Captain Leslie Smith
Relatively new to hunting, U.S. Army Captain Leslie Smith (Ret.) has been successful despite tremendous challenges. While serving in Bosnia, Leslie fell ill and was sent back to the United States. Suffering from a rare blood disorder, she had her left leg amputated below the knee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She also lost vision in her left eye and much of her right eye. Leslie was hospitalized for seven long months. In 2010 Leslie was invited on a hunt in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, for injured female veterans hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. During the hunt, filmed for American Outdoorsman on Outdoor Channel, Leslie took a gorgeous bull elk with one shot. This led to a turkey hunt in Mississippi, filmed for Mississippi Outdoors. Despite coping with recent additional vision loss in her right eye, Leslie shot a beautiful tom. Working in public speaking, public relations, and writing, Leslie is a talented speaker and an unstoppable, dedicated advocate for injured female veterans. She serves as soldier/spokeswoman for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial being built in Washington, D.C. She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for wounded veterans. Since her injury, Leslie has worked on President Bush’s Wounded Warrior Commission in 2007, and spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign. Throughout all these experiences, her service dog Isaac has been by her side. Leslie is a well-educated, motivated, and extremely inspirational lady.  
Tracey Splechter
Tracey is vice-president for operations at Outdoor Connection (, a hunting and fishing travel service she has helped run since 1999. She lives in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Tracey loves fishing, sporting clays, and hunting. She has fished for marlin in Hawaii, for salmon on Lake Michigan, and for multiple gamefish in Florida. Her first turkey hunt got her hooked on hunting. She has hunted hogs in Oklahoma, and took her first whitetail in Saskatchewan. She also enjoys deer hunting in her home state of Kansas. Tracey’s passion is to get more women involved in the great outdoors.  
Britney Starr
Owner of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, Britney Starr is a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Britney graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Michigan University and when she is not helping her clients achieve their dream of hunting in Africa, she enjoys writing about her hunting and shooting experiences. Britney is currently the associate editor at The Women’s Outdoor News where she also pens the blog ‘ShootingStarr’. A member of numerous outdoor based organizations, Britney truly has an affinity for all things hunting and strives to connect with and empower other women that share her passion or are interested in becoming more involved in the outdoors.  
Gretchen Steele
Gretchen Steele of Coulterville, IL owns and operates Steele Photo Services. Gretchen is Southern Illinois native and has been traversing the wild spaces of Illinois since her childhood. Following a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2000, and facing the accompanying disability, she retired as Public Health Nurse in 2003 to pursue her passion of outdoor and wildlife photography full time. Her award winning work has been featured in many outdoor media outlets, and has been exhibited in various venues across the nation, including multiple IL DNR publications and campaigns. A lifetime of wild crafting and wild foraging has made Gretchen a well respected authority on Illinois and Midwestern edible and medicinal wild plants and fungi. As a self proclaimed “River Rat” Gretchen is an avid waterfowler, bowfisher, and angler. Gretchen is a strong advocate for women in the outdoors and the healing and healthful properties of regular exposure to nature. She regularly assist’s other disabled persons in discovering the therapeutic benefits of outdoor activities, as well as serving as mentor for youth waterfowl hunts. Gretchen is Pro Staff and house photographer for Southern Illinois Outdoors, DownRiverOutdoors, Silver Creek Kennels and Hunt Club, Retrievers Unlimited HRC, and Muddy River Shooting Preserve. Gretchen pens regular columns for Heartland Outdoors, Bow Adventures, Women’s Outdoors News as well as two outdoor related blogs; Through the Lens and Walkin’ With the Wild Woman. Gretchen is an active member of Delta Waterfowl, Retrievers Unlimited HRC, Illinois Bowfishers, Bowfishing Association of Southern Illinois, The Pink Whistle Society, and the Professional Outdoor Media Association. Her photography can be seen at  
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