The Pink Camo Debate

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From birth, and even before birth, colors have differentiated the male and female genders.  Baby boy showers are expected to be riddled with the color blue and a baby girl’s with the color pink.  As we enter our adolescent stages of life, the color assigned to us transcends into the clothing we wear, the paint choice for our bedroom walls, the decorations on our birthday cakes and even to the polish we put on our finger nails.  When we grow older, this color either becomes a preference to some or an irritation to others.  So, how do we generally feel about this new pink camo craze for female hunters?

I have spoken to countless women about this topic and the general consensus is difficult to grasp.  Many females love the color pink and feel it gives their favorite sport that feminine touch they desire, while others detest it and view the pink camo as a further separation of genders.  A seemingly equal amount of other women are open-minded, not having reached an opinion either way.  In a recent FOX news broadcast, Eva Shockey expressed an indifference to pink camo saying, “I’m kinda somewhere in the middle – I don’t necessarily need pink but I want a color that’s for girls. I’m not against it.”

Eva Shockey's current Facebook Fan Page Picture - She can pull-off any color camo! Click to follow her on FB!

Eva Shockey’s current Facebook Fan Page Picture – She can pull-off any color camo!
Click to watch her interview!

WHOA! Can't miss that in the woods!

WHOA! Can’t miss that in the woods!

The most important factor to consider with pink camo, specific to firearms used in the field, is whether or not it is functional.  We know, for example, whitetail deer can not visualize the color red, but does the shade of pink still fall within that same spectrum?  Does it instead serve as a shining beacon in the woods or is it a shade that these deer can pick up on?  Various studies and informative articles have shown that deer do not discriminate between different shades of red, and likely can not see pink. Interestingly, in recent news, there has also been some talk about incorporating “blaze pink” with the already used “blaze orange” safety clothing.  Senator Terry Moulton of Wisconsin state says, “Safety is a crucial factor in this decision, but it appears that blaze pink is more effective than blaze orange against deer and more visible for hunters. If this idea has enough support, you may be seeing blaze pink on hunters in the near year.”  Read the article here.  With that been said, we know we are still disguised from the big game deer we hunt, but what about the social conflict that pink camo generates?

Do pink camo-wearing female hunters seem less credible than the others who choose not to adorn themselves in it?  Fellow male hunters have expressed a general likeness towards this new craze, saying it brings out the feminine quality hunting has gone many years without.  Most of the male population of hunters are undoubtedly just happy to see women hunters out in the field!  James Perovich, copywriter of the Sportsman’s Guide, recently wrote a post in their new Guide Outdoors blog on the debate of pink camo entitled, “Girlie or Too Girlie? Pink and Outdoor Products”.  In a separate conversation, Perovich stated, “It’s a choice, you know?  [Pink camo] firearms?  [It’s a] preference but, it seems anachronistic to me, personally.”

Click for James Perovich's article on Pink Camo!

Click for James Perovich’s article on Pink Camo!

Respectively, I also believe pink camo is a matter of personal preference, whether you use it during your hunting trips or in other recreational settings; To each their own likes and dislikes.  Perhaps, displaying pink camo is a new way of showing our unity as hunters?  Instead of thinking pink camo is an insult, maybe we can view it as a symbol of females trending in the hunting industry and use this opportunity as support for growth.  Whatever the case, we have the right to decide.  I enjoy seeing a new topic being tossed around from fellow hunter to hunter, much like many other debates floating about in the hunting industry.  Rather than viewing these issues as unnecessary, we should instead understand that these debates are precisely how we build stronger resolutions and grow as a community – even if it is only a matter of color preference.

Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bowhunters
Pro-Staff/Staff Writer
ADKbowhunters@yahoo.com
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Anti-Hunters: Facts VS. Fiction

Anti Hunter

As a free-thinking individual, I have always believed in the importance to remain open-minded in all situations and to fully understand both sides of an argument – whether or not you personally choose to agree with the opposing side. Every person who forms an opinion has the right to freely speak their mind unless it becomes threatening to that of another person. Unfortunately, in the hunting industry, we see too much threat and hatred towards a sport that is highly misunderstood and sometimes willingly misunderstood.

Anti-Hunters, a title often heard within the hunting community (or “Animal Activists” as they prefer to be known as), have tried penetrating our inseparable brotherhood (or sisterhood! …siblinghood? Siblinghood.) time and time again. You mainly see them at public events and randomly popping up on social media platforms – some forcing their opinions on others and even resorting to name-calling in a desperate attempt to create a sort of chaos that can only result in their benefit. No matter how frustrating, these people do have a right to their opinions just as we have a right to ours. Let’s explore the minds of the anti-hunters as we attempt to see past all of the hostility and try viewing their arguments objectively.

1. “The stress that hunted animals suffer—caused by fear and the inescapable loud noises and other commotion that hunters create—also severely compromises their normal eating habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need in order to survive the winter.”

Anti-hunters believe hunted animals harbor stress that affects their eating habits and their ability to overcome extreme seasonal changes. But, animals are hunted everyday all over the world, mainly by predators whom are not always human.  One difference between us and these other predatory animals is that we are limited to a short season, whereas their hungry stomachs demand food all year round.

You have to also keep in mind that the survival instincts of these hunted animals are another by-product of nature – enabling adrenaline to course through their body in an effort to escape potential danger. Once the threat is lessened, or nonexistent, animals continue normal eating habits – this is also necessary for their survival. Whitetail deer, the most popular game animal in the United States, are renowned for their ability to adapt in extreme environments.

2. “According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, thousands of injuries are attributed to hunting in the U.S. every year—and that number only includes incidents involving humans.”

In 2013, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that the sport of Hunting with Firearms had 16,300,000 participants, but only 7,302 of those had reported injuries in that same year.  More specifically, that is .044% of injuries stemming from hunting in the year of 2013.  It’s important to note, that although there are in fact thousands of hunting related injuries per year, it is the ratio of injuries to total participants that matter most. The sport of Hunting with Firearms reported a significantly less percentage of injuries in comparison to other, more “safe” activities, such as: Bowling, Golf, Running/Jogging, Tennis and many others.

You must also consider that when you climb into a tree, you immediately set yourself at risk of falling from it. When you handle a gun, there is a risk you could shoot yourself if the proper safety mechanism on the gun is not used correctly. Likewise, if you drive a car, you are at the risk of another car plowing into you. You can find yourself at risk for injury sitting on a couch in your own living-room when suddenly a tree, once standing proudly in your yard, is found emerging through the walls of your house.

Every individual licensed to hunt has been educated about the dangers of hunting and instructed on how to use safety equipment, and they are at the mercy of circumstance if they choose not to adhere to safety guidelines – much like every other activity humans participate in.

3. “Dogs used for hunting are often kept chained or penned and are denied routine veterinary care such as vaccines and heart-worm medication. Some are lost during hunts and never found, whereas others are turned loose at the end of hunting season to fend for themselves and die of starvation or get struck by vehicles.”

Yes, this statement was pulled directly from the PETA website and is a real argument. I have, personally, never heard of this – but that’s not to say it does not happen. You cannot intellectually argue that all hunters carry this sort of unethical quality. Hunters generally respect animals, much like they respect their hunting dogs – this comes with the experience of personally forming bonds with the animals we hunt or raise for sport and developing an owe-inspiring appreciation for nature.  We should never be compared with those who do not uphold the same values. Those people are not respected individuals within our community.

4. “Even when unusual natural occurrences cause overpopulation, natural processes work to stabilize the group. Starvation and disease can be tragic, but they are nature’s way of ensuring that healthy, strong animals survive and maintain the strength of the rest of their herd or group.”

Anti-Hunters believe that animal herds grow stronger as a result of disease from overpopulation, but most of all wildlife that are not diseased or starving are generally healthy, strong animals at the start.

We seemingly both can agree that starvation and disease is the consequence of a population surplus – which is a normal process that occurs when a species is not controlled. However, we must also take into consideration the trickle-down effects of overpopulation.  A surplus of the whitetail deer herd, for example, is traumatizing to other animals within the same habitat, mainly because they decimate the primary food source that keeps many other species in existence.  In reality, the overall suffering populations face decrease with the presence of ethical hunters.

 
It is easy to find argument in anything you choose not to believe in. Animal cruelty is a horrendous act – most of us can at least agree to that.  We respect animals enough to not see the justice in their being imprisoned in a 4×4 space, while being grossly overfed and injected with hormones and antibiotics for the sake of human consumption. We want our meat to come from wildlife that had an opportunity to live life in their own natural habitat.

It is imperative for us, as respectable hunters, to try completely understanding opposing arguments.  We must stand united, respect the value in hunting and be fully prepared to rationally defend it – especially from those who make it their mission to exterminate the sport we all have come to love and cherish.

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Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bowhunters Pro-Staff/Staff-Writer
ADKbowhunters@yahoo.com
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5 Reasons You Will Not Kill A Turkey This Spring

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Most of us have been confined in our own homes, waiting for Winter to finally end. Binging on our favorite movies and TV shows have become a normal routine. We dread rising out of our warm beds, placing our feet on a freezing cold floor, transitioning to the chilled air as we head to work in the morning.  Finally, all of that has come to an end.  For some of us, the itch starts early.  Turkey season is just within our grasp but, we are thinking about it – wondering how the turkeys fared over the Winter months, wondering if you still have access to your prime hunting grounds.  For others, that excitement comes later as the temperatures rise and the sound of songbirds permeate through your still shuttered windows.

Any serious turkey hunter knows what I am talking about. The countless gear checks, hours of practicing with our calls and images of longbeards consume our thoughts, our money and our time. Yet, every year I speak to hunters who come home with a pocket full of tags and no bird to show for their efforts. If you are a successful whitetail hunter, you will understand that part of that success requires you to do your homework;  Scouting and understanding your quarry are just as important for turkey hunting success as they are for whitetails. Here are five of the most common mistakes that result in hunters coming home empty-handed:

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1.  You Do Not Scout

I know many hunters who prefer to “run-and-gun”, a method that involves walking around the woods and setting up once you have located a bird. However, to kill a turkey you need to hunt where they live. Can you kill a turkey without scouting? Sure.  But, you are greatly increasing your chance of returning home empty-handed. You will put on many more miles if you don’t have a decent idea of where the turkeys are residing. Get out there, set up where you can watch open fields and look for groups of turkeys. Take note of the times and locations that they frequent. Most importantly, go out the evening before the day you hunt and attempt to roost a bird. Use a locator call;  In the evening the best for most people would be an owl call. Once you locate a bird, get out early the next day and set up within calling range. Don’t forget your trail cameras, either. Most of us associate trail cams with deer season but, a well placed trail camera can give you a ton of valuable information on the location and times of turkey movements in your area.

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2.  You Over-call

In the beginning of my hunting career, I was guilty of making this mistake. I would locate an active bird and call every time he gobbled, or I would call to get a bearing on his location every five minutes.  This is where most turkey hunters blow the hunt.  Remember, every turkey has a personality. Some gobble at every cluck, purr and yelp and others don’t gobble at all. No matter the personality of the turkey you are hunting, over-calling can ruin your probability of bringing that bird within range. My ideology is simple:  The less you call, the quicker you are going to kill that bird. Once you have completed a calling sequence and that bird gobbles, he not only knows you are there but he also knows where you are.

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I find the most common reason over-calling occurs is when you have a hot bird gobbling at every sound you make. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and want to communicate every time you hear him. When that happens, most of the time the bird will simply stop making noise and move off – leaving hunters questioning what they did wrong. The other reason hunters tend to over-call is because they have a relatively quiet bird in vocal range.  He gobbles only a couple of times and you constantly want to know where he is. I have found in my experience that turkeys are naturally curious animals – calling them in is much like the dating scene. The more interest you show, the less interested they become. This can result in birds “hanging up” just out of your effective shooting range or moving off altogether. Simply put, make your presence known by calling them in conservatively and you will have more success.

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3. You Give Up

I can’t count the number of times I have blown a hunt by not displaying patience. I have had hunts end within minutes of legal shooting light and where I worked a single bird for most of the morning. Many times, I would work a bird that would go silent, only to move and spook it as he was making his way in undetected. Patience is key with turkey hunting and this virtue paired with finesse is a killer combination. There are many ways to work a hung up bird and there are a lot of ways to ruin a hunt on a bird who is silent. It is frustrating to have a longbeard gobbling relentlessly at 60 yards, and many people simply choose to believe that bird is not going to close the distance and give up. Be patient, don’t over-call, use that bird’s curiosity and you will leave your spot with a bird slung over your back.


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4. You Do Not Get Aggressive

Aggressive tactics are born from experience but that doesn’t mean you can’t get aggressive to improve your likelihood for success. Normally, being aggressive requires movement, so safety is key here.  This method is used when you have a strutting decoy, or even something as simple as a turkey fan, and you actually stalk that bird to within shooting range. It is very effective but also dangerous for obvious reasons – you need to know your target and if other hunters are in the area. Another aggressive tactic I use is to move away from a hung up bird. This ties back into the idea that the more interested you are, the less interested he is. If that bird hangs up out of visual range, try getting up and moving back 50 yards, reset and call again. Your gobbler will believe you are moving away from him and can result in him running into your setup. Get creative and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

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5. You Do Not Use Decoys

Growing up, my dad and I never used decoys to bag a longbeard. We would simply set up at the base of a tree and call a bird to within effective range. However, I was introduced to decoy tactics only a couple years ago and found that the benefits are hard to ignore. This spring, the use of decoys resulted in success that I would not have otherwise had. They are beneficial for a number of reasons and I believe they greatly raise your odds of killing a wise old tom. Decoys take the attention off of you and put it on the decoys themselves. This gives you more freedom in many ways. Nothing upsets a mature tom with hens more than a breeding pair of decoys setup in his home range;  I have personally witnessed this first-hand. On opening day, I had a strutting tom split from his hens and come within ten yards for that much anticipated kill-shot – strictly due to my setup. Had I not had used them, I am certain that hunt would have ended much differently. Learn how to set decoys up and you will not be disappointed.

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In closing, it is imperative to remember that no amount of advice can compare to experience in the field. Get out there, scout and watch how turkeys interact with each other. Go online and view the countless videos on turkey vocalizations. Learn your calls and know your gear. But, most importantly, have fun!  If you keep these tips in mind on your next hunt, it may make the difference between killing a bird and walking home empty-handed.

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Adam Valastro
Adirondack Bowhunters
Owner/Operator
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5 Scientific Reasons Women Hunters are Kick-Ass

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The hunting industry has been dominated by the male gender since, well… forever – and even yet still!  Slowly, women have found more of an interest in the world of hunting and have been making waves in the past decade.  Businesses that once supplied men-only outdoor amenities are now stocking pink camo and clothing tailored to fit the female physique.  More and more people are now recognizing hunting as being beneficial and not just a simple, ego-driven blood sport.  It’s actually fun!  And incredibly fulfilling.  So, how are these women hunters different than their male counterparts?  Let’s find out.

  1. WOMEN ARE KEEN SHOOTERS:  That’s right!  Turns out that the natural strength and width of our lower reign gives us women an all-time advantage when shooting firearms.  The unique structure of our body actually serves as a benefit in the standing position because it provides stability, and therefore better balance.  Our hips don’t lie – and neither do our shooting capabilities.
  1. WOMEN ARE EQUIPPED TO DISCOVER THEIR PREY THROUGH PERIPHERAL VISION:  Throughout the history of our species, we have long discovered that the male gender evolved their senses as hunters and women as gatherers.  A man’s vision is more tunnel visioned, having the ability to focus on one object at a time, whereas a woman’s sight is more prominent through her peripheral vision as she searched for vegetation.  In the treestand, however, this skill can serve as an extreme benefit.  Noticing a moving target from the far left or right can assist in the awareness of swaying trees or, better yet, aid in pinpointing your prey as it navigates towards you.
  1. WOMEN ENDURE PAIN: and pain is good;  At least to those who welcome it.  Toughing through the sting of a backpack strap digging into your shoulder as you hike up that brutal hill, or keeping perfectly still at that awkward position in the ground blind can prove burdensome for those with a lower threshold for pain.  Fortunately, women naturally have a higher tolerance to these uncomfortable situations due to their role in bearing children.  Ultimately, this ability comes in handy when you most need it – especially when the importance is high for you to focus as your prey draws closer.
  1.  WOMEN RESPECT THEIR HARVESTS:  Human emotion, more specifically related to empathy, offers a rewarding experience when harvesting your prey following a lengthy day of anticipation.  Our natural capability for intense emotion can emphasize the respect and appreciation one feels after that well-deserved kill.  We are fully aware that hunting is an honor and a privilege.
  1. WOMEN HAVE IMPECCABLE HEARING:  When we are born, our sense of hearing is equivalent to our male counterparts’.  As we age, however, it has been scientifically proven that men are generally five and a half times more likely to experience hearing loss, starting as early as even 20 years old. So, when that grand master buck is making his way towards you, or even if it is just that pesky little squirrel rummaging through the leaves, it could be argued that women may have the slight advantage of better hearing that first encounter – even if she can’t see it.

Now, this is not to say that women are superior hunters to men.  Quite the contrary!  The human male has been honing his skills since the very beginning of time, evolving him to become top-notch in his ability to harvest wild game.  However, it is apparent that women naturally have traits that contribute greatly to hunting, as well.  Females have come a long way – taking the once “norm” to a whole new level.  It’s easy to say we bring a certain amount of elite qualities into this world of hunting, making it a gratifying sport for everyone to enjoy.

Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bow Hunters Staff Writer/Pro-Staff
ADKbowhunters@yahoo.com
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The Ultimate Predator

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The solitude of profound silence is lost in the moment that the sun breaks over the Earth. Life suddenly fills the woods, awakening your primal senses and igniting the innate desire to harvest the most natural form of nourishment. This is survival of the fittest and you are the ultimate predator.

Our very existence requires the ability to evolve, adapt and overcome adversity. Hunting and gathering could easily be considered humanity’s most successful adaptation. Ingrained in every single human being is the ability to conquer defeat. The human mind has become so advanced, that hunting has come down to a science. If you want to be a better hunter, you go out and buy the most innovative technology that money can buy. Respectively, technology cannot replace the instinctual nature of the physical and mental components controlling the hunt.

The next step in optimal performance for the modern hunter lies in the advancement of one’s own physical fitness. You know that because you can feel it in the aching of your bones when you wake up in the morning and drag yourself to the breakfast table. You can feel it in your muscle fibers when you draw back your bow for that difficult shot at that buck you’ve been waiting for all season. You can feel it in the tightness of your chest, as the sweat drips from every pore; Every muscle burns as you drag that trophy buck home. You don’t want to be the guy driving his quad through the field in the middle of the rut, because you’re afraid that you won’t be able to make it home to your family if you have to put in the physical effort that it takes to drag home that 175 pound buck.

From the time you wake up in the morning to the moment you hit the pillow at night, if you’re going to hunt that day, you better earn it; Because it’s a privilege. You earn the solitude in the morning, the adrenaline of the shot, the excitement of the kill, and you earn that long drag home. Jim Rohn once said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

Too many American hunters let their health spiral out of control and it reflects in the restrictiveness of their hunt. By simply cleaning up your diet and incorporating a regular exercise routine, you can prevent serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes stemming from obesity. Endurance and strength will take a hunter’s effectiveness and performance in the field to the next level  allowing you not only to improve the quality of your hunt, but the quality of life: Because for those of us who are passionate hunters know that this isn’t just hunting – It’s a way of life.

This is survival of the fittest and you are the ultimate predator. Stop wishing you were younger; There’s wisdom in your years and wisdom is earned. Stop wishing you were stronger; Strength is also earned. Your greatest dreams are only wishes unless you put them into action – go out and take them. Greatness comes with great sacrifice and no one gets there by throwing pennies into a fountain – unless that fountain is filled with the sweat from your brow. The predator in you was born to be strong and resilient, but not without sacrifice. This isn’t just hunting and you’re not just a hunter – you’re an athlete.


Christi Stone
Adirondack Bow Hunters Pro-Staff
Adirondack Bow Hunters – Healthy Hunters Leader
Health/Fitness Professional

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The Beginning of Something Great – My Hunting Story

I’m currently a 27 year old female living in upstate New York.  I’d like to once again declare that I live in upstate New York – the city is about 4 hours South of my area.  I am surrounded by views of scenic mountains, rolling hills and colorful trees so picturesque that the sight would rob your lungs of air and heart of a beat.  Too many people, including my younger self, believe New York to be swallowed by the city – not understanding the true beauty the state really has to offer.  Now, if the politics were as pure, I’d certainly live in a paradise.  But, it’s my home now, and you have to take the bad with the good.

Delaware is my first home, and also the “first state” (for those of you who thought you knew what Delaware was but wasn’t sure).  Don’t feel bad – you’re not the only ones – we Delawareans get that a lot.  The running joke seems to be, “Dela-Where?”  Thank you, Wayne’s World.

I have two amazingly intelligent and delightful young children, one boy and one girl – Perfect!  And now the oven is turned off indefinitely.  I have a hard time wrapping my head around having more than two children – but parents have done it!   I don’t know how they have the time, but they make it work.  I bow to you.

Basically, I’m outgoing but reserved, I reside in my own head a great deal but I’m painfully observant, I tend to be open-minded in just about all scenarios, even to a fault (it’s almost impossible to have a solid opinion about anything when you can accept both sides of a story), and I have an infatuation with trying new things.

It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend, Adam Valastro, in the year 2011, that I was first indirectly introduced to the world of hunting.  Before him, hunting was something I saw people do as I switched channels on my television, or a sport I associated with anyone who wore camo.  I was completely oblivious to what hunting stood for.

Adam is a thoroughly devoted hunter.  As a matter of fact, for us to engage in dating, one out of the very few conditions he had was that I fully accept his hunting and absence during the seasons.  All I knew was that venison was a much healthier alternative to beef and I was all for storing copious amounts of meat in my freezer.  Done deal!

I was never forced to enter this world.  Quite frankly, I never cared for it.  I was a writer since a child – heavy into creative thinking and had more of an artistic way about me than an athletic one.  I didn’t grow up around mountains, forests, or fishing lakes and spent most of my time with a pen, paper and Walkman.  Hunting was his “thing” and at the time, music and artistry was mine.  We were free to be our own individuals, yet still enjoy each other’s time together.

One day I accompanied him and our good friend, Dave Howard, to a local archery shop where I fully intended to be somewhat of a cameraman during their archery practice.  As I followed the two around the building with our little video camera, I was stopped by the owner and asked if I had ever used a compound bow before.  Taken back, but curiously thrilled by his inquisition, I responded that I hadn’t.  The owner slipped away into the shadows as I’d imagine a ghost would.  A few minutes later he returned with what he called a “nice beginner’s bow” and next thing I knew I was shooting at targets along with everyone else.  He taught me correct form, did some tuning, and soon I was placing my arrows in tight groups at 20 yards.

At the time, I didn’t realize that archery was the beginning of a life chapter for me.  But, falling in love quickly with this little bow, I ended up spending most of my free time flinging arrows and practicing my form.  It had soon become the only sport I had ever tried up until this point that I thoroughly enjoyed – I was good.  Archery built a sort of confidence within me that I had only ever experienced previously with writing.

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It wasn’t until my girl friend approached me about joining her to take a hunter’s safety course that I ever considered using my skills to harvest an animal.  Much like the nature of my free-spirited being, I accepted her invitation.  Soon, we were both enthralled with learning about safety harnesses, conservation and kill shots.  When the course was complete and we were both certified hunters, we extended our knowledge base with attending a bow hunting course.  My once archery-only equipment was now going to be utilized to take the life of an animal.  I was intimidated but oddly excited.  I acquired my license and I was an official New York state hunter.

In the Fall of the 2014 opening weekend of archery whitetail season, Adam and I set out on my first journey as a new hunter.  This beautifully crisp afternoon was spent practicing our shots, interviewing the camera and fixing the camouflage of our previously set-up ground-blind.  We were ready, at least in the physical sense.  Mentally, I didn’t know what to expect.  Only about 45 minutes into our hunt, we were caught off guard.  A small, yearling doe was curiously making her way through our food plot – scoping out our location.  We had enough time to fix only one camera on the deer, and my adrenaline and uncontrollable breathing made the string feel almost impossible to pull back.  After the third try with my trusty little bow, I finally had her in position and the kill shot within my sight.  I released.  It didn’t feel right.  The arrow, seemingly headed for her lungs, instead flew smack dab between her brisket and shoulder blade completely severing her spine, puncturing a lung and she collapsed.  It was so sudden and the shot wasn’t at all what I had anticipated – mixed emotions coursed through my head as I watched her limp on the ground twitching as if having a fit of epilepsy.  All I could think was, Did I injure her?  Was it a quick death?  When I finally approached her, a feeling rose through me like I had never felt before, and continued in my memory long after.  The feeling I had sensed wasn’t of remorse, or sadness.  It was respect.  I had instantly developed an appreciation for this deer more than any animal I had ever encountered.  That’s when I knew I was a hunter.

I’m unsure if anyone has ever experienced a delay similar to mine with their first harvest, but it wasn’t until the next day that I felt the undeniable urge to be sitting in that ground blind – the torturous temptation to call off my work duties to go prepare for a last-minute hunt.  I wanted so bad to have that same day repeated again.  I was beyond question, irrevocably absorbed with the idea of constantly being in the woods.  My passion for hunting has grown heavy ever since.

Even as only an amateur, I have since retained precious memories, and have lived unforgettable moments sitting in the outdoors.  I have acquired ever-growing, life-long skills, felt excitement and longing as of a child, and I have reached deep inside of myself during my time spent with nature. The epiphany one develops that instantly creates a passion for this sport is one you cannot overlook – there exists a moment in your life, specifically while you are hunting, when you suddenly realize that this sport is not simply just a way of life – it is who you are.  Hunting is now who I am.

Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bow Hunters
Staff Writer
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Guest Blogger Julie McQueen – When Hunters Attack Hunters

We are honored to announce that our Adirondack Bowhunters blog will be hosting a very special guest this week – the beautiful and talented Julie McQueen.  Julie is the co-host of “Brotherhood Outdoors” on the Sportsman Channel (airing now on Sundays) along with her husband, Daniel Lee Martin. Her entry is a second take on the “The Fake Female Hunter VS The Real Female Hunter” blog post. While we both respect each other’s opinion, we would love this opportunity to see how YOU feel about the topic.

Follow our blog and “like” our Facebook page to follow us as we approach all things outdoors in the great Adirondacks!

Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bowhunters Staff-Writer

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Julie McQueen found her way into the hunting industry as a pro staffer back before any other girl had even tried. Even before that she made a name for herself in the fashion industry by working in Los Angeles, New York, and all over Europe. She just might be the only woman to fly from a photo shoot in France, land in the U.S., and climb directly into a tree stand. Her trophy collection speaks for itself, but she isn’t doing this to prove a point or to try to compete with the boys. She hunts simply because she loves it. She’s the co-host of “Brotherhood Outdoors” with her husband Daniel Lee Martin, which airs on Sportsman Channel Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. Julie and Daniel Lee motivate and inspire each other to work towards a common goal with their production company, Backstage & Backroads. Both are into maintaining a fit lifestyle to keep up with the high demand of their jobs, which involves lugging cameras over mountains to film that perfect shot. Learn more about America’s outdoor couple at Backstage & Backroads.
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WHEN HUNTERS ATTACK HUNTERS
By: Julie McQueen

Until recently I’ve only been defending myself against anti-hunters and people who don’t appreciate our hunting culture. I’ve been bullied and threatened, and they stop at nothing to bring negative energy into my world. The antis have even threatened to kill my dogs. I can defend myself against people who don’t agree with my lifestyle, and I even understand their point of view most of the time. It still stings a little when I read some of the things they say, but that’s a part of my world now.

The moments that hurt the most is when a hunter, conservationist, or pro-hunting personality does the same thing that anti-hunters are doing to us. It’s an inside job. It’s sad. And it happens more than what you might expect.

Recently a very popular outdoor television show host wrote a blog post that has gained some momentum. This person specifically mentions “sex-pot huntresses” and how they aren’t doing enough to be a positive role model for future generations. They are worried that these attractive women in the hunting industry might be focusing too much on their looks instead of being outdoorsy and well educated in the world of hunting and providing food for their families.

Typically, I wouldn’t take direct offense to a blog that someone posted if it didn’t include my name or my photo (which this one does not). We are all entitled to have our opinions. This person is directly insulting the female hunters who focus on their physical appearance. They specifically mention fake tans, counterfeit breasts, and changing hairstyles. I have all of those things, and I don’t feel good about being judged for it by somebody who should be on the same team as me. Why does their opinion matter when it comes to my physical appearance or how much time I devote to it? This person is influential to some of the same fan base that looks up to me. When they say these things about women in the outdoors, they are directly shaming those of us who enjoy taking care of our bodies, spray tan and all. That is the reason why this blog stood out to me. Public shaming.

I responded to this blog. I took my time and wrote a letter to the poster about how their words made me feel.  I’m still looking over it and making sure that this is a battle that I’m willing to fight. So far I have not made my response public, and I’m not sure yet that I ever will.

Keep in mind that if this person was an anti-hunter, or if they simply didn’t understand our culture, then I would let it pass by like water under the bridge. But this person is respected in our industry, which makes the words used sting even more.

The lessons to learn here are that we all live in glass houses. What we say might hurt someone who hasn’t done anything wrong. And don’t send an email or post something to the public until you’re positive that you won’t want to eat those words later.

The Real Female Hunter VS The Fake Female Hunter

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You see it all the time – photos of half-dressed women posing with a fully drawn compound bow, rifle or shotgun on any given social media platform. Sometimes the season is fitting, but other times there is snow on the ground and all you can think is – How are you not freezing?! They are normally the ones who have 5 separate accounts because all of their friend limits are capped.  Now, this could easily go in the direction of bashing these sort of women, but I’m going to give this article a twist. I am not a hateful person, nor do I intend to sound like one. After all, don’t the half-dressed already get enough attention? Lets support the real meat takers of the hunting world.

First and foremost, a real female hunter hunts. They look forward to the hunting seasons, they plan their days accordingly and they actually go out to their hunting spot and hunt. It is really as simple as that. As hunters, we participate in this sport for our own reasons. Some people strictly do it for the meat, others hunt just to get out of the house and experience nature. A little stress relief goes a long way in this world and being in the outdoors is a necessity for some to remain in touch with their sanity. Hunting is a part of us all, it was at the beginning and it is now. A real female hunter looks past all the social pressure of how a woman “should” be like, and does what her heart (and brain) tells her to do – hunt.

Real female hunters don’t look for attention of the wrong kind – they just want respect. A private message that starts off with something like “hello sexy girl” is a major turn-off. Yes, I did just type that verbatim from a message I received within the past two minutes. Also, you can’t forget the persistent guy who after the first attempt of “hello” doesn’t work, continues with “hi”. And when “hi” doesn’t get a response, the onslaught of messages emerge, “how are you” “hello?” “what color panties do you wear?” “hello?” “hey”.  A real female hunter wants a conversation that revolves more around a shared passion of hunting rather than a mindless conversation about herself and the color of her undergarments.  She wants to hear that the last kill she harvested was a stunning beast of a trophy!  She wants to share recipes and swap stories.  She does not want to get in bed with you.

A real female hunter hunts because they want to, not because everyone else likes it. This hunter looks forward to the season all-year round, excited like a child when Christmas finally shows. She’s got her backpack filled with everything she needs, she’s prepared to conquer her first kill of the season and she can’t wait to reconnect with the world in a way she wishes she could spend every moment of her life doing. She may be a bit downhearted when she is insulted for participating in a sport that she loves, but she is not turned away from it. It is a passion that can not easily be broken with the insults of ignorant spectators. A real female hunter looks forward to the hunt, not the attention a hunt can bring.

There are vast differences between the fake and the real female hunter, but please don’t get me wrong; Hunters are hunters – female, male, and of every sort of ethnicity. There are already enough misunderstandings in the world concerning our sport that there should never be any hate within it.  However, I think most of us can agree that the real female hunter deserves a spotlight in a male-dominated industry where she is otherwise hidden.

Heather Ballek
Adirondack Bow Hunters Staff Writer/Pro-Staff
ADKbowhunters@yahoo.com
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The “The Real Female Hunter VS The Fake Female Hunter” article was initially featured at http://www.adirondackbowhunters.blog.com/, but due to technical difficulties, the ADKBH blog has switched domains.