Bowfishing Association of America’s (BAA) World Championship

By Prois Staffer Gretchen Steele

Hundreds of bowfishers, and a total of 72 boats descended on Aurora, Kentucky for a record setting Bowfishing Association of America’s (BAA) World Championship tournament, and Prois was there!

A summer spent bowfishing almost daily, participating in other smaller tournaments, culminated in a great weekend in Aurora, Kentucky at “The Worlds” .

Team Back-N-Black at the BAA World Championships

Team Back-N-Black at the BAA World Championships

Said BAA Points/Sanctioning Chairman Amanda Nichols, “Kentucky always has the biggest turnout for the World’s, but this year was the record year so far for turnout for any of the World’s tourneys. This is the biggest World’s to date and we would like to thank everyone for their support and participation in the 2014 BAA World Championship. Without all of the bowfishermen and the supporters we couldn’t have done it. Big thanks to Marshall County for all the support and donations towards this event. ”

 

Teammate Amy Pease checking her bow pre tournament

Teammate Amy Pease checking her bow pre tournament

The BAA’s World championship Tournament brings the best of the best bowfishers from across the country to compete for 14,000 dollars in prize money. The first place winning teams in the Big 20 Division and Numbers Division both went home 3,000 dollars richer and payouts were also made to those in the top five slots.

 

But “The World’s” as it is referred to by bowfishers is much more than just another tournament, and just another purse. It’s a full blown weekend event that gives bowfishers from across the country a weekend together filled with friendship, fellowship and fun. For many it is the one event of the year where all of their bowfishing buddies are in one place.

 

 So thrilled to receive my flopper stopper from "The Shot"

So thrilled to receive my flopper stopper from “The Shot”

As it was close to my birthday, several bowfishing pals brought good luck/ birthday gifts, including a most special gift from bowfishing icon “The Shot” Willett. Shot, as he is known on the tournament circuit and in the bowfishing community, presented me with my own “Wild Woman Flopper Stopper” Receiving a flopper stopper from shot is true sign that one has arrived so to speak in the bowfishing world. My team mate and fellow badass Amy made sure that I had my traditional “ducky” pre tournament good luck present and few things to celebrate our participation in the prestigious worlds. Seriously, doesn’t everyone bowfish in a camo feather boa????

 

Photo Courtesy of Amy Pease

Photo Courtesy of Amy Pease

For the communities that that host the World’s it’s a huge influx to the local economy. “It’s hard dispute what we bring in, when that guy with the truck and airboat walks into to your gas station and slaps 4 hundred dollar bills down just for fuel. “ Said Mark Lee, President of BAA. Lee further pointed out the economic benefits to the community in dollars spent on lodging, meals, and trips to local shops for last minute items. Additionally local civic groups can help fill their organizations coffers by providing food, drinks, etc. at the tournament site.

At this year’s Worlds the Aurora Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary were kept hopping serving up food both before and after the tournament. “We are just thrilled to have the bowfishers in Aurora – we had the Kentucky State Shoot here earlier this year and we loved every minute of it. We couldn’t wait for the Worlds to get here. Our small community is suffering, just like so many, and the bowfishers bring us so much! “Said a representative from the ladies auxiliary.

Weigh in went smoothly by utilizing three stations

Weigh in went smoothly by utilizing three stations

That sentiment was echoed by Tammy Nanney from nearby KenLake State Park Resort where “all those big bowfishing boats” were the talk of the resort guests and staff. Nanney pointed out that bowfishing at Kentucky Lakes is excellent, sporting some of the largest big head carp in the Midwest, and the myriad of available Kentucky Parks lodging options from camping to cottages to resort level are always welcoming to those who plan a bowfishing vacation at Kentucky Lakes.

The tournament was truly a community affair, with many from Kentucky Lakes area coming out to talk with bowfishers, ogle the boats and equipment on display and to watch well-orchestrated take off of 72 boats.

Chatting with one of bowfishing’s young stars, Kenzie Taylor and complimenting her on the way she represents bowfishing and sets such a great example for young women bowfishers.

Chatting with one of bowfishing’s young stars, Kenzie Taylor and complimenting her on the way she represents bowfishing and sets such a great example for young women bowfishers.

Companies and industries affiliated with the bowfishing community also recognize the importance of the World’s as a premier bowfishing event and provided excellent in kind and monetary support. For instance, PowerTran donated a full system as a prize in a side competition sponsored by their company.

This year’s successful BAA World Championship proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that bowfishing has arrived as a legitimate outdoor sport and is no longer considered fringe, redneck, or a bunch of goofballs with bows chasing fish in the dead of night. It requires specialized equipment, specialized skills, and is a great conservation tool for the removal of injurious and invasive species.

PRÓIS® HUNTING & FIELD APPAREL OFFERS DIFFERENCE-MAKING MARKETING TOOLS

Company Employs Home Hunting Party and Personal Shopping Assistant Programs to Deliver Customized Services and Products to Female Hunters

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Newsflash! Female hunters are here to stay, our numbers are growing and we’re tired of wearing oversized and ill-fitting men’s gear. Here to save the day, Próis® Hunting & Field Apparel has developed a complete line of superior hunting clothes to give female hunters what they want, and need – high performance gear made for their bodies so they can focus on hitting targets and taking down game, big and small.  To go hand-and-hand with its high-performance product, Próis promises paramount service.  As part of this pledge, the company has built a number of programs to deliver tailored service to female hunters including its Home Hunting Party and Personal Shopping Assistant Programs.

There’s no party like a Próis Hunting Party!  No boring Tupperware here, Próis invites its best customers and what we expect are some of the country’s brightest female hunters to embrace what they love to earn free Próis gear and bring home the bacon.  It’s as simple as signing up, setting a party date and then, well, throwing a party.  Hosts can earn cash, free product and on top of it all, both the hosts and guests will see significant savings on all purchases. There is no commitment, contract or financial commitment other than the cost of a small box being shipped to your house with samples.  The 2014 party theme is “The Bear Necessities” – yes — hpl– but it’s a party, so go with it!

Próis aims to be where female hunters need us and the Personal Shopping Assistant Program was designed to do exactly this.  The concierge program, for outfitters and lodge owners, allows our experts to be your experts, giving your clientele customized attention.  Everyone loves to be “hooked up” by an expert.  Let our knowledgeable professionals choose exactly what your guests need for their excursion based on what they will be hunting, where they will be, for how long and all the rest of the details.  All your clients will receive a discount, plus you’ll get a percentage of the sales either in cash or merchandise.  Those signed up for the program – guides, lodge owners, personal outfitters – will also receive a discount on all merchandise purchased for themselves.  Program participants receive marketing support in the way of catalogs, signage and other advertising materials.  The program is a no-brainer with no minimums, no contract and no commitment.

A number of recent studies show retailers can benefit by catering to an increasing number of women hunters.  Current research shows not only is the average hunter spending more money a year, that hunter is becoming more and more likely to be a woman, a trend retailers across the nation should pay attention to according to experts.  The most recent U.S. Census Bureau found there are 13.7 million hunters in the nation – 11 percent of them are women.  A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a national survey that indicated 13.7 million hunters spent 38.3 billion dollars on hunting.  That translates to 4.2 billion dollars spent by women alone.

Próis was created for women, by women and they are proud to serve as the premier manufacturer of hardcore women’s hunting gear.  Each garment is created with the most technologically advanced fabrics available and a host of advanced features to provide comfort, silence and durability.  The company’s out-of-the-box thinking has resulted in amazing designs for serious hunters that have taken the industry by storm and raised the bar for women’s outdoor apparel.

For more information, contact: Próis Hunting and Field Apparel, 28001-B US Highway 50, Gunnison, CO 81230 · (970) 641-3355 ·

Or visit: www.proishunting.com.  Próis has garnered a great following of men and women throughout the industry through their wacky shenanigans and humor.  Fondly called the Próis Posse, the Próis followers ramp up the craziness each day. Keep up with our lovably wacky team through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.  Warning:  Próis social media is not for the faint of heart….and “your mom” is not really your mom…it’s a metaphorical mom.  You can also check out the latest updates on Próis field and pro staff and company news via the Próis blog.

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.

Fishin at Daybreak

By Candy Yow

 

By Candy Yow            

            As we near the lake we can see light in the horizon knowing it will be daybreak soon we hustled to get in the boat and in the water before we lost the precious prime time for catching the bass we are after.  Minutes later we were gliding across what looked like a sheet of glass with mist rising into early daylight seeping around the towering pines.  Breathtaking would be an understatement, the morning was brisk but it was promising to be a nice warm day.

            The weight of the worldly problems had grown to where I could hardly think about anything but work 24-7, the Good Lord must have known and this was the perfect fix for it.  Peace & quiet, breathtaking beauty, tranquil and serene was so soothing to my heart and soul; I drank it up like a thirsty soul after water.   With each breath of the chilly moist air I breathed it was like God was slowly taking my troubles away and putting them on His shoulders and the tenseness slowly disappeared.

            The snow packed mountains loomed in the distant, towering over the lake like a giant guardian, glistening white against the pastels colors of the sunrise and reflecting back on the lake like a mirror.   The mist rising around the edges of the lake made it look almost eerie other than the total peaceful tranquil feeling, without a sound except the loons in the rushes added to the total peaceful picture in front of me.  Taking a deep breath I tried to capture it on film but the pictures couldn’t begin to do it justice.  We tried our luck at fishing but I gave up soon as I just wanted to absorb this whole picture and save it to my soul, refuel myself and enjoy everyone else, besides it’s a bit hard to fly fish 3 in a drift boat!!!!   We floated and visited and fished for 3-4 hours until we knew for sure the fish were done for a while before we headed back to work, pressure, stress but now I had a fresh take on life, a quick fix for the worldly problems that we allow to take us over.  With 6 big beautiful bass on our string we trudged reluctantly towards the truck and reality.  Until next time that we are able to get back to Gods beautiful outdoors for my next fix of wholesomeness and fun to fill our hearts and souls.

 

 

 

Unicorns I Love Them

By Katherine Grand

 

Here at Prois we have somewhat of an obsession with unicorns.  I can’t remember exactly when and how this happened but I can assure you we are all quite happy that unicorns usurped and largely quieted all the gnome related posts and gifts.  Let’s face it, gnomes are creepy as hell.  I like to pretend that this unicorn obsession is largely a joke but if you interviewed a younger Katherine Grand anywhere from the age of 3 until, I don’t know, 5 minutes ago, you’ll find it’s totally genuine.  As a little girl I drew unicorns, read about unicorns, had a grey pony I pretended was a unicorn only true believers could see. 

 

Dream, my first unicorn

 

Present day I enjoy drawing unicorns, reading about unicorns, and riding unicorns.


Masterful binicorn drawing circa one month ago while dining with Kirstie Pike. Had she not bumped my crayon it would have been a traditional unicorn.

 

I can neither confirm nor deny I purchased a custom made horn from ETSY for my mare and forced my husband to take pictures of me riding her around bareback singing TRALALALALA!  Don’t judge me.  Now that I think of it, although I have added several things to my list of loves as an adult I have not stop loving anything I truly loved as a child.  I still love horses, puppies, bugs, birds, ice cream, climbing trees, fishing, . . . . you get the point.  Unleash your inner child!  Ride a unicorn.  


Never squander your birthday wishes. Thanks 4 year old through 23 year old Katherine!! Way to stay focused!

 

Christy’s First Turkey

For the past five years I have been trying to bag a gobbler. Some people make it look so simple going out on opening morning and fifteen minutes later coming back to camp with a big ole Tom. Sometimes I do feel a little discouraged as I scroll through my facebook and see all my friends posing with their awesome trophy’s . Well, these birds are smart, and it hasn’t been easy for me at all. Not saying I haven’t had a blast these last five years and all of my very close encounters, just not the right opportunity with the perfect shot available.  

My husband and friends have made it a mission to help me achieve my goal of shooting my very first gobbler. For Mother’s Day weekend our good friends Brian and Whitney Black with B&B Outdoors in Farlington Kansas invited us up for a Turkey hunting adventure. That first evening hunt I saw something big and black out in a soy bean pasture and asked my husband is that a Cow or a Turkey?! I got my binoculars out and saw that it was a huge Turkey as he gobbled at my husband calling for me. Wow, did my heart start pumping! I even had a Jake fly over my head going to roost. I almost passed out from my excitement. That next morning we set up where we knew they were roosting and even in the silence in the pitch dark at five am they were gobbling. My adrenaline was at full swing and I was even shaking before sunrise. I watched them all fly down and there were several Jakes. The one I shot I watched for a few minutes as he was in full strut and twirling around the hens. It was just amazing. A memory I will have for the rest of my life. Everything I imagined it would be like. I can’t thank my husband and friends enough for helping me achieve a goal I have been chasing after for some time.  

 

It’s now Monday morning and I am sitting in the office with my dress and heels, but my mind is sitting on the edge of that soy bean pasture watching these turkeys with amazement. Brian and Whitney have an amazing place; I was so impressed with their set up and hospitality. My husband deer hunts up there every fall. I now see why he loves it up there so much. Check out their website at www.kansasgiants.com I’m ready to have more adventures of a life time up at their Kansas ranch!

 

Giving Back

The crazy wrangling team

By Nancy Rodriguez

Opening day of the spring turkey season was very different than my usual turkey hunt.  Instead of sitting patiently waiting for a turkey to strut by, I was in the middle of an amazing elk capture/relocation. My husband, Joe and I were honored to be invited to participate at a Tule Elk capture in central California, by our friend Joe Hobbs.   Joe Hobbs is a senior environmental scientist that works for California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He also happens to be the California elk coordinator.

 

California is home to three subspecies of elk: Roosevelt elk, Rocky Mountain Elk, and the very special Tule Elk. Tule Elk are only found in my home state of California.  The Tule Elk in California were once close to extinction. In the mid 1870’s there were reports that fewer than 30 elk remained in a single herd near Bakersfield, Ca. A cattle rancher named Henry Miller preserved this last group of elk that he discovered on his ranch in 1874. Experts believe the elk were pushed to the brink of extinction from loss of habitat, market hunting, and displacement from cattle. Thanks to Henry Miller and others that followed suit by 1970’s the Tule Elk population had grown to around 500 animals. Over the years with improved management, the help of wildlife organizations and conservation agencies like RMEF, Tule Elk numbers have steadily increased.   Today California has over 4000 Tule Elk in 22 distinct herds!

Sunrise in Tule Elk Country

 

Joe and I arrived on Friday afternoon at the San Luis Wildlife Refuge for our mandatory safety meeting. We met with approximately 70 employees from California Department of Fish and Wildlife and US Fish & Wildlife services, along with veterinarians, andnthe helicopter capture crew. Joe Hobbs conducted the orientation meeting, assigning everyone a specific job. We all broke into groups to become familiar with our upcoming rolls. Joe and I were assigned to the trailer chutes. We rotated with another team manning the chute gates as the elk were herded into the trailers for transport.  6:30 am Saturday morning couldn’t come soon enough. We arrived at base camp full of adrenaline and excitement. The teams quickly dispersed into their designated areas. The teams consisted of: The helicopter crew, the ground transportation teams, the processing teams, the wranglers, and the relocation team. Each group showed amazing team work.

Leading Edge Aviation Team

The first team up was the helicopter crew, Leading Edge Aviation. They are a team of four dedicated wildlife capturers. The pilot’s job is to bring the chopper down over an elk to net gun level. Then one of the gunners hangs out of the chopper, aims the net gun over an elk and fires the net for capture.

Helicopter net gunning an elk

Once the elk is in the net, the chopper drops to a low hover, a team member jumps out and immediately blindfolds and hobbles the elk for transport. The pilot radios the closest ground team for pick up. These guys are fast!  On arrival the ground teams quickly lift the netted elk onto litters. They safely transport the elk on the back of Gators or trailers to the processing station.

Joe doing his job of blindfolding and Nancy posing

The elk are strapped to the litters for safe travel.  The next team is the processing team. There were 5 tents set up to process the elk as quickly as possible. They consisted of Ca. Fish & Wildlife employees, US Fish & Wildlife, and veterinarians to collect samples and data on the elk. First the elk are weighed and then carried to a tent station.

Checking weight

There the team would draw blood, check general health, place ear tags, and radio collars for future research.

Processing team taking blood samples

The entire time the elk’s temperature was monitored closely and cool water and ice packs were applied to maintain the animals temperature if necessary.

Processing team cooling the elk with cold water

Once the research teams finished their jobs, the elk were carried to the corral to be persuaded into the trailers.  The corral is what I called the “elk wrangling station”.   This station consisted of a metal pipe corral about the size of a small garage with two chutes that led into the trailers. The pipe fencing was covered in black burlap, so the elk would stay calm.

The wranglers stand ready in the corral

The ground crew would carry the elk on the litter into the corral. They would safely tip the litter to lay the elk on the ground. The elk wranglers would then remove the hobbles and blindfolds as quickly as possible. Next they would use bucking boards to persuade the elk up the trailer chutes. Joe and I would nudge the elk up the chutes and close the gates behind them as fast as we could, as they entered the trailers.

Nancy ready with a bucking board

On the second day, Joe and I we’re invited into the corral to help with “wrangling”. Joe removed the blindfolds and I helped out with the bucking boards.  The final stage and the most amazing part of the capture was yet to come. Joe and I were able to go to the grand finale… the release! We had two trucks and blacked out trailers full of elk, followed by a safety vehicle.

Ready for the ride to a new home!

After a 2 ½ hours drive, we arrived at the elk’s new home. We pulled into the wildlife area full of hope. As we opened the trailer doors and stepped back, each elk curiously stepped out of the trailer and safely trotted off  into their new home. Watching them run off, I was completely speechless!  We had just been a part of one amazing adventure.

Freedom!

We had helped with the California Tule Elk re-population, conservation, and management process.  All in all, the teams safely captured and relocated 36 Tule Elk to three different locations in California. California is lucky to have Joe Hobbs as the elk coordinator. He ran a safe, seamless, and upbeat elk capture. With people like him, Fish and Wildlife agencies, and conservation groups like RMEF, we can keep supporting our once nearly extinct Tule Elk.

This experience was one we will never forget. Not only did we have a great time comingface to face with Tule Elk, but we met some amazing people!