Megan DeHaan’s Gorgeous Non-Typical Archery Buck!!

By Prois Hunt Staffer Megan DeHaan

 

Who woulda thunk….. A few days after I send in my Prois Award entry with a story about this buck I haven’t arrowed yet…..I GOT HIM!!

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I had pictures of this buck in our game camera several times before season. I had him patterned, everything was good to go. My husband even saw him opening day and passed knowing that I really wanted to shoot him. The next day I saw him but he never gave me an opportunity to shoot. There was either a tree in front of his vitals or he was quartering too me. I kept trying and after that day he vanished and I thought he would never show up. I went out several times and never found him again, until last night! I can thank my son, who as I left gave me a sticker to wear and said it was good luck. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had a nice four point come in and I was going to set up to shoot and out of the corner of my eye MY BUCK!!!! My adrenaline was already pumping, I knew the deer were kinda jumpy that night so I didn’t hesitate, I drew back, he walked away a bit, stood behind some trees, it seemed to take forever but finally about a minute after I drew back, he stopped broadside. THWAP!! He jumped, ran to the middle of the field, started getting top-heavy, and stood there. I knew it was a good shot.  I waited and waited to make sure to give him time and it ended up getting too dark to see so I pulled out of there for safe measure. I went back about 30 minutes later and he went about 20 more yards and had died. I GOT HIM!!!!! I’m so elated. As you can see he has an extra split sort of main beam. He sticks out like a sore thumb, so unique I couldn’t pass him up! Thank you PROIS for such Badass camouflage!!!!!! He couldn’t see a thing!!!

Barnes Twins 3-Gunning it up!

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This past weekend concluded our three gun competitions for the summer with 4 weeks of competitions in a row. We have learned a lot about the sport of 3 gun in the past month (mostly through trial & error during matches) that will help us to improve in the future. We started out at the JP Rocky Mountain 3 gun in New Mexico (4th & 5th Tactical Lady, 43rd & 52nd Overal Tactical), then traveled to Bend, Oregon for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 gun, then it was on to the Brownells Rockcastle 3 gun ProAm in Kentucky (6th & 8th Lady, 126 & 131 Overal) and finally the Noveske Area 2 Championships in Byers, CO (4th & 5th Tac Lady, 32nd & 39th Tactical Overal). These were our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th major 3 gun matches and we saw huge gains with each match. At each match we improved our best stages ranking higher and higher towards the top of the pack and had more consistent stages as well as having fewer bad stages. We now have a week to train for the Trijocon World Shooting Championships that will be held in West Virginia. This fall we’ll head to the 3 Gun Nation Southwest Regional Championships in Texas in October followed by the Lady 3 gun match in Georgia at the end of October. We are confident that with some more training this fall we can continue to make huge gains in 3 gun.

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We also have a packed schedule of courses for the T.O.P Shooting Institute this fall and into the winter. We just finished 2 classes for competitive shooters in Colorado & Kentucky that were a huge success. This fall we have a slew of competitive shooting courses around Colorado, Utah, & New Mexico. We’ll also be starting to work with a bunch of military units out of Fort Carson, CO as well as FBI from California and special forces units from Georgia who will be coming to work with us in Durango.

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How Road Kill Rabbit Stew Led to My Western Elk Hunt Honeymoon…by 2013 Prois Award Finalist Sheri Coker

How Road Kill Rabbit Stew Led to My Western Elk Hunt Honeymoon…

Weddin' Worthy Rabbit Stew

My first, but certainly not my last Western hunting adventure had humble beginnings. I grew up hunting and fishing the hills of Arkansas.  As a child my dad stuck me on deer stands and put fishing rods in my hands until the outdoor passion became engrained in my weird, multifaceted personality.  I was told that every Southern woman worth her salt should be able to accurately shoot any weapon she was handed, skin any animal without a flinch, and back a boat on a dime.  I’m worth my salt. My undergraduate degree was in biology, but my master’s in dance, yes DANCE, so even today, I continue to priss through the woods, daintily leaping over logs and gingerly performing dance steps over the slippery rocks of rushing creeks to commandeer my game.

My 90 year old Grandma Hill would have target practice with a paper plate stuck in the top of an old cedar tree so that “When I want rabbit stew, I can just go out and get one!”  My boyfriend accidentally ran over a swamp rabbit one rainy night.  If you aren’t familiar with swamp rabbits, then let me tell you those rascals are like a cottontail on steroids!  The poor thing was expired but intact, so I suggested he pitch it in the back of his truck.  Once home, I proceeded to make the best road kill stew out of that rabbit that he had ever put in his sweet little mouth! After dating for over two years, THIS was the push over the top for the immediate marriage proposal.  Really?  If I’d known that was all it took, I might have frequented the back roads in search of those hippity hoppity creatures myself, screeching through the darkness, weaving to and fro at speeds not unlike Dale Earnheardt!  At any rate, in two months we were wed and bear hunting and halibut fishing on Prince William Sound, Alaska.  But that is a story for another day!

The second portion of our honeymoon, we decided, would be that elk hunt we had both dreamed of for years.  We planned.  We schemed.  We trained.  We contacted a good friend from Alaska who is wise in the “Elkin Way.”  He flew to Utah, where we drove 22 hours to meet him, continuing on to a section of public land in the backcountry of Idaho.  Folks, Idaho is a long way from Arkansas!  We loaded our supplies and headed up, up, and up to our chosen base camp location, from which we would hike twice daily for eleven days of hard, concentrated hunting.  We climbed about 2000 vertical feet per day, and at 5′ 2″ and about 115, I still lost 12 pounds.  Ladies, I discovered that elk hunting is a great way for a woman to stay in those “skinny jeans!”

On our first hunt, we excitedly hiked down to a canyon that cornered up to a section of private land.  Pointed out to us was the approximate whereabouts of an elusive fence line, beyond which we were not allowed to shoot an elk.  That very first crisp, cold morning, a group of handsome bulls came bounding out of the golden glow of aspens at the bottom of that canyon, and I thought my rifle would shake right out of my hands!  They put on a tremendous show, unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. However, they were at a distance and quite obviously on private land, so I raised up to get a better look.  When I did, I happened to see movement below, catching 13 cows waltzing down a trail right under me.  Not legal!  Oh well.  But what a first hunt!

Later that morning, out from the trees on the ridge across from us, 400 yards away, meandered a little spike bull.  I watched him.  I wondered.  I realized I had forgotten to discuss the efficacy of shooting a spike.  In whitetail hunting, where I come from, you get in trouble back at camp for shooting a spike and I did NOT want to be the one on the hot seat!  I’m a goody two shoes girl who implicitly follows the unspoken rules of the hunt!  So, I crunched on potato chips and crispy apples and made enough racket that I’m surprised it didn’t echo across the canyon and send that little spike into a run for his life.  I decided then and there that I was really gonna like elk hunting if I could consume enormous amounts of loud food while doing so.  I like to eat.  A lot.  At home, I would have sat motionless and starving, for fear the smell, noise or movement would’ve scared away my prey.  In the end, I chose not to take the spike, for fear of retribution back at the base camp.  Turns out I was wrong and they would’ve been thrilled for me to have harvested the meat.  Well, darn the luck.

My husband and I would be the first to leave camp and the last to return each day, but still no elk to haul back.  We continued to see elk, but all cows or bulls on private land.  Or were they?  Exactly where WAS that fence line?  I was looking pretty rough by the 10th day without washing my hair and my fourth day wearing the same ratty tee shirt.  It didn’t help my femininity that our host’s girlfriend was driven up to camp wearing her perfectly matching hi tech outdoor garb with her perfectly styled hair blowing in the wind, flashing her blindingly white teeth, while batting her doe-like false eyelashes and exclaiming, “Oh Baby, isn’t this fun?  It’s like we are really camping or something!”  I thought, “Oooooh, yes, “Baby,” it is SOMETHING alright.”  Grrrr.  It made me even more determined to get my elk!

We were now on the next to last day with my chances of getting an elk slipping away. I was crouched stiffly in my spot, freezing my butt off at the crack of a nippy dawn and finally decided to warm up with a little jig across the ridge to check out that fence line position once and for all.  I eventually figured out that elk are not like whitetails, but are nomadic, and I could investigate the fence line without being too awfully concerned about never seeing an elk there again.  I know.  “Duh!” all you Western hunters are saying.

As I crept down the fence line from the top of the ridge, I heard a cow call, and as I watched in amazement, I saw a magnificent bull step out from behind a tall spruce in the distance.  My heart was POUNDING.  I put my crosshairs on him but I couldn’t pull the trigger.  I didn’t know where he was in relation to that fence line marking private ground.  I frantically scoured the hillside with my binoculars, looking for that tiny strand of barbed wire.  Hurriedly, I would glance back to my elk.  He was just leisurely nibbling at leaves, giving me one broadside shot opportunity after another.  Having this beautiful creature in my crosshairs again and again for 10-15 seconds at a time and not being able to pull the trigger for fear of violating private ground was killing me.  I watched, tears rolling down my face as he disappeared over the next ridge.  I followed that lone barbed wire strand to find he had been on my side of the fence for a long while.  I kneeled down and sobbed.

He was the last elk I saw on my first Western hunt.  Next year, the first day, I’m marking that fence with bright, neon ribbon tied in great big bows that will glow in the light and flap in the wind!  I’m considering battery powered blinking lights.  The first legal elk that is dumb enough to step into my sites will be headed for my freezer.  I will even pack an extra clean hat in case “Baby” comes up from civilization to spend day 10 with us.  Oooooh yes.  I am now addicted to the Western hunt.

The Off Season

By Megan DeHaan

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For some, we live by seasons, as a rancher I feel like my life revolves around this idea. There’s calving season, haying season, hunting season, feeding season, repeat. Everything else depends on the weather, the cows, the kids, the old man…. So, for my sanity I have a few “musts” to fill in the blanks. Trail running is one of them. In one way it’s my alone time. The time I get during hunting season that I dearly love, to be at one with nature and my thoughts. So in the “off season” I go out. The other reason is simply because if I don’t, then all winter I just mope around feeling sorry for myself wishing it was fall and I was hunting. Yes I run in the winter, yes it gets cold, no, it doesn’t bother me, yes, I know, I’m that weird person who runs in the snow and rain and thoroughly enjoys it! The alternative would be letting old man winter control you and waste all that time you took to get into shape for hunting season and avoid your skinny jeans because you know they wont fit.

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Some people really just don’t enjoy running I’ve been told. Well I didn’t either at one time. I decided one day I was going to. So I went running. And I hated it. So I tried again, still hated it. Until one day I realized, maybe I should try out actual running attire? So I went out and bought new running shoes from an actual running store. Holy moly did that make a difference! It’s the same thing as trying to just wear your husbands hunting clothing. You could, but have fun with that….most likely they won’t fit, and it will be just like trying to trail run in jeans and boots. So naturally I started seeking out running clothes. Let me be clear, not all running clothes are created equal. Just because they say “running shorts” does not mean they aren’t going to hike up your butt crack and expose your underside. Also “technical” doesn’t even really mean its going to work as well as you think. Some times it means “technically we call these shorts technical, but really there just technically/kinda running shorts”. You have to pick and choose. I found that my hunting clothing was working better than some of my running gear. Mainly because almost all my hunting gear is Prois, and it’s all made specifically for us women who demand performance. So eventually I became “that gal who’s always in camo at races”. Prois carries an “ultra hoodie” and it’s ultra wonderful. I wear it all winter, and for warm-up and for early races. They also have the ultra short sleeve that works great as well for any mid temperature days. I almost always run with a visor and it just so happens, Prois carries my favorite. Last but not least they carry the turas sleeveless shirt that works great for hot days. This helps me out a lot because my hunting wardrobe and gear gets its own room in our house, so my running gear could save some room by being multi purpose, and what husband doesn’t like saving money on his wife’s habits?

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Turns out road running can get pretty boring after awhile and is why I turned to trail running among many other reasons. My first race was the Bridger Ridge Run in Bozeman, MT. It’s rated one of the top ten bucket list races by Trail Runners Magazine and its also rated one of the hardest races in the country. Once I realized I was capable of completing such a race without dying, my motivation went from simply staying in shape for hunting season, to an obsession with the sport. I’ve completed several trail races in the past years and my list keeps getting longer of new ones I’d like to try. If you have the right gear, the will, and shear determination, anything is possible. If your stuck and need some motivation, or a new direction with your fitness, or simply need to get your butt in gear because you drew a great tag this hunting season and it requires a LOT of physically demanding terrain. Then start trail running! Heck, even look me up and I can help you get started. Call the Prois gals, they will hook you up with some great gear for running and hunting. Most importantly, find something that you enjoy in the off season to keep you busy, and in shape! That way when hunting season comes around and that trigger finger gets unbearable, you know your in shape and ready at any moment!

 

Prois Hunt Staff Andrea Fisher Shares Her Sister’s First Hunting Journey!

By Andrea Fisher
Prois Hunt Staff
2011 Prois Award Recipient

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A Huntress is Awakened

Cindy had her own rifle 35 years ago – a .22 LR rimfire rifle with a 4X scope. Back in those days, one could go to an empty sandpit and shoot at targets, or TV’s, or whatever people left behind. Those were the days, and she was handy with her little rifle at the sand pit. We grew up learning to shoot and hunt with our father, so it was in her blood, too.

After many years, and passing her guns down to others, my sister expressed a desire to get back into shooting. Her oldest son, Brian, gave her a BB gun for Christmas in 2013. Cindy lives at the edge of Reno, Nevada, and beyond her fenced back yard are miles of sagebrush and high desert. Christmas Day, 2013, the family gathered in the backyard to receive shooting and safety instructions from Pat, my neice’s significant other, a Marine gunny, who has been deployed twice to the Mid-East.

Cindy took those lessons to heart, and practiced with her little rifle. She laughed: “Three pumps, and the BB’s bounce off the target. Four pumps, and they are part of my fence!” She became deadly on crows…..

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Prois Staffer Britney Starr Leads 5 Female Hunters to South Africa!

By Prois Field Staffer Britney Starr

Greetings from South Africa! For the past few days my “to do” list has read, “Go to Africa. Hunt. Make memories,” and I’ve been doing just that. I’m leading a group of five female hunters in the Eastern Cape with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, of which I am a co-owner along with my father Dwaine Starr and professional hunter Louis Bodill. Unfortunately, our time here has come to an end. Here are highlights from the last three days of our hunt.

Michelle's Zebra.  Photo Courtesy of Dwayne Starr

Michelle’s Zebra. Photo Courtesy of Dwayne Starr

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ THIS FULL STORY ON THE OUTDOOR HUB! 

Prois Was There!

By Christy Turner

Stacy, Jon, and Maison Sissney from His & Hers Outdoors came down to Texas for a weekend visit.  Callie and Cassie’s Cousin Sienna, is down visiting also from Colorado.  I took them all to our favorite “Honey Hole” fishing spot where Sienna caught her very first fish!!! A great Bass she reeled in too!  We had some tough luck on our hog hunting this weekend but I was able to lay one down last night finally! #Proiswasthere

Great times with great friends and family this weekend!

Prois was there all weekend!

By Christy Turner

 

wWhat an amazing weekend I had with Becky Lou Lacock two weekends ago at the Priefert Ranch in Mount Pleasant Texas. Our days were relaxing hanging out at the ranch watching Chloe ride the 4 wheeler and watching her ride the mare named Buttercup.

We got to meet the world’s largest horse named Radar who is over 19 hands, he was an amazing sight. We also got to meet world famous Australian, Guy McLean. He is an International Horseman, Entertainer and Poet. In between the laughing and cutting up we got serious in the mornings and evenings to try and get eleven year old Chloe from Tennessee her first Texas Hog. We had some pictures on a game camera, stumbled upon some Hog hair on the trail and had a real close encounter on the ground with them Friday evening.

The Hogs were right there, I could even smell them and Becky Lou almost got ate but I was watching her back. Our time ran out before Chloe could bag her first Hog but we made a lot of good memories and hope to try again someday soon.  Our gracious host was Travis Priefert, the Grandson of Marvin Priefert who was the founder of the family owned and operated Priefert Manufacturing. You need to check out their web site at www.priefert.com and read, about the family. This hardworking family lives the American dream because they refused to give up even when times were tough they said. I admire each and every one ofthem and respect how humble and honest they all are. Also watch for their new reality-based hunting tv show called “The Prieferts” on the Sportsman Channel. The premiere will air July 3rd 9:30C. This is going to be a must see, I can’t wait!

 

Fear not Christy Turner bagged herself a hog last weekend while hunting and fishing with fellow Prois gal Stacy Sissney and family !

 

 

Fishin’ to Hunt

What does a huntress do when summer hits and the hunting season has come to an end?

Well, we dream about hunting, hope and pray for great tags, train to hunt, study new

hunting areas, buy new hunting gear, target shoot, and…we FISH!!!!

My husband, Joe and I have a favorite adventure we do in the off season. I call it “Fishin’

to Hunt!” During the summer months, we take a few weekend backcountry fishing

trips. We backpack into various high alpine lakes to help train for the upcoming hunting

season. Joe and I do a lot of backcountry hunting trips for 7-10 days at a time, so these

“mini” trips are perfect practice and training for the hunting season. This particular

weekend trip we invited Joe’s parents along for fun. Joe’s dad, Ray is one of our hunting

partners, so it’s great training for him too.

 

With backpacks fully loaded, hiking sticks in hand, and fishing gear at the ready, we

trek into the mountains. We usually hike about 6-8 miles roundtrip with 2-3,000 foot

elevation gains. These hikes help us strengthen our lungs, legs, backs, and stabilizers,

while we work on our balance rock hopping around the fishing holes. It’s a perfect

backcountry gym to help us stay fit and strong enough to pack out a deer or elk during the

One of the greatest benefits to these backcountry fishing trips is to try out any new gear

we have purchased. Each year we evaluate our gear and check to see what items need

to be replaced. The first items I check are in my first aid/emergency kit. It’s very rare

that you will need any of these supplies, but they should always be up to date. I replace

any expired medications such as Benadryl, Aspirin, Imodium, etc. I make sure all of my

Band-Aids and blister treatments are fresh. It’s also a good time to replace batteries in

headlamps, flashlights, and GPS. I also thoroughly check my fire making kit, emergency

bag, and raingear, along with any other essentials. One item I never leave home without

is a small roll of the always essential… Duct Tape! I couple years ago on a late Nevada

elk hunt I had a boot start to separate from the sole. I noticed it half way up a 2,000

foot climb to try and cut off my quarry. Snow was packed into the opening and my foot

was starting to freeze. We cleaned the seam, dried it with the heat from a Jet Boil, and

applied the duct tape while the boot was still hot. This gave a great bond that held while I

continued to hunt for the week.

On this fishing trip some of the gear we tried out was a new gravity water filtration

system, Joe had a new bedroll, and I had a new pair of boots. Each of these items

performed flawlessly, so this trip gave us complete confidence in these items going into

the hunting season. It’s always a good idea to do a practice run at home on your big ticket

items. Check all components on new gear, like tents, stoves, and water purifiers as well.

You will want to know how to use them before you venture into the backcountry. How

terrible would it be to pack in 5 miles and try to set up your new tent with only 1 pole,

when there should be 2! Being prepared is essential!

Food is always a big decision on backpack trips. We use these short trips to try out

different dehydrated backpack meals. There is nothing worse than being completely

exhausted after a long day of hunting, to come back to camp and have to choke down a

meal that you “thought” you might like. Trying new flavors helps us add variety to our

menu, so we can stay fueled up for the hunt. It’s also a good time to estimate your daily

food consumption. Figure out your game plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

You want just enough food to last your trip, so you can come out food light and game heavy.

Now of course the best part of these training trips is the fishing! We have a few different

stunning alpine lakes that we love to camp and fish at. The fishing is always amazing.

After a peaceful night sleep on the mountain, we wake up to the sound of nature’s alarm

clock and we’re embraced by the beauty of the backcountry at first light. We brew some

fresh coffee/cocoa (just add water), eat breakfast, and decide which lake to hike to next.

Each year we always seem to end up with the same wonderful experience. As we near

our destination, we climb through the last pine trees and glimpse the first rays of morning

light dancing across the water. We are mesmerized by the awe inspiring view that

unfolds! We reach the waters edge and quickly set up our rigs and throw out our lines. As

I wait to see a tug on my line, I soak up the surroundings. This year the brilliant blue lake

we are at is still mostly covered in thick ice. The sun illuminates the rocky cliff spires,

and the sound of water trickling from melting snow and ice cracking across the lake fills

the morning air. As I lay back on the rocks, I know life doesn’t get much better than this.

And then it does. I see the distinct tug on my line and I yell, “Fish On!”

After an awesome day of fishing, including a double hook up with Joe, we head back

to camp with dinner. Our five star meals consisted of fresh brook trout cooked over the

campfire and dehydrated pasta primavera on the side. Simply perfect!

The next day, we topped off our training trip with fishing a creek on our way back down

the mountain. We ended up doing a little catch and release with Brook, Brown, Golden,

and Rainbow trout! These fish are small, but oh so colorful! Remember these trips are

not just about training. They are about being in nature, recharging your batteries, and

enjoying the great outdoors. Besides you get to yell “Fish On”, even if it’s a shaker!

These training trips are always some of my fondest memories of the “hunting” season, so

get on out there and enjoy!

Lake Cow Hunting

By Deb Ferns My first elk hunt and it was hosted by Bear Mt. Ranch with Anne Draper as our outstanding hostess!  The weather up at 9,200 foot elevation was pretty chilly and oxygen was scare; the first morning of the hunt we spotted several large elk herds across the valley.  We headed that way and parked the ATV a distance off and started to hike in.  After about an hour we carefully care over a rise and there was a large herd grazing with one big cow elk off by herself at the front of the pack.  My guide, Jon, knew I hadn’t used shooting sticks before so I was careful to get into a comfortable position and prepare for a good shot at 200 yards.   I used a Steyr ProAlaskan 30/.06 (which I call my “Magic Wand”) with 180 grain game bullet and I took the shot right where I was supposed to; or at least I thought I did.  It made a solid “WHAP” and the cow took off running with a huge amount of blood trail for us to follow. We ended up tracking her for over six hours and when I finally had another shot at her it was at 410 yards and to say I was a little freaked out is an understatement! My guide was very patient, explained how I should setup for this long shot, what kind of drop I’d have on the bullet.  This time the shot was an exact placement for a heart/lung (turns out my first shot had nicked the heart but did not take the lung) and the 600 pound cow elk dropped instantly. Unfortunately she dropped off the edge of small bluff into the lake below and by the time we reached her the current had pushed her onto a sandbar in the middle of the reservoir where the water was about 40 degrees aka “not” swimmable.  Back to Bear Mt. Ranch we went to retrieve a canoe and a paddle, then another hour back out to the lake. I think we made Colorado history as the only elk to be towed into shore and based on the water experience I nicknamed this elk after Ester Williams (old time Hollywood swimming star.)   So I started the day at 4:00 am and ended up at dinner at 8:00 pm.  I survived the adventure though windburn, sore feet, and a new respect for how tough elk can be will be.  As a novice hunting experience it wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it and I learned a great deal about elk and about myself as well.