It’s so quiet that all I can hear is the sound of my heavy breathing as I make my way deep into elk country. No wait, I think to myself, I hear a noise. It’s a low grumbling. It gets a little louder, and a little louder still. Then, all of a sudden I hear a squishy, explosion sound followed by a pungent smell. I look down and see the top of my 6 month old’s head. She’s dangling from a front pack and yep, full diaper. The grumbling noises are followed by a happy squeal and then some random babbling. For a minute there I almost felt as if I was sneaking through the woods.

There’s one month until the start of archery elk season in Colorado and I’m doing some scouting. I have been hunting these woods now for over 20 years and my dad before me and we know these woods like the back of our hands. We also know that there are elk in here. My scouting this year is more focused because I now have a baby who requires much of my time and I’ll likely be taking her with me for some of the hunts as my husband will be working during season and the grandparents are out of town. Plus, it’s what we do. We’ve always hunted as a family and I see no need to stop now that I have a family of my own.

I do realize that my strategy for this coming archery season needs to change this year. I used to be in incredible shape and put in miles from sun up until sun down and I could run from one canyon to the next after a bugling elk. But this year I’ll be packing a 7 month old and she’s not only heavy, but not exactly sneaky, stalking material. My normal strategy of spot and stalk may have to change.

Today I’m putting up some game cams deep in the woods to check for some patterns that may make hunting with a baby easier. As I’m walking a long I can’t help but picture myself sneaking up on a nice bull while he’s raking his horns on a tree, unaware of my presence…. that is until the baby on my back squeals with joy at the site of a large animal and waves her arms in the air. Yep, that’s how I envision it. And I got a reassuring message from Kirstie Pike, CEO of Prois when I told her I’d be hunting with my daughter. “LMAO! Some of my worst hunting experiences were with my kids!!! Way to land on your feet!”. I’m not quite sure I’ve landed on my feet, but more likely my head.

So, my expectations are a little different than years past, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my best effort. I’m an experienced hunter, so I’ll take what I know and try to make the best plan possible, and when that doesn’t work I’ll improvise the best I can.


My plan:

Scout some good locations for some ground blinds, where my daughter and I can sit and wait for an unsuspecting elk to walk by. The ground blind will be equipped with a camouflaged baby tent where Tiegan (my daughter) can move around and play without being seen. It’ll also double as a diaper changing station. Sit, patiently (or not so patiently), in ground blind while the sounds of baby babbling and the smell of dirty diapers fills the air. J


I consider my plan to be flawless. (insert sarcasm) But all it takes is one elk to walk by, right?

Plan B: Spot and Stalk and elk with a babbling, constantly moving baby on my back.

Again, another flawless plan….


Or so we’ll see.


Two weeks later….

Today Tiegan and I checked one of our cameras deep in the woods on this ridge next to an avalanche chute. She babbled and chewed on my finger most of the way there. It was a great day, with no clouds in sight and a crisp feel to the air, which made it feel like fall was on the way. We climbed the long logging road up to the top of the ridge, cut back into the deep woods, across two avalanche chutes and up to a high ridge. I set up her tent and she played a bit while I got the card out of the camera and set it back up. Just after noon, we were still on top of the ridge. I was feeding Tiegan a bottle and looked across to the other side of the avalanche chute and out walks 2 bulls and a couple of cows. Great! I think to myself, this ought to be a good test. We had to walk/sneak back past them to get to the truck, so I would be able to see how sneaky we could be. I pack up the tent and all our gear and get her in the pack and cut across the chute several hundred yards below the elk.

We (I) quietly move across the trees. I keep Tiegan distracted with a chew toy. We make it to within a hundred yards below the feeding elk. Not even remotely close to being within bow range, but I’m not interested in spooking them, or at least I hadn’t planned on it. As we get to the edge of the trees along the chute. Tiegan cuts loose with some babbling. I look up to where the elk are and sure enough they’ve zeroed in on our location. Luckily the wind is good and they just stare, trying to make sense of the moving thing on my back. Before they figure it out I slip into the trees and head back towards the truck.

This will definitely be an adventure, a difficult one.

This year I’ve put up some game cameras in my usual hunting spots way back in the backcountry. I’ve never used game cameras for scouting before. I’ve always just used them to check out the deer, skunks, raccoon, mountain lions and bears that roam through our property outside of town. And I’m horrible at placing the game cameras too as these are the type of pictures I get….

cowelkIsn’t she cute…


Yeah…the horns from this guy block the entire head of the bull in the water. Just my luck…


The only 2 photos I got of these bulls. I never get a look at the far one and the closer one you only see a teasing bit of his nose and brow tines….

I’ve gotten a few other decent pictures too…..


But mostly it’s just nice seeing elk and it gives me an idea as to their patterns and what time of day they are moving. This is important because I’ll likely be spending a lot of time in a ground blind. I’ve never hunted from a ground blind or a tree stand before. I’ve never able to sit still for long enough. So, this will be new experience on many different levels for me. This ground blind won’t be your typical blind as it will be complete with a baby tent and a diaper changing station. The tent’s purpose is so that she can move around and play and not be seen by large animals with great eye sight. I’ll cover it with a camo netting.


I’ve been packing the tent with me on our scouting trips and she loves it. It’s great to keep her out of the rain and bugs and gives my shoulders and back much needed rest every couple of hours. Another thing I’ve been doing is practicing a call around her so that she’s used to the noise. She makes a pretty good cow call/squeal, so there’s an added bonus. I’ve also practiced shooting my bow while she’s in the pack on my back. She get’s super excited at the sound of the arrows hitting the target and squeals with joy every time the arrow flies. Yeah, this is going to be an interesting season for sure.

I’ve also been going through some of the things I’ll be packing this season that I normally wouldn’t. Here’s my list so far…



Air-tight Ziploc bags for dirty diapers (to hopefully keep the smell at bay)

Baby Tent

Bottles of milk & baby food

A small toy or two

Extra clothes/layers for the baby


As far as failures & successes go, there is always an adventure and this one will likely not disappoint. So, here’s to family tradition, and keeping a sense of humor about all things….

-Tracy Barnes

Take Your Pup for a Walk on the Wild Side

by Beth Ann Amico

beth ann john

 With over two hundred million nasal olfactory receptors, a dog’s nose has a sense of smell that’s thousands of times better than a human’s. It’s a highly refined sense inherited from its Canidea ancestors. So pity the poor pup that spends the majority of its time in one of the most sterile environments – the backyard. Dogs destined for careers in the hunting field can benefit greatly from early introductions to “sweet dirt” – areas most ripe with nature’s aromas. Taking nature walks with your young dog also serves as an excellent way to further its socialization, allowing it to become even more at ease with the world. Most importantly, it’s the first step towards developing a pup that actively hunts game in an efficient manner.

The Nose Knows

At birth, a pup’s nerve system is still incomplete – it cannot hear or see and it lacks the ability to regulate its own body temperature. For the first two weeks of its life, its only real contact with the environment is afforded by its developing sense of smell and touch, enabling it to seek out the warmth of its mother and her supply of milk. The instinctive action of crawling towards and finding nourishment is also a pup’s first experience of “positive reinforcement” – a principle fundamental to its life-long learning process.

By the time a pup is ten weeks old, it should be acclimated to its home and the human routine. You should now begin expanding its world and introduce it to the hunting field. But no matter the age or breed of your sporting pup, the curriculum sequence remains the same.

Location, Location, Location

Successful hunters understand the importance of pre-scouting an area before the hunt and the same concept should be applied prior to outings with your canine partner. Since your goal is to develop your budding hunter’s ability to use its nose, choosing the most stimulating scenarios is paramount. While cattle pastures may offer more olfactory opportunities than the average neighborhood park, agricultural and remote undeveloped areas are an even better choice. Look for sites with varying terrain so the pup will learn to negotiate multiple changes of cover. Tip: Match the size of the cover to the size of the dog. A pup faced with overbearing obstacles tends to stay too close to the handler and not strike up a hunt.

Keep your dog’s safety and physical well-being in mind also. Check for unexpected drop-offs, swift water or other hazards. If your pup hasn’t been exposed to swimming yet, your ideal location may include a shallow pond with a graduated water entry. Tip: Avoid ponds with scummy or stagnant water as they may harbor toxic cyanobacteria or distemper.

Prepped for Adventure

Now that you’ve chosen some suitable areas and gotten the landowner’s permission, you’re ready for your adventure, right? Not so fast. A few key items will help make your outing even more enjoyable for you and your dog:

  1. Drinking water: Be sure to pack an extra bottle or two for your dog and start teaching it how to drink on cue. This will come in handy in a lot of situations.
  2. Collar with identification: A sturdy buckle collar with an I.D. plate will help ensure your dog’s safe return if lost. Make sure the collar fits snug around the dog’s neck with room for just two fingers. Loose collars can easily come off or hang a dog in low-lying branches. Fluorescent colored or reflective collars help keep your dog easy to spot in high brush and at distances.
  3. Check cord: Fifteen foot 3/8 inch braided cotton rope with a brass swivel snap at one end and a knot in the other.
  4. First aid kit: Be ready to handle any minor injuries – EMT Gel is great for minor wounds and abrasions. Keep your vet’s number on your cell phone’s speed-dial.
  5. Flea and tick collars and other dermal treatments: Your dog should already be protected with age-appropriate pest preventatives and vaccinations. Bring home memories and experience, not tiny pests which can carry Lyme disease.
  6. Grooming kit: Brush out burrs and stickers before the ride home, especially on long-hair sporting breeds.
  7. Kennel Crate: Your pup may enjoy riding up front with you, but after a long day in the woods, your nose might appreciate a break from the smell of wet or dirty fur.

The Outdoor Classroom

Once you’ve arrived, unload your vehicle and prepare yourself before letting your pup out. Countless dogs have become lost or even worse while their owners’ backs were turned, so play it safe and release your dog only when you can give it your full attention. Tip: Don’t give in to an excited pup’s pawing and whining to be let out. Teach it that only sitting quietly will result in its release – vocalizing will get it nothing.

The next step is the easiest – walk with the pup and let it explore. Let your pup set the pace, but keep it moving with you. If it seems to dawdle too long over some varmint smell, move it along with a verbal cue “hup” (which means “come around”) and walk off in the opposite direction. Keep unnecessary chatter to a minimum so as not to distract the pup away from its work.

When an older or “big running” pup starts paying more attention to its nose than you, let it start dragging the check cord attached to the “D” ring on its collar. A simple step on the end of the cord with a “hup” cue and quick movement away will remind the dog to hunt with you.

As you take your pup on these walks, you will see its instinct to hunt grow. It’s now time to teach pup what to hunt and how to find it.

Happy Trails

Here’s the first exercise to introduce your pup to hunting birds – learning to trail scent. Slice up a hot dog in ¼ inch pieces. Feed a couple to your pup so that it’s familiar with the smell and wants more. Put your pup up for a minute (just so it’s not able to see you) and lay a straight trail ten feet long with slices every foot. The trail should be laid in short grass, into the wind so that the scent of each successive hotdog is blown back in the pup’s face. This layout helps the beginner pup follow the progression of the trail.

Bring the pup to the downwind end of the trail, point at the first slice and cue pup with a word or phrase to begin hunting. “Hunt ‘em up” or “birds in here” are typical verbal cues. Moving down the line, help your pup stay focused by pointing your finger and repeating the verbal cue at each upcoming slice.

When the pup becomes proficient at finding the hotdogs on the verbal cue alone, reverse the trail’s head to upwind. Now the pup has to follow the trail on its own – there’s no wind to help it. Repeat these trailing lines in various locations so that the pup starts to generalize the task of trailing on cue.

The next step of the exercise is to teach the pup to trail birds, transitioning the “prey” from hotdogs to bird scent. Most sporting breed pups are exposed to live birds at an early age to make sure that they revel in the smell, sight and taste of their ultimate prey. If your pup has not been exposed to birds, use a clipped wing pigeon as an introduction. Flip the pigeon across the ground and let the pup go after it. As with the hotdogs, proceed only after your pup has had a taste or two and enjoys chasing it.

Now establish a bird trail by making a drag pole with a four foot stick and equivalent length of string tied to the end. Tether the bird’s feet to the free end of the string. Pick a few feathers from the bird’s rump and place them at the head of your trail. Drag the bird from this point ten or fifteen yards downwind through moderate cover and hide the tethered bird at the desired end. Wear rubber boots and avoid touching surrounding cover with the bird to avoid laying false trails. Bring the pup to the head of the trail and use your verbal cue to hunt.

Once your pup masters straight line trails, add a right angle to the mix. Drag the first leg of your trail into a crosswind, then turn downwind 90 degrees to an end point (your trail will resemble an “L”). This set-up will teach the pup about the strength of scent, how to recover from its loss and follow it to its conclusion.

Quarter Master

So far, you have taught your pup how to find and follow scent to a bird. Your pup is now ready to be taught the next skill – quartering to the gun.

As in your previous training, location is vitally important. Select a long field at least one hundred yards in length with moderate cover, approximately 40 yards across. The orientation of the field should be set to the prevailing wind. The lateral edges should be well defined with heavy cover, i.e. trees, thick brush, high weeds, etc. To set up the field, you’ll need 5 pigeons, each in its own mesh sack (onion sacks are ideal). Proceed into the wind and place the birds just inside the perimeter in a zig-zag pattern, spacing the birds approximately twenty yards apart. This distance will condition the pup to hunt within reasonable gun range.

Bring your pup to the center of the field and walk into the wind towards the first bird, coaxing the pup to follow along. Let the dog find the bird. Praise your pup, set the sack back in place and move diagonally across the field towards the next bird until you’ve worked your way through the pattern at the end of the field. What you will observe is that after a day or two of this exercise, the pup will start running towards the remembered bird locations. When you see this behavior, remove the second and fifth birds and run the pattern again. When the pup doesn’t find a bird at the second location, “hup” him towards the third and so on. This strengthens the dog’s understanding of the quartering pattern and reinforces the meaning of the word “hup”.

Once the pup is running freely to the birds, change your walking pattern and simply move up the middle of the field in a straight line. The dog should start to quarter in front of you looking for the birds. Move to different locations with similar terrain features when the dog masters this scenario. Tip: Each time you change location, remove different birds from the pattern so that the pup always has to hunt. This technique will cause the dog to better conceptualize the task of quartering.

These lessons of discovery will develop a confident hunting partner that knows how to trail wounded game and actively seeks it in an efficient pattern within gun range. Your pup’s first hunts will be much more productive because you introduced it to the wild side.






by Kerry Howley, New York Magazine

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.34.35 PM PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Shoul


In an age of social-media shaming, a single tweet can launch a crusade. But maybe Ricky Gervais should have picked another woman to mess with.

Note: The July 27 issue of New York Magazine, in which this story originally appeared, went to press on Friday July 24, three days before American dentist Walter Palmer was identified as the killer of a lion in Zimbabwe.

Palmer’s case and that of Rebecca Francis are both stories of social media outrage spurred by the killing of an African animal for sport, though the two hunters came to public consciousness for different reasons. While it is not at all unusual for wealthy American men to travel to Africa, hunt big game for big money, and post pictures of their kills, the lion Palmer shot was known to some as a mascot for Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park and star of a widely disseminated video. Additionally, Cecil seems to have been lured off protected land, making Palmer, knowingly or otherwise, not a legal hunter, but a poacher. 

Rebecca Francis drew attention not only because of what she had killed, but for who she was: a woman, subject to the same outrage as several who had come before her, such as Kendall Jones, Melissa Bachman, and Jen Cordaro. There was never any question about the legality of Francis’s hunts. Trophy hunters have a bad habit of conflating the legal and the moral (“I hunt. It’s legal. Get over it,” read T-shirts American college student Kendall Jones printed up after she was criticized for killing an African lion.) But there are important distinctions between legal hunting—which exists within a system of regulatory control, wherein permits can be meted out or held back according to the rise and fall populations, and wherein the financial interests of game ranchers is tied to the furtherance of the species—and poaching. Poachers are free riders and indisputably a threat to the long-term survival of large mammals in Africa. That Francis herself has shot a lion under legal sanction does not morally justify the kill, but it does position her within a system of trade that depends, for its own survival, on the conservation of big game. The story of legal trophy hunting involves the comeback of various species in South Africa, the conservation of rare and expensive-to-maintain animals under attack from poachers, mutant animals designed for the evolving tastes of American and European hunters, and the development of the legal market that led to Cecil’s illegal death. It is a story more complex, and ultimately uncomfortable, than the simple savagery of poaching.

Asked about her opinion of Palmer, Rebecca Francis had this to say: “A true hunter will always abide by the laws of the lands, along with the moral laws that are instilled within. Hunters believe in ethical and fair-chase hunting. We unequivocally do not support poaching or any other illegal acts.” —K.H.





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Update from Prois Pro-Staffers Tracy and Lanny Barnes!

TracyLanny1Tracy and I just finished a 3 week 3-gun road trip covering competing in Nevada, Utah, and Alabama. The first one was USPSA Multi-gun Nationals, the second was the Lady 3-gun, and the last was the 3-gun Nation Southern Regional Qualifier. We have one more local 3-gun this weekend then we will have a few weeks of training before we head to the Sportsman Team Challenge in Raton, NM on the last weekend in May. It was my first time competing in the USPSA Multi Gun Nationals in Vegas. I had a heard a lot of horror stories about the sand causing firearms failures. All of my guns ran smoothly and I felt like I had really improved from the competitions this winter and 11 out of the 12 stages when really well. I ended up 4th amongst the women but was encouraged that with a few less penalties and a little more experience ITracyLanny2 will be able to move up next year. Tracy unfortunately didn’t get to compete in this one because her little one caught a cold, but competed in the next two. The second competition was the Lady 3-gun in St. George, UT. This was our second time competing in the Lady 3-gun and we were hoping to improve on our results last year. The stages were a lot more complicated that they were last year, which was a challenge that we were happy to see. A majority of stages had multiple options to shoot targets with different firearms. It was a great learning experience for us to test our skills at stage planning and initiation. We both learned that we have some more work to do in stage planning, but both were happy with how we executed our plans even if we haven’t gotten the experience yet that we need to know how to plan out stages better. I (Lanny) finished 8th and Tracy was 14th. It was a improvement from last years 12th and 16th places. Our final competition was in Hoover, Alabama. It was a 3-gun Nation Southern Regional Qualifier. It was our first time to Alabama and we encountered some pretty hot conditions, but luckily most of the stages were in the shade. We both had a really TracyLanny4good match and things were finally starting to come together to make for some good solid stages. I was able to have 5 of the 8 stages clean without penalties and ended up 3rd woman overall and Tracy had a few more penalties and ended up 9th woman. We have definitely made some huge improvement from last year and are gTracyLanny14etting close to being done with our first year competing in 3-gun. Our first 3 gun competition was last year at the end of May so we are looking to put that rookie year behind us and start competing with the best. We have a lot of training planed in the next couple of weeks as well as the Sportsman Team Challenge at the end of the month. Also we made it into the magazine Modern Sporting Rifle again. There is an article about an elk hunt Tracy did in there. Check it out (picture attached). Let us know if there is anything we can do for you and thank you so much for your support! Have a great weekend.

-Lanny & TracyTracyLanny13

Successful Measures, Get Fit to Hunt the Prois Way!

By Prois Staffer April Mack

No, I’m not talking about the past elections.
How do you measure a successful hunt? Is it a monster buck or bull? Is it a successful harvest? Or is it time out hunting, with your family, friends or by yourself? Do you measure your success of a hunt by the equipment you use and the gear you have? Or simply time spent in nature soaking up God’s great creations? Me? I measure success of a hunt by my experiences…. Time with family, time with God and simply the God given ability to get out and do what I love. Oh, and then there is the success of being able to hunt without desperately gasping for air and bending to cling to my knees after climbing a hill. I’m talking about being in shape. Both mentally and physically, they go hand in hand. There is nothing more rewarding to me then to gracefully, quietly and easily make my way to the top of a mountain without feeling like I just went through military boot camp. Sure, it’s an ego boost as well when I look around and see all the guys sweating and huffing like draft horses pulling a 3000 pound sled.

All too often hunters get prepared for the upcoming hunting season by making sure they have their bow sighted in, have enough arrows and new broad heads along with checking equipment to make sure all gear is up to par. However, rarely do hunters take into consideration the physical preparation needed for the hunt. Being physically fit can be the difference of having an enjoyable hunt or a hunt that kicks your butt. We all know getting up early is part of the hunt. That alone is a hard task for some. But when you wake up the next day and your body is screaming for more rest because you are sore from the previous days hunt… What’s the fun in that? When you are in shape physically, the mental portion follows suit. It has been proven time over that physical activity (working out) improves mental clarity and relieves stress. You have enough on your mind when hunting such as spotting and stalking, calling, and concentrating on making that once in a life time shot. You shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not you can make it up the mountain without needing CPR!
So, with that being said I would like to offer some tips.

1) Set goals; start off small and work your way up. You will need to set both cardio and strength goals. A good goal to start for cardio is walking 2-3 times per week, walk up and down your driveway to get started. Slowly increase the distance by a couple miles at a time, pickup your pace and change terrain. In addition to walking, add biking to the mix. Make your routines fun, go for a hike in new territory, discover new places, or take up mountain biking. Whatever you decide to do, make it fun, make it your own, make it challenging (repelling anyone?)

2) You will need to be physically strong to not only carry all your gear around, but also to carry out your harvest. Hit the weights at least 3 times per week. Remember the smaller the starting goal, the longer the time needed to increase so don’t wait a month before the season to start getting active. You don’t have to be a gym rat to accomplish these goals; there are a lot of things around the house that you can use as weights. Get creative; fill a bucket up with sand! If you are up for the challenge, hire a personal trainer with specific needs in mind (hunting with a bow is exercise specific). Exercises to focus on for bow hunting specifically include: shoulders (front to side arm raises, arm circles, shrugs and lateral raises) upper and lower back (back extensions, seated lat row, reverse fly’s and reverse grip lat pull down) biceps (curls and pull ups) and core (oblique twists, reverse curls and good ‘ol fashion crunches). You of course want to balance out your muscles so don’t forget to throw in some chest presses and triceps pushups just for fun! In relation to the actual hunt and climbing mountains, your lower body needs to be just as strong if not more. Your tail end is one of the biggest muscles you got… work it! Lunges, squats (they don’t have to be in deep range of motion) and hamstring curls will all target the gluteus maximus, aka your tail end. Once you get started in your exercise regimen, you will need (and want!) to maintain your progress. It’s much easier to consistently exercise throughout the year then to be a one-month warrior. Schedule time in your day to workout. You may even have to book an appointment with yourself. Most importantly, be forgiving. If you miss a day or two or even a week, don’t be hard on yourself or ride the guilt train. Just pick up where you left off. Being strong enough to draw your bow back is an essential part to hunting, not only does it make it more enjoyable for you, but it isn’t fair to the game we have the privilege to hunt if the shot we make isn’t steady.

3) Of course getting physically fit involves proper nutrition (sorry, facts of life!) During the hunt (pack in/out intensity) you of course need higher caloric foods to sustain you. However, with day to day eating, your choices should be a little more carefully planned out. There is nothing new here and no magic pill. Fruits and veggies, balance your proteins and fats and include carbs into your foods. Now, when I say fats and carbs, I am not talking about ice cream, cookies, pizza, fast food joints and Ho Ho’s (although in moderation *gasp* it’s okay). Our bodies need fats and carbs to function, but it is the good kind. (Real butter, avocado, legumes, nuts, occasional red meats, cheeses etc). And of course water. Food has an amazing ability to heal the body; we just have to give it a chance. I challenge you to try it… even if it’s not hunting season for you. Make a commitment for at least one month. Cut out boxed, prepackaged and canned meals. Try to eat what grows naturally. When was the last time you saw a box of Hamburger Helper® growing off a tree? You don’t have to get crazy and go all organic, but I would suggest you stop eating foods that are processed and full of preservatives. Our bodies were not built to digest the chemicals in these foods. You give this challenge a try and you will be amazed at the changes your body makes.
On a side note to physical fitness and proper nutrition, I want to mention the importance of having mental strength and clarity. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, now that you have exercised and gotten fit, you can do anything… right? Confidence comes with knowing you can tackle the hunt, climb the hill and haul out your kill. Be patient, positive and prepared (do I hear a triple “P” cheer?). Patients, well… you’re a bow hunter it’s a given that is an essential tool. Positivity will get you a long way my friends, whether you are by yourself or with a hunting party. Have you ever been around “that” person that see’s the down side to everything or is constantly putting themselves down? I have and it’s not fun… Keep your attitude up; after all there are worse things you could be doing instead of getting out to do what you love. And finally, prepared. Being prepared is such an important mental factor. Having the right clothes for the weather, terrain and clothes that fit you properly (ladies – stop buying men’s camo clothes!) makes you feel, well, good. Being prepared to gut, wrap and pack your harvest with all the necessary tools leaves you without worry of how to get the job done. Being prepared with extra food and water helps with the long process involved after taking that fatal shot. To achieve all this, you have to be mentally strong. To be mentally strong you have to be healthy. To be healthy you have to be physically fit. Yes it’s tough to get started, but all things worth working for have great rewards.

Here’s to measured success!

Sample Workout:
Just because we are bow hunters doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have big guns!
You don’t have to be able to lift a car to draw back a bow… but you should be prepared!
Building up your strength for bow season doesn’t have to be hard. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week, with a day of rest in between should do the trick. You will want to do 3 or 4 sets of 16 reps and choose a weight that will allow you to have good form, but will challenge you to get out the last 5-6 reps. Lift the weights in slow controlled motions and avoid swinging your body for momentum to lift the weight. You will want to make sure you work both sides equally rather than focusing just on your draw arm… imbalances will cause compensation issues leading to muscle injury. No pain no gain is not always the case, listen to your body and learn the difference between muscle fatigue and muscle injury. Muscle soreness is normal when you get started on a lifting routine. Drink lots of water, stretch after your workouts and if the soreness is extreme, take the recommended dosage of Tylenol®. However do not let a little bit of soreness keep you from working out it will get easier as you get stronger. Then it will be time to increase your weights. To avoid plateaus, change up the types of exercises you do about every 4-5 weeks. If you can, find a workout partner, not only will they motivate you but they can keep you safe and spot you as you start to increase the amount of weight you lift.
So, here’s to big gun bow hunters everywhere!

The Best Medicine, by Prois Staffer Nancy Rodriguez


By Nancy Rodriguez

Cough, snort, wheeze! Cough, snort, wheeze! With every track my boots leave in the snow, I find myself using my very own custom call to locate my quarry. You may think I am somewhere in the Midwest hunting whitetail deer, but I am far from it. I’m actually high in the mountains of Nevada, hunting elk. My very own custom call is not tucked in my pocket or hanging around my neck. It’s in fact my body’s lungs and nose that are making these calls. My custom wheeze and cough are thanks to a bout of bronchitis and my custom snort is a congested nose caused by a sinus infection. Some might say I shouldn’t be out hunting right now. I should be home sitting by the fire with a humidifier plugged in, eating oranges. But, does that sound like something a Prois chick would do? No way! It’s elk season!


I continue to trudge through the golden grass and glistening snow covered mountains in search of the majestic wapiti. With my rifle slung over my shoulder and my backpack weighing me down, I glass every nook and cranny for the distinct tan colored body with the dark chocolate neck. As I slowly climb to a high vantage point, my nose is completely plugged and my lungs burn. I giggle to myself at the advice my doctor gave me right before we left for this hunting trip, “You need to take these antibiotics, use this inhaler, drink plenty of liquids, and above all rest!” He must have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, because obviously I didn’t comprehend a word he said. Prois chicks can be rebels after all!


With my heart pounding in my head, I am grateful to have finally made it to my vantage point. I drop my pack and plop on the ground. I endlessly hack into my Prois neck gaiter and realize it not only keeps my neck warm, but it also works as a great handkerchief. Through watery eyes, I glass the distant hillsides. Suddenly, out of extremely thin mountain air, I spot them. Unmistakable brown dots of bedded elk are scattered amongst the patches of snow. I spot about 40 of them and my blood starts coursing through my veins. Joe looks at me and asks, “Are you up for this? They’re pretty far away.” I blow my red rimmed nose and reply “Heck ya! That’s what we’re here for!” And so the stalk begins. The elk are a couple miles away, and I know this hike is going to be grueling for me. Up and down the massive ridges we go. Cough, snort, wheeze…Repeat! My body becomes weaker, but I trudge on. The mountain wind is becoming fickle and starts swirling about. I pray it doesn’t blow my stalk. As we start to get close enough for a shot, I grab my range finder to check the distance. My nose is so plugged; I feel claustrophobic. I bring a tissue to my face and realize I have snotcicles hanging from my nose. With these custom beauties, I am sure I could give Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber a run for his money! I giggle again at what I must look like right now. But, I have more important things at hand and I need to get a bit closer for a shot. As I start to close the distance, it happens. A huge gust of wind smacks me in the back and I know my funky human scent is about to alert the elk that something’s not right. Poof! They are up and off to the next ridge in the blink of an eye. Cough, snort, wheeeeeze!

That night we camp under the starry sky in below freezing temperatures. I have so many layers of fleece on that I can barely bend my arms and legs. My Prois Sherpa beanie is pulled down over my eyes and my neck gaiter is covering my mouth. With a Breathe Right strip over my red chapped nose, I shimmy down into my 3 sleeping bags. No joke…3! As I drift off into my Nyquil, Theraflu, and cough drop induced slumber, the elbowing begins. Joe is trying to stop his precious wife from turning into a mighty snoring Ogre, but he doesn’t have a chance against the cold medicine coma! The beast lying next to him is some sort of Michelin man fleece troll, wrapped up like a goose down burrito. A weird strip of plastic lies across her nose and grizzly bear size snores are coming out of her mouth. He stares at the fleece monster lying next to him and wonders where has his wife gone? He doesn’t have a spare room to move to, or a couch he can crash on in the living room. He is trapped next to the beast! It’s going to be a long night for him…poor guy.

The next day, I wake up feeling refreshed and well rested. I stretch, remove the plastic strip from my nose, and actually feel better than I have in days. I look at Joe who can hardly open his eyes and wonder if he slept okay? As I jump out of my burrito and throw on my head to toe Prois camo, I am ready to hunt! I stare at Joe as he peels open his eyes and looks at me. For some reason I don’t think he’s nearly as refreshed as I am. I resemble a happy dog anxiously waiting for their owner to grab the leash for their daily walk. If I could, I’d be wagging my tail with excitement! Come on, come on, let’s gooooo!!!!!

We get into elk over the next few days, but unfortunately I never connect. It really didn’t matter, because we had an awesome time climbing the mountains and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors. There is nothing better for your mind, body, spirit, and immune system than becoming one with nature. I have truly found the best medicine on the market…Hunting!

Katherine Grand’s First Turkey, Prois was There!!


After having the time of our lives this past fall at Double B Outfitters on our ladies Prois Whitetail hunt the crazy ladies of Prois once again descended on the sleepy and utterly unprepared town Ozona for another incredible hunt. This was by far my favorite guided hunt to date. My trusty guide Blake Osteen was happy to hike with me for miles daily in pursuit of thunder chickens. I enjoy an active spot and stalk style of hunting so Blake was the perfect match for me. He is an excellent caller and I learned so much about turkey hunting from him.


Prior to this hunt I had yet to bag a turkey although I had hunted the last 4 years although only for a weekend at a time and nowhere that had the density of birds that Double B Outfitters boasts. While hunting with Double B Outfitters I heard and saw more turkeys than I had in all my previous hunts combined. Furthermore my calling was enough to make the bravest Tom turn tail and run. Luckily I got a lot of practice calling in this hunt much to the chagrin of everyone trying to relax at the lodge. On future hunts I will be driven a least a mile out from the lodge before I am allowed to use a diaphragm call.

On the second day of the hunt we were hiking while Blake was calling periodically and suddenly we heard a gobble extremely close to us. We had to post up right where we were when we realized we were covered by two groups of Toms. One group was coming in from behind us and one group was on the hill above and in front of us. We dropped down to a seated position, Blake handed me a shooting stick, and I got in the best position I could given the circumstances. Suddenly I saw the colorful heads of two different Toms on the hill and began to shake and breathe hard in my excitement. I started to draw up my shotgun but Blake whispered words of reassurance and told me to stay still and wait as he couldn’t see the birds well enough yet. The Toms were milling about and gobbling behind some brush and an occasional glimpse of their bright blue, red, and white heads was all I could see. The group that was coming in from behind us gobbled loudly and was converging on us at that same time. Blake spotted a good Tom and my opportunity for a shot and told me to shoot when I was ready. I drew up as my heart was beating a million miles an hour and shot. Blake told me I missed as three Toms from the group that approached behind us took flight over my left shoulder. Without thinking I swung, shot, and dropped a Tom mid-flight. I couldn’t believe it as I saw the Tom I shot at drop from the air like a ton of bricks. I leapt up with shot gun in hand and ran to the Tom lying on the ground. Blake approached the scene and was excitedly laughing and grinning ear to ear at my shot and frenzied run up to my Tom.


Instinct took over for my last shot and I could not believe that I had my first Tom on the ground. The flood of emotions including elation, gratitude, and excitement I felt in that moment was overwhelming. It was such and incredible hunt. Blake had never guided someone that had shot a turkey in the air and was so excited for me and surprised that I had turned and shot at the flying birds before he had a chance to say anything to me. He was still looking toward the bird I had shot at to make sure it was a clear miss when he turned as I shot and saw my Tom falling from the air.


Although the Tom I shot was smaller than the first bird I missed, I wouldn’t change a moment. That hunt built my confidence and I was much calmer when I shot my second Tom, an older Tom that was later nicknamed Rocky as he was a fighter and was missing tail feathers and his wings were all beat up from strutting and fighting. That was a more ideal scenario where I was posted up in a good spot and the Toms came in right where we expected them to.


Not only was the hunting incredible at Double B Outfitters but the group of ladies that attended were fantastic. We laughed until our sides ached, and shared many delicious meals at the lodge lovingly prepared by Kendra and Linda. The lodge was comfortable and well appointed, the weather was perfect, and a fantastic time was had by all. The guides were superb and we made memories together that will last a lifetime. We cannot wait to go back there for our next Prois and Double B Outfitters hunt in Ozona TX.