About the Extreme Huntress™ Contest
Are you a woman who hunts? Do you think you are the most hardcore woman huntress in the world? If you answered yes, then consider entering the Eye Of The Hunter™ Extreme Huntress Contest.
The contest winner will be named Extreme Huntress 2012 and she will be completely outfitted for a hunt of a lifetime. The winner will travel to Africa to hunt cape buffalo with Martin Pieters Safaris (Martin Pieters Safaris) in the Omay Concession, Zimbabwe. The hunt will be filmed for a future episode of Eye Of The Hunter™ airing Sunday at 7am on NBC Sports starting August 2012.
How to Enter the Contest
Applications are now closed for the 2012 contest and voting starts November 1.
A celebrity panel of judges will score the entries. The top ten scoring entries will be posted on the tahoefilms.com website for a public vote from November 1, 2011 through January 1, 2012. The winner will be introduced at the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Download the complete contest rules here.
Judges for 2012
Melissa Bachman is a producer and Co-host for outdoor television shows. Her job entails filming, editing and hunting for a living. This past year, she was in the field over 140 days and she loves every minute of it. Melissa’s dream job, however, didn’t come easy. Melissa graduated with a double major in TV Broadcasting and Spanish, but was turned away from jobs due to her, “lack of experience.” Melissa persevered and agreed to work for free at North American Hunter. It required a 150 mile daily commute, while also holding down a paying job. Her hard work paid off and Melissa was eventually offered a job as a full time producer at North American Hunter.
“The toughest part of my job is the physical aspect of filming on the run. Hunting in tough conditions is one thing, but filming is another. Hiking with over 60 pounds of gear through all types of weather and terrain can be downright grueling. But when everything comes together and its all captured on film, the sense of accomplishment is incredible.”
Hunting is a man’s sport. Well, no one told that to Vicki Cianciarulo when she started hunting nearly 20 years ago. From running an archery pro shop, setting up and tuning bows, her passion, her drive, and her success has earned the respect of every hunter out there. Vicki is not just another hunter, but rather a role model for millions of women & girls all over the globe. She has hunted more species than most men. Vicki is co-host of two of today’s top rated award winning hunting TV shows with her husband, Ralph Cianciarulo. These two have introduced millions of viewers to their very unique relationship and incredible hunting adventures on ARCHER’S CHOICE & THE CHOICE TV Shows that air on the Outdoor Channel. Plus, you have watched her on numerous other hunting shows and DVD’s. Many have seen her speak at seminars all across the USA.
Brittany Boddington grew up in Los Angeles and with the help of her father Craig she has found a love of the great outdoors and has turned her passions toward hunting around the globe. She has worked hard and been lucky enough to hunt all over the world and to her delight she spends the majority of the year living out of a suitcase. She now writes for several notable outdoor publications including Peterson’s Hunting Magazine, Sports A’field and Gun’s and Ammo and appears on the TV shows Tracks Across Africa and The American Huntress. Brittany is also on the board for Something More Safaris a non-profit organization dedicated to â€œhelping through hunting.
Rebecca Francis – Extreme Huntress 2010
Rebecca Francis was the first woman to win the title of Extreme Huntress in 2010. Winning the contest has been one of the most exciting things Rebecca has experienced. Since winning, she has participated in numerous live radio interviews and featured in several women’s outdoor publications. She writes outdoor articles and blogs for huntonly.com and bowhunting.net, plus contributes to several other hunting magazines. Currently, she is the co-host of Eye of the Hunter™ on NBC Sports/Versus.
Find out more about Rebecca
Angie Haas-Tenison – Extreme Huntress 2011
Angie won last year’s Extreme Huntress Contest (2011). You can check out her red stag and tahr hunt with Fraser Safaris New Zealand on NBC Sports/Versus or the Tahoe Films Video Chanel.
Find out more about Angie
Finalists for 2012
I was born in Alaska and have been so blessed to hunt this beautiful land. I am a successful business owner & the proud mother of 6 children. I have had many challenging adventures that have helped me become the person I am today. I have hunted remote places in Alaska like the Yentna River for Black Bear, the Wood River for Dall Sheep and Metal Creek Glacier for Mountain Goat to name a few. Hunting is my passion, I have been known to have a hard time containing myself when I harvest my much sought after animal! My friends call me the “One Shot Wonder.” I love to make amateur videos of my hunting escapades and play them in my office for our customers. They seem to love the Black Bear videos the best. It is most definitely because of my exciting stalks and animated reactions. I thought I had the most rewarding Black Bear hunt in 2007 when I shot one from only 50 yards away but I was in for even a more exciting hunting experience the following year. I was 9 months pregnant in June of 2008 and was visiting my father near Skwentna Alaska at his cabin only accessible by boat, snowmobile or plane. After trapping a giant porcupine that morning, I thought I would climb a tree in the middle of nowhere & wait for bears. Sure enough, the 3rd night up in the tree a nice Black Bear walked in about 40 yards in front of me and the rest is history. I was so excited to harvest that bear that evening. I have some incredible photos from that hunt showing off my bear and my big belly. I had my son soon after, I think that trip might have been a little much for him. From the most rugged of mountains to the fiercest of waters I have truly experienced challenge. I have learned what perseverance really means. My most recent hunt is a most coveted Mountain Goat tag which I drew near Marcus Baker Mountain. My friend Matt landed me atop a dangerous glacier on the morning of August 31st. The temperature was just under 40 °F and this is where I would spend the next 7 days. Setting up a so called base camp was difficult. Obviously no wood for fire and not a flat spot to be found for a tent. Huge bottomless crevasses surrounded me so every step must be a careful one. Despite the terrain and the weather conditions I was very spirited and hopeful. I had spotted a large Billy about 2000ft up the mountain about 3 ½ miles away. After about 6 ½ hours of climbing, the goat had escaped over the top of the peak. I made the decision to press on and go after another Billy down the mountain and up the side of another. Five hours later I was within 250 yards of him. I made a nice clean shot through the lungs and down he went. I had never experienced something so difficult and so rewarding at the same time. I was 5 miles from the tent in the mountains and I barely made it back alive. I am looking forward to having that Billy on my kitchen wall! When I heard about this contest I could not believe it! It has been a life long dream of mine to go on a Cape Buffalo hunt in Africa. I hope you enjoy my short story and pictures, wish I could send more!
It wasn’t until my most recent adventure that I realized how truly hardcore of a huntress I am. After eight days of climbing the unforgiving mountains of Alaska in search of my first Dall sheep I returned to base camp with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. Months of preparation and dreams of taking my first wild sheep with, now, only forty eight hours left to find a legal ram my hopes began to fade by the minute. With no shower, sore ankles and blistered feet from side hilling for days, aches and pains in my back from sleeping on rocky slopes tucked in out of the high winds and living off of freeze dried food and spam I felt like I was beginning to shut down, both mentally and physically. We had walked over twenty miles, climbed over forty six hundred vertical feet, rafted some ten miles of the Wood River, taken in some of the most breathtaking views but had yet to spot a mature ram.
While glassing a nearby mountain after a shower and decent meal I spotted a group of rams feeding. They were within a day’s hike but we had to move quickly as time was running out. I gave myself a quick convincing that I was tough and could do this and that this is what I had worked so hard for. As we began the over eight hour hike to the top of the mountain the sheep had fed over and out of view. Our only hope was to find them feeding or bedded on the opposite slope and that we did. After another couple of hours I was able to literally slide into position and take my shot at what I feel is the most beautiful creature on earth. Within seconds he was down and I was immediately overwhelmed with joy, excitement and compassion for the old mountain matriarch.
I feel this hunt changed me as a huntress in the sense that I had never had to dig so deep, never had to push so far to accomplish something so rewarding. Sure, I had hunted since before I could remember and had always had a deep love and respect for the outdoors but this was a feeling that simply could not be put into words. I felt like Super Woman, like I could do absolutely anything I set out to do in life.
All in all, it’s simple. I am a wife and a mother of two amazing little boys who also happen to share a passion for the outdoors. Through hunting I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places, experienced exotic cultures and made lifelong friends. As a member of Safari Club International, I have participated in their blue bag program and been able to give back and represent hunters in a positive way.
Hunting’s not a choice, but a heritage born within you. It’s what my Grandmother taught me from age four that I’m passing on to my boys. I’m a woman hunter from my heart, throughout my soul, in good times and bad, with others or alone. Hunting’s my escape, how I celebrate any mood, happy, sad, glad, or mad. My mind’s at ease from the moment I camo out. I dream of being in the field any time I’m not, constantly wondering what I’m missing.
I feel I’m doing as God intended, using his gracious gifts of food, taking part in the balance of nature. As hunters, we’re the only ones capable to speak and educate of this delicate balance, and protect our hunting rights to maintain it. We do so by passing on our hunting heritage to our families, most importantly children, our future. Our most important job’s promoting hunting positively to those opposed so they may see the importance. They must understand the need for population control for survival, the use of harvested animals as food to feed the hungry, the need to maintain stability between humans and animals, and the positive influence these have on all. Treating them with negativity creates more adversity to hunters everywhere, benefitting nobody.
I’ve been very successful harvesting many different animals, unguided and free-ranging. Most memorably the 2 week hunt for my 24&1/2″ wide 8, my first bow buck many said I’d never get with my bow, especially being a woman. I’ve shot a National Forest, Colorado 8 point Muley, 25″ wide and 22″ tall, by rifle, unguided! I was able to harvest a 31&1/2″ Aoudad, free range with a rifle, at 275 yards! I just recently accomplished another goal, a hog with my bow, and Axis with rifle.
Everyone should know hunting’s not always about harvesting an animal, but being a part of nature. My favorite thing to do is rattle. Nothing describes an angry buck bolting in to the sound of a fight, only it’s me, camouflaged out with horns and a grunt tube, luring him in, closer until he’s almost on top of me. It’s the increasing heartbeat, sweaty palms, and excitement rushing through my veins as he comes so close I can see his nostrils flare, smelling for the deer fighting, or the doe they’re after. It’s the bristling of the hair on his back as I grunt again, and the rare sound heard as he snort-wheezes to show how immensely angry he is. It’s the excitement felt ducking even further into brush and thrashing the horns into the bush as if making a rub, still drawing him in. Then, too close for comfort, it’s the accomplishment I feel ripping the mask off to reveal to him that I, a woman, lured him in beyond limits.
My style of hunting has been “do it yourself” on public land. I live in Montana a state with ample opportunity my weekends are spent camping and backpacking on the lookout for new areas to hunt, once hunting season arrives I hunt every day that work doesn’t interfere. I question if this is hard core, I guess I never thought about it in terms like that. I hunt like I do because it’s my way of life, and that is what it takes for me to be successful in the field. A day spent post holing through the snow in late December on a cat chase, a late November jet boat ride at minus ten degrees for whitetails, or breaking a bull down into packable chunks and putting one foot in front of the other to get him out. At the end of the day my passion brought me to this point and the reward is mine.
A few years back I broke my arm, tearing the ligaments and my first question posed to the surgeon was, “will I be able to shoot my bow again?” After 3 months of rehab, I was ready to start shooting again. I could barely shoot a kids bow, but I was determined to archery hunt again. My pain and frustration paid off with the harvest of not only my bull elk but a nice antelope buck and a mule deer buck. My successful season, attitude and determination were recognized by the Montana Bowhunters Association becoming the first woman recipient of the “Bow Hunter of the Year Award,” an award I am extremely honored but humbled to receive.
I’ve been very fortunate on past hunts harvesting many species from antelope, black bear, whitetail & mule deer, elk, turkey, big horn sheep and mountain lion. I am unable to name my favorite hunt or experience out in the field as they are each so unique and memorable for many different reasons.
The current season is still in progress at this point; I did find success in mid August on an archery antelope. A hunt that has become the traditional way my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. After missing a huge bull the first week out, I made a great shot on a 5 point bull the second week into hunting elk. I am now solely hunting deer and am enjoying my time out in the open spotting and stalking these incredible animals. This is what fuels my dreams and passion for each hunting season to come. As I write this I’m on my way to hunt deer for a week, Wish me luck.
Growing up I never spent a weekend where my mom, dad, brother and sister weren’t scouting for the coming season or chasing sheds from the ones we didn’t kill. Yep it’s true, it is a family affair with all the girls decked in camo just the same and continues to be.
My craving to hunt and find big game has followed me my whole life. Simply ask my husband which I met while we were both shooting in an archery league. We spent our whole courtship chasing down elk for his archery tag, on a unit I had spent years shed hunting. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, he knew how dedicated I am so the day I found the pictures on the trail camera of him kneeling with a ring box, I knew we had the best hunting team you could dream up.
Let me be clear on what I mean by hunting. I mean the 100% Do-it-Yourself hunting expeditions, where every ounce of sweat that I put in determines what I will kill in return. I work as a Wildland Firefighter, which means my 16 hours a day seven days a week job keeps me hiking and sleeping in the dirt. Most would think that after all of the mileage logged hiking for work that I would want to take the day off to rest . . .Never! That is simply when the sixty pound backpack goes from work gear to spotting scope, video camera, and the essentials. An essential meaning if it is pre-season scouting my 1 year old is going into the frame pack too, so the hike is no easy feat. I figure he made the hikes while I was pregnant; he is definitely going to see the view and wildlife first hand.
I can’t imagine a more rewarding feeling than your clothes are soaking wet, your calves are burning from the ascent, and the ten thousand foot elevation has you sucking for oxygen so bad you start to feel dizzy. Just then I reach the top, pull out my scope to see a grazing buck crest the skyline or the mist off a bull elk’s bugle. These are the moments that make all of the hard work worth it. It doesn’t matter if I get to be the one to squeeze the release or pull the trigger, or if I am another set of eyes to cover another canyon for someone else’s tag. Before the sun rises and well after it sets, behind the glass scouting, to the crack of the shot, and the intense packing out, there is nothing that will stand in my way. I am The Huntress and I can show you how a woman’s passion can take hunting to a whole new extreme!
Since plinking cans with a bb gun was so much fun, at the age of 16 a neighbor boy asked if I wanted to join him in taking the hunter’s education course; I agreed and shortly after getting certified, my step-dad took me to purchase a shotgun for September dove hunting… this was just the beginning of something incredible.
As a result of my parents’ divorce, my father and I had a strained relationship of which he felt could be strengthened by getting back-to-the-basics of the wild. Dad and I would ignorantly traipse through the mountains with the wind at our backs looking for deer. Even though we weren’t successful, time together revealed how wonderful the outdoors can be at rebuilding our father/daughter bond.
My life changed in 1998 when dad asked if I’d join him on an African safari; without hesitation I screamed Ã¢â‚¬Å“yesÃ¢â‚¬ ! During this safari I discovered the important role hunters play in wildlife conservation, the preservation of habitat and how much hunters give to the indigenous people of which ultimately moved my heart.
In the last 13 years my world has revolved around hunting, but for me it’s so much more than the kill. I’ve been scared for my life by wounded lion, nearly killed by a green mamba, sprinted through the brutal Alaskan rain on ankle-spraining tussocks, faced charging elephants, walked 100 miles in 125 ° temperatures, held a gun on poachers until authorities arrived, participated tribal voodoo ceremonies, ate goat-tongue sandwiches, and hunted Cape buffalo through a field of landmines all as a result of where my hunting adventures have taken me.
Even though my hunts have been extreme and terrifyingly exhilarating, there is a greater reward to hunting. Because of time spent with precious children in the AIDS orphanage and the countless opportunities I’ve had to share in nature’s bounty, my eyes have been opened to the critical role hunters’ play in the entire circle of life.
Consequently, I have devoted my life to advocating for the rights of hunters. I saw such an opportunity to do so by running for Mrs. Nebraska, America; to my surprise I won and began championing my platform of the pro-hunting stance to a broader audience. Years have passed since I wore the crown, but each day I strive to represent the hunter in a positive way.
As a hunting consultant I have made hunting my profession, but for me, hunting is a lifestyle â€œ it’s what I do in my spare time, what I save every penny for, and what I dream of at night.
From a non-hunter to a huntress, I embrace any challenge with focus and determination â€œ be it an ibex atop a mountain, an angry anti-hunter, or a person on-the-fence, one extreme challenge at a time I will persevere.
I’m a lil’ southern country girl from Louisiana. My introduction to hunting came at a young age, when my brother would stick me in a blind while duck hunting. Once I learned how to shoot a shotgun I became hooked. My brother and I would hunt before school and in the evenings. I soon learned that this was just the beginning and it was the best freedom I could ever experience.
Over the years my love for hunting matured and the excitement became so unbearable that after college I uprooted myself and decided to move to the Rocky Mountains to have more of an opportunity to hunt big game animals with rifles and archery as well.
I can only try to create for you the heart thumping feeling that generates deep down inside of me when the start of hunting season arises. At first glance I don’t appear to be the average female hunter; my physique is pretty tiny but I have underlying strength that comes from my love of hunting.
I am overcome with sensations that I could never have imagined when I begin hunting season and especially when I pick up a bow. I started to have a burning desire during hunting season. It is a feeling of the raw outdoors that can sometimes be overwhelming. My teeth chatter with adrenalin, my hands shake with anxiety and my smile overlays my face while hunting any game. Before any hunting excursions, I have to bring crackers and a soda because my nerves are so excited that it makes me sick to my stomach. It is an uncontrollable feeling that I have never felt in my life. I have to remind myself to breathe and remain calm so I don’t pass out or hyperventilate. It has become such an obsession that my whole life revolves around hunting. When my friends and family call to visit, the first questions are not how I am; they ask what have I hunted lately?
Hunting season is a year-round sport for me. I am constantly looking for avenues where I can increase my hunting skills. My scheduled vacation and sick days are all used for archery season. Fever or no fever I will be at work so I do not jeopardize any hunting time. My favorite colors consist of camouflage and that goes down from my clothing, bikinis, to my pickup, dog collars, wrapping paper, and even what you should expect from me for Christmas.
My avid love for hunting doesn’t just stop with the hunt itself; I am also a member of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association, and North American Hunting Club. I also participate in the local woman’s softball league and golf tournaments that work with multiple outdoor-related charity foundations.
When not in college, I am hunting. When it’s not a hunting season I am preparing for my next hunt. In twenty-two years, I have gone to Africa five times, British Columbia, Idaho, and the surrounding states of Arkansas. I’ve taken the African Big Five by 21, along with a huge crocodile, zebra, kudu, gemsbok, two Cape buffalo, mountain lion, black bear, and countless white-tailed deer and turkey.
I started hunting at age 9, not knowing I would be so passionate about hunting at such a young age. I love traveling with my father. My dad asks me every year why I put myself in such harsh conditions; it’s because I love being challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally. Hiking up treacherous mountains for cougars, fighting mosquito’s in the snow in British Columbia for black bears, and walking twenty-five miles in five days in pursuit cape buffalo takes a lot of passion and patience.
My first dangerous game hunt was at thirteen and I was on my way to Idaho for a mountain lion. On the second afternoon, we saw a track that was worth following so the guide set the dogs loose and we followed them until it got dark. After a full nights rest, we set back out early the next morning. After treeing the huge cat twice, we finally got to the tree where the cougar was. I positioned my rifle as the guide explained to me where to shoot through the branches. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. The mountain lion was motionless. I shot the cat in the heart and it died instantly. We had to build a fire to keep warm while a few of the guys with us went to find a chainsaw. That hunt triggered my love for dangerous game hunting.
After three days of tracking elephants, we took a rest on a few rocks to catch our breath and get hydrated. Chatting about heading back to camp, we heard elephants trumpeting 200 yards away. We quickly got back on our feet and quietly headed towards the herd. We found an old PAC (Problem Animal Control) cow just outside of the herd. I set up the shooting sticks, put the crosshairs in between the eyes, and squeezed the trigger. While reloading quickly for another shot, I saw the elephant was down. One shot kill. Thirty minutes after the shot, villagers started coming from all directions. Their village hadn’t seen meat in over five years, and they knew this elephant was theirs. As they were cutting piece by piece of the elephant, I stood back to take in all that was happening. At that moment, it wasn’t about the shot placement or all the miles we hiked that day, it was about helping people who needed food and the joy it brought to my heart as well as theirs.
Hunting to me is not just a hobby and a passion, but a way of life. I started hunting when I was 12 as a way to spend more time with my dad out in the mountains, but it quickly became much more than that.
The first animal I ever harvested was an elk. I knew that that is what I had been practicing for and, just like everything else I did, had to prove that I could do it just as good as the guys. I tell myself “Concentrate, breath, squeeze the trigger.” Complete silence engulfed me as I saw the elk tip over. As I started becoming aware of my surroundings again, I realized everyone was shouting with joy, patting my back, and shaking my hand with congratulations of my first elk. A moment I will never forget.
The more I hunted, the more I liked it. I soon started looking for elk, deer, moose, antelope, or anything else I could see, every time I drove down the road. I’d spend my nights and mornings, come late summer, out with my spotting scope and binoculars scouting the hillsides. After hearing many stories from my dad, I thought I’d try my hand at archery hunting. My first experience of being in a herd and hearing elk calling all around me brought me a whole new feeling of excitement and a need to try again. My hobby of hunting quickly turned into a passion. This passion brought me my first bull elk with my bow.
I started a job at Upper Canyon Outfitters, a local guest ranch where I worked as a wrangler in the summers, when I was 16. I began guiding hunters there when I turned 18. To be in a place where I get to hunt nearly every day, helping someone else fulfill their dream of a Montana hunt, getting to know other guides, learning continuously from their experiences, and to come home at the end of the day and hear everyone’s stories is something that is most hunters’ dream. A dream that I get to live every day.
Fall is always my favorite time of year for one reason, hunting. The changing temperatures always tell me that the elk will soon be bugling and, with that, the season will open. This year, just before archery season opened, my horse kicked me in my knee and at the hospital was told I would be out for at least six weeks after the surgery I would need. My heart sank as I realized hunting was out of the question for this season. On the bright side I am supposed to make a full recovery and be good as new for next year. In the mean time, I will be working in the office at the ranch and still get to scout from the truck and hear the stories at the end of the day. Hunting is, and will always be, a major part of my life.
I believe being Extreme comes from Extreme events. Being an Extreme Huntress has really nothing to do with your weapons and camo, great photographers and plane tickets. It has to do with your relationship to nature and hers to you. How well do you know her? I’ve always hunted alone, but scouted for hours on end with my brother, Tosh. No one else in the family hunted. We taught ourselves in the deep, dark woods of central Louisiana where the Ouachita River bends South. We lived in a isolated deer camp there, but were too young then, 9 and 11, to ask why. We know now. We spent every waking hour in the deep woods away from “home”. We walked, listened and learned. We used the wind and ground cover as our hunting gear, and scrapes and trails to determine movement. Our motto was “Stay up-wind, back -track , be quiet. Unload three times in the air if you need me, and I’ll be there”. We became the woods. It was common to walk up on sleeping deer or them walk within feet of us. Being still and bringing the wild in close became a game, but at times, a dangerous one. Once, two wild boar once found me shooting them both balancing with one foot in a tree, and years later, I accidentally walked up on a momma grizzly and her two cubs in Banff. Still don’t know why she let me go, but with a strong “Huff”, she redirected my path.
Being Extreme is witnessing nature in its purest form and knowing how to take from her with the only means you have. I took my first buck at nine years old with a single shot 20-gauge. He was running, so I aimed high and in front knowing (my brother taught me) that the weight of this ammo would drop . It did and so did the deer. We counted twelve pellets that entered at the shoulder. Again, It was the only gun we had, but we learned how to use it. Being Extreme is not the number you kill but the number of times you take the right shot. Being Extreme is knowing how to get close to nature and knowing when to exit. Being Extreme is not only something you do in the wild, it is something you do everyday. Today, I’m 2000 miles away from that Louisiana deer camp, working on my second degree, and my work finds me as a Psychiatric ER Nurse talking people down from ledges, taking them by the hand and leading them back to reality. Being Extreme is knowing the way. When I’m not working, I’m in the woods or on a mountain in search of what nature still has to teach me about myself and my hunt. But I know now more than ever, that despite the big hunts, rifles and exotic places I’ve been, that it was none of these that made me Extreme. It was nature, herself.
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Rebecca Francis – Extreme Huntress 2010
Watch Becky’s hunt for mountain goat in British Columbia with Calamity Creek Guides and Outfitters.
Angie Haas-Tenison – Extreme Huntress 2011
Watch Angie’s hunt in New Zealand for red stag with Fraser Safaris New Zealand.