How To Get Started Hunting

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By Prois Staffer Andrea Haas

So you think you would like to get into hunting but don’t know where to start? Whether hunting is completely new to you or you grew up in a family of hunters, knowing how to begin can seem a little overwhelming at first. The good news is there are plenty of people and resources out there that can help you if you are willing to do a little research and put in some work.

Getting Started – Hunter’s Safety Course

Getting the right introduction to hunting is important. A good way to start is by finding your state’s wildlife agency and finding a hunter’s safety course. Here is a great online resource from The National Shooting Sports Foundation with hunting information for each state. You can find your state, get direct links to your state’s Conservation Department, hunting regulations and more. You can also take the test online through Hunter-Ed

Next Step – Apprentice Hunter Program

Even if you do pass your hunter’s safety course, become certified and buy your hunting license, it’s still a good idea to go hunting with someone else first. If you choose not to go through a hunter-ed course until you are positive that hunting is for you, most states offer an “Apprentice Hunter Program”. This means you can purchase a hunting permit and legally harvest an animal in the presence of someone who is hunter-ed certified. For example, I live in Missouri. Missouri allows you to do this for 2 years. After 2 years you must become hunter-ed certified in order to continue hunting & harvesting animals. 

Safety First

Most people begin by hunting with a firearm. While I encourage everyone to take up bow hunting, it’s not something that I recommend doing the first year you hunt. Before you handle a gun, make sure you are familiar with the NRA gun safety rules. Even if you’ve been hunting for years, it’s still a good idea to review these rules from time to time. Another great resource for all things women hunters/shooters is the NRA Women’s Network! They have weekly episodes that are fun & informative:

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Practice With Purpose

To me, this is one of the most important steps to take in becoming a hunter. You must take into consideration that you are shooting a live animal. Strive to make the best, most ethical shot possible so the animal does not suffer long and so you can save as much of the meat as possible. With that being said, find a place where you can shoot, get out there and start practicing! We have about 200 acres of private land outside of the city limits where we can practice shooting. Private land is not available to everyone though, so if not try finding a gun range near you. Here is another great resource from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to help you find shooting ranges in your area.

Choosing Your Gun & Ammo

It’s not necessary at first to rush out & buy your own gun. When I first started hunting, I borrowed a family member’s rifle, practiced and hunted with that. Making sure you select the right gun is more important. Make sure you are comfortable with the gun and select the right type of gun & ammo for the game that you wish to hunt. The “Love at First Shot” episodes at NRA Women’s Network are an excellent resource on how to choose a rifle & the proper ammo: 

Love at First Shot: Rifles

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Love at First Shot: Ammo

Study Up – Learn About the Animals

Learn as much as you can about the animals you want to hunt. Study about their feeding habits, their senses (sight, smell, etc), and breeding seasons so you can be as prepared as possible for your first hunt. There are multiple organizations out there that have endless information about game animals and their behaviors such as the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Deer and Deer Hunting, Mule Deer Foundation and many many more. 

Learn The Area / Pattern the Animals

If you’re able to, get out and scout the area you plan to be hunting before season starts. Start by becoming familiar with the land and your surroundings. Always tell someone where you will be and take your cell phone with you if possible.  Check for signs of the animal you’ll be hunting and scout out good areas to put a tree stand or ground blind to hunt out of. Set up some game cameras near known trails and food & water sources so you know more about the animal’s activity & patterns. Here is a great blog from Dale Evans at EvoOutdoors about scouting new land. 

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Gear & Apparel

While it may not be necessary to purchase your own rifle at first, I do recommend investing in some of your own hunting gear, equipment & apparel. 

Some basic items you’ll probably want to purchase:

-A good quality, sharp knife

-Rifle Sling

-Hunting fanny pack or backpack

-Scent Control Products, (depending on the type of game you are hunting)

-For women, I recommend Her Non Scents scent free shampoo, conditioner & body wash

-Hunting Boots

-Hunting Socks

-A good moisture wicking pair, try FirstLite & Minus33 brands at www.EvoOutdoors.com

-Gloves

-Camo clothing

-The type of clothing you pick depends on where you will be hunting, what season it is & the

type of animal you’ll be hunting. 

-Prois has a line of women’s hunting apparel that meets the needs for any type of hunt you

will be going on, whitetail, turkey, upland, etc. They even have a new safari line for 2015!

-If you need help picking the right apparel for your hunt, EvoOutdoors Camo Concierge is a great option!

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Resources

Make sure you do your part to learn as much as you can before you go hunting. I began by going on a whitetail hunt with my husband one year & watching him harvest a buck. I practiced a lot and asked him as many questions as I could until the following deer season. I went out by myself one afternoon and shot my very first deer, a nice 8 point. I observed him hunting first, practiced and asked questions. By taking what I learned from that and applying it to my own hunt, I was able to successfully harvest an animal on my own. Not everyone has a family member or a friend to learn from though. Here are a lot of great websites, blogs and other resources to help you out!

Women Hunters:

Huntress View

EvoOutdoors

Prois

NRA Women

Women’s Outdoor News

Girl’s Guide To Guns

Youth Hunters:

Student Outdoor Experience

EvoOutdoors

Enjoy!

Most important, second to safety of course, is to enjoy yourself! Hunting is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the peace & quiet of nature, and just relax. Observe wild animals in their natural habitats. You will learn something new each time you go out! Not only that, you will gain a deeper appreciation for wildlife and for the food that you eat, knowing that you are providing yourself & your family with healthier, organic meat, free from steroids & preservatives. Get out there & do some grocery shopping!

Spotting and Stalking with Meghan Simpson

By Meghan Simpson

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Fingers and toes tend to freeze easily during deer season in Alberta. There’s usually a foot of snow by mid November and temperatures are around -20 Celsius. This year was a bit different. I have been hunting whitetails by Edmonton Alberta in mostly tree stands, and I have a trail camera set up and have seen some small bucks and lots of does. This tends to be a good sign, because where there are does there will be bucks close behind! We have only a few inches of snow on the ground and it has been pleasantly warm for sitting in the stand until the sun goes down. This kind of weather makes it hard to get a good stalk on crunchy leaves so my stand is pretty handy.

Besides the whitetail hunting I’m extremely excited because this year I drew a Mule deer tag in southern Alberta! I have put in a specific zone for over five years now and it’s finally my turn to kill a big buck! I designated my dad to be my super guide, which is usually my first choice. We have been on many hunts together and have been very successful as a team. The drive to my hunting zone is four hours from where I live, and we stayed at a bed and breakfast where the cook made homemade meals hot and ready when you want them. This is a bonus, because I was able to get an extra bit of shut eye! It was the end of November and the forecast for the weekend was -30 and close to 30 inches of snow. I decided I had one good day of hunting and since the hunting days are Wednesday to Saturday so I better make it worth while! We left camp around 7am on Wednesday morning , the sun was coming up later and later, so that was the perfect time to head out. After seeing around twenty bucks and over fifty does in eight hours I set my eyes on one specific old boy. He seemed to be quite the stud, since he had four does bedded around him. He was laying on a rock pile like a sheep. After making a game plan we decided to sneak up a coulee and make a stalk. One chest shot later I had my big mule deer! I was lucky enough to get a shot at this great buck the first day, because that night it started to snow and didn’t quit for three days! Lots of hunters were out hunting and hadn’t shot their bucks before the storm, I guess they just didn’t know what a good stalk was!

High Plains Brush Pants Review

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By Azura Dee Gaige

Having a pair of hunting pants that are light weight but also able to deal with burs and stickers is a great

combination. The pants are designed to drape over your boots so it more convenient than having to pick

out stickers in your socks. I would recommend anyone who’s hunting in Eastern Oregon and

Washington, around a lot of sagebrush and hitchhiker stickers, these pants will make the hunting

experience more desirable.

Thank you Prois as Always, Azura Dee Gaige

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.

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.