of horn as an incredible bonus. I hope my children grow with the knowledge of respect of the animals they hunt, rather it be cow or bull, big or small, that knowledge and respect will be key to insuring their kids have the same opportunity! Happy hunting!”

Barb Baird … Prois’s .50 Cal Gopher Gal

Badass Barb, Photo by Jason Baird

I am married to a guy they call Dr. Bomb. He does ballistic testing and gets to shoot a .50 cal at armor, steel plates, concrete, etc. Sometimes, he puts down the .50 cal and blows stuff up, because he’s also an explosives engineer. And, oh yeah, he is also a pyro-technician, which means he can put on a great fireworks show if he wants to …

Recently, he ran some tests on various steel plates for a company that is in the design phase for barricades. And, I went along as the gopher girl. That meant I got to drive the tractor to the test range and drop off stuff, help load up plates on the shooting table, install a new shooting bench, carry the camera and hide behind a tree when Dr. B. pulled the trigger (remotely and while he stood behind another tree) at the range. I like my Prois hat and hoodie for days like that … hard work, temperature in the high 50s, perfect spring weather in the Ozarks, standing behind trees waiting to hear BOOM.

Oh, and I shot the .50 for the first time. But, I had an audience of three construction guys, who also got to shoot the gun — for fun.

Dr. Bomb: “Barb, come on over here if you want to shoot this thing.”

Me: “OK!”

Guys: Snicker.

Dr. Bomb hands me a huge cartridge, the length of the palm of my hand … and the gun, which is VERY heavy. A Serbu.

Dr. Bomb: “Here ya go.”

Guys: Snicker

Load, Slam Bolt … Hard sounds … Look through scope … Aim at berm about 125 yards away.

Me: “I think I’ll shoot at that old toilet seat down there.” (Oh Lord, what have I just committed to? All the construction guys shot at dirt and rock piles down there, and I’m trying to pick off a toilet seat? And, they’re all standing behind me. Glad my Prois sweatshirt is long enough to cover most of my butt.)

Guys: Snicker

Me: Position, Grip, Breath control, Sight Alignment, Trigger Squeeeezzeee, Follow through. A bunch of white chunks blow up at the spot of the toilet seat.

Guys: Wow. No snickers.

And then, they wanted to shoot at what was left of the toilet seat.

Me: (Silent prayer: “Thank you, Jesus.”)

Photo by Jason Baird AKA Dr. Bomb

Prois Woman of the Week, Annie Smith Peck ( 1850 – 1935 )

Last week we were on a ladies hog hunt in Oklahoma and were unable to post the Prois Woman of the Week. To make up for lost time we picked an amazing woman for this week’s selection. Annie Smith Peck climbed to heights that no woman had reached before, literally! Annie Smith Peck was a scholar, an author, woman’s suffragist, and a world renowned mountain climber. The following excerpt is quoted directly from Thank you for reading about this amazing woman who was a pioneer for women in a relatively new and extremely challenging and dangerous sport.

“Mountain climber, author. Born on October 19, 1850, in Providence, Rhode Island. Annie Peck Smith set many records during her career as a mountain climber, including the highest climb in the Americas in 1908. Some sources also credit her as the first woman to climb the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps.

After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Greek at the University of Michigan, Annie Peck Smith worked for a time as a teacher. She went to Europe in 1884 to study in Germany. The next year Smith became the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. At first, she tried supporting herself by lecturing on Greek archaeology, but found that audiences were more interested in her hobby—mountain climbing. The sport was still relatively new and there were few female climbers. It was also incredibly dangerous as there were no oxygen tanks or other supportive equipment to help climbers at high altitudes.

After climbing the Matterhorn in 1895, Annie Smith Peck continued to seek new challenges, especially in the mountains in the Americas. She tackled Mexico’s Mount Orizaba in 1897, setting the women’s altitude record at that time. Wanting to reach heights higher than anyone else—male or female—had done before, Peck tried several times to climb Mount Illampu in Bolivia. Despite this setback, she tried to reach her goal by climbing Mount Huascarán in Peru. Peck was victorious on her second attempt in 1908. Having reached a height of 21, 812 feet, she set the record for the highest climb in the Western Hemisphere at the age of 58. For her amazing feat, the peak she scaled was named Cumbre Aña Peck in her honor.

Annie Smith Peck wrote about her adventures in the 1911 book A Search for the Apex of America. She continued to climb and seek out new challenges. A dedicated supporter of a woman’s right to vote, Peck hung a “Votes for Women” banner on Mount Coropuna in Peru. Also an avid traveler, Annie Smith Peck wrote several guide books about South America. Around 1929, she set out on a new challenge, exploring South America using commercial airline flights, a feat she wrote about in Flying Over South America: Twenty Thousand Miles by Air (1932).

Annie Smith Peck died in New York City on July 18, 1935. Shortly before her death, she had been doing what she loved best—climbing the Acropolis in Athens. Peck is remembered for her adventurous spirit and determination, forging in new ground for women in a new sport.”

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