Bass Fishing on the Snake River

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get out on the Snake River and try bass fishing for the first time.  It was so much fun and I caught my first bass!

first-bass country huntress

The Snake River in Washington is incredibly beautiful.  I was lucky enough to go to school near there, so it was the spot to go in the summer.  Little did I know I was missing out on some great bass fishing all those years!

bass fishing snake river

I went to visit my friend and her family who had a place along the river.  Talk about a relaxing way to spend your weekend!  No cell service, just the great outdoors and good company.

Click below to see a ton of pictures (including bighorn sheep!) and read my story of bass fishing on the Snake River!

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Whale Watching in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

humpback whale

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have my first whale watching experience!  I was even more lucky to enjoy it with family on my uncle’s boat.  It was an incredible couple of hours seeing several orca pods and humpback whales.

killer whale

We headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a channel that runs between southern Vancouver Island, Canada and the northern Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  We had been out the day before and didn’t see anything, but heard guys at the dock later saying they saw orca pods two separate times.  We were really hoping we’d have better luck this time out.  After a few minutes of looking around, we saw the first dorsal fin come out of the water.

killer whale
It was by far one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.  The sheer size of these whales is enough to leave you speechless!

Click below to see a ton of pictures of orcas (even a baby!) and humpback whales!

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2016 Hunting and Fishing Goals

Country Huntress Goals

Another year means another set of goals!  It’s a little late, but here are my  hunting and fishing goals for 2016.

01. Get in shape
Like last year, this is my main goal.  I’m already off to a good start!  I signed up for a 5k in March that has kept me training consistently.  I also plan to get into weight lifting to help me build arm strength for bow hunting.

02.  Buy a bow and practice weekly
I’m hoping to be able to buy my first bow in the next month!  I have a friend who is willing to join the same shooting range with me so we can go practice together.

03.  Shoot my first buck
Last year, I shot my first deer which was a doe.  This year, I hope to shoot my first buck!

04.  Hike and scout more
Living in a new area, I have a lot to do to learn the land around me.  I plan on looking into public land around here to then go out and hike/scout.  Hopefully I can find some decent public land spots around me.

05.  Learn how to use my elk call and get out for elk season
One of my presents for Christmas was an elk call which I’m so excited about!  Now I need to learn how to use it because I’m sure the sound I’m making is NOT right.  I hope I can get out for an elk hunt too!

06.  Cook more wild game recipes
I’m going to steal from the Deerslayer’s Wife here and add that I want to be more adventurous in my cooking!  I’ve got a good chunk of deer meat left that I need to think of great recipes to cook it with, I’m excited!

07.  Find a good, local spot to fish
I really want to get out fishing more this year.  My goal is to find a spot near me that’s good for fishing that I can go to often.

08.  Go duck hunting and get my first duck
I’m hoping to attend a Waterfowl class this year, put together by Washington Outdoor’s Women.  Since the timing never worked out last year, my brother has promised to get me out a couple times this year.

09. Go upland bird hunting
This may require me to head back toward the area I used to live, but I’d love to get out for grouse or pheasant hunting this year.

10.  Get involved and volunteer with a conservation group
I’m really hoping to get more involved with conservation groups this year.  I’m attending some events, but I’d love to be able to volunteer and help out with their conservation efforts.

Hopefully I’ll be able to mark the majority of these off at the end of the year!  My main goals are to get into bow hunting, go elk hunting, and volunteer with a conservation group.

Most importantly, I just want to enjoy the year and get out to enjoy the outdoors more.  I can’t wait for it to be spring so I can get back outside!  I miss the sunshine!

Do you have any big goals you’re hoping to achieve?  Share them below!

A Look Back At 2015

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe it’s already 2016!  I don’t know about you but last year went by in a flash.  I hope everyone had a great holiday with family and friends!

It’s crazy to have my first year of this blog in the books.

Country Huntress 2015

I thought it’d be fun to do a look back at the 10 most popular posts from the last year… so here we go!  (Click any of the titles to read the posts!)

  1. The Value of Female Hunters
    Remember when a man working a booth at a hunting expo ignored me and focused his attention on my male friend?  This was an unexpected post I never thought I’d be writing, but I loved all your comments and learning about the experiences other females have gone through being in the male dominated hunting world.
  2. Huntress – What’s In A Name?
    The word huntress — surprisingly debated in the hunting world.  I personally like it, how else would you know a lady ran this blog if I just called it Country Hunter?  Again, it was great to see how other women view the word and what they like being called!  Regardless if you love it or hate it, we should support all female hunters.San Juans Sunrise
  3. Salmon Fishing in The San Juans
    This was a lovely trip to the San Juans and I was lucky enough to catch my  first salmon.  The backdrop was absolutely gorgeous!  I actually have several pictures from this trip framed in my room.
  4. Washington Outdoor’s Women – Duck Hunting
    One of my posts from the women’s retreat I attended last year.  I learned so much about duck hunting and met some great women.  I’m looking forward to going to their duck hunting workshop this spring!Oregon Coast Surf Fishing Sunset
  5. Surf Fishing on the Oregon Coast
    This was a great experience learning about surf fishing.  Not sure when I’ll get the chance to do it again, but it was definitely cool to see.  It was another weekend that had gorgeous sunsets for the backdrop.
  6. Washington Outdoor Retreat – Day 1
    What a great weekend, I encourage any women in Washington to attend this next year.  If you live in another state, see if there’s a similar retreat for women that takes place!  I’m definitely planning on going again this year!
  7. Shooting My 1st Deer
    I’m so happy I was able to make this post this year.  I shot my first deer and learned so much that I’ll carry with me every hunting season forward.From Field To Plate
  8. From Field To Plate
    My delicious first meal I cooked with the venison meat that I was taught to butcher myself!  I promise I’m posting that recipe next, it was so good!
  9. Failure To Launch: Learning How To Fish
    This makes me laugh this is one of the more popular posts I had last year.  My somewhat embarrassing first moment of learning to fish at night.  I’ve grown a lot since then and now enjoy night fishing!
  10. Taking A Woman Hunting?  Avoid These Mistakes!
    A great read for men who plan on taking a woman out to hunt for the first time!  I’ve definitely had my own experiences that sound like what’s listed in the article.  How you act on a woman’s first hunt can definitely shape how she sees hunting and if she’ll keep her interest.

Thanks for reading along as I continue to learn more about the world of hunting.  Thanks to everyone who helped make some of these posts possible!

Here’s to a great 2016!

What was your best hunting moment of 2015?  Share below!

Washington Outdoor Women’s Retreat – Day 1

IMG_8016

Driving up to camp, I had no idea what to expect.  They gave us a list of what to pack and a rough outline of the weekend, but nothing about what would happen once we were actually there.  I was greeted by women on the WOW team and directed to park in a field with all the other cars.

As I began gathering my stuff, I noticed a couple girls walking toward camp with only a backpack that had their sleeping bag attached at the bottom.  Now I don’t think that I’m someone who needs a lot of stuff for a weekend, but the list they gave us included a lot of items I wouldn’t normally bring.  I had about three bags for clothes, sleeping stuff, and my day pack with hunting boots in there.

As I was closing my trunk, another girl walked by with several bags and said, “Oh thank god someone else actually brought a lot of stuff with them!”  We walked over to the main barn to pick up our welcome packets.  It was both our first times at the retreat, so it was nice having someone else to be somewhat clueless with.

We picked up our packets and were told to go find a cabin with an open bed.  After talking to the girl more, we realized we went to the same college and both loved Bob Seger which meant we became fast friends, or as we affectionately called each other—buddy.

It was interesting, even though I’m in my late-20s at a camp with women of all ages, it felt like being a kid again going back to camp.  The same thoughts went through your head… will people like me, where will I sleep, I hope there are cool people in my cabin, who will I eat with in the dining hall?

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WOW Weekend Success!

Clockwise: Washington Outdoor Women, my two arrows in the yellow, my shot at the bear target, skinning a duck to get the breast meat.

Before I make several big, long posts about the amazing weekend I had at the Washington Outdoor Women fall retreat, I just wanted to quickly post about how great of a time I had. 

I highly encourage every woman to look for something similar in their state. I know when I googled it before, several of these groups came up in different states.

Not only did I learn some great skills during the three workshops, I met wonderful women with shared interests in hunting and fishing. It was refreshing to be able to talk about it with a group of women who all understand the same love of the outdoors. 

I’m not sure exactly what my expectations were for this weekend, but I do know this far exceeded any expectations I had. It was a weekend I didn’t want to end and won’t soon forget. I’m already planning the workshops I’ll sign up for next year. 

I’ll be making my first long post full of pictures on Wednesday. I’m excited to share some of what I learned on here. 

P.S. I fell in love with shooting a bow, I can’t wait to get my own bow and head out for archery season next year!

Surf Fishing on the Oregon Coast

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

Surf Fishing Sunset

I spent my weekend on the Oregon coast and got to experience surf fishing for the first time.  Quite the change from fishing on a quiet lake!

I was given the homework to learn how to tie an improved clinch knot before the trip.  The night before we headed out, I helped get the poles ready and tied a couple of knots.  I was definitely slower at making my knots than my friend, but the lines held up in the ocean current so it worked!

You need to get a ways out there in the waves to get the line far enough, a bit too far in the ocean for my liking.  So I stood back on the beach and took pictures/hoped waves wouldn’t knock him over!

Surf Fishing Sunset

Oregon Coast Surf Fishing Sunset

Surf Fishing Sunset

Surf Fishing Sunset

Oregon Coast Surf Fishing Sunset

Oregon Coast Surf Fishing

surf fishing oregon coast

Toward the end, he had me try to cast the line out once.  It was a ten foot pole and not the easiest to cast out as you’re trying to keep your balance with waves hitting your legs.  You definitely had to stand in a power stance to keep your balance.

Reeling the line back in with the current was also a little difficult.  A lot of line went out so it took awhile to reel it all back in.  It was definitely fun and I’d love to try it again!

He had one bite on the line.  He said it felt big, quickly brought the rod down then left with the bait.  It could’ve been anything swimming out in that ocean, part of what scares me about surf fishing.  I wouldn’t want to reel in a shark!

Oregon Coast Panoramic

It was an absolutely beautiful night after raining all day.  So enjoy the many pictures I took of the waves and sunset.

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Waves

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Waves

Oregon Coast Sunset

Oregon Coast Waves

Oregon Coast Waves

Oregon Coast Waves

Salmon Fishing Pt. 2

During our salmon fishing trip in the San Juans, we caught a couple of fish that I wasn’t expecting to catch—a dogfish!  Basically a little shark.

Dogfish caught

San Juans Dogfish

San Juans Dogfish

We caught two dogfish that day and it was really interesting to see them up close.  Both had completely different markings.  We looked at them, took pictures, then threw them back in the water.

Here are more pictures from that weekend.  It was a beautiful day from start to end!

San Juans Sunrise

San Juans Salmon Fishing Reel

San Juans Panoromic

San Juans Salmon Fishing

San Juans Sunrise

Salmon Fishing in the San Juans

  
This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to go salmon fishing in the San Juan islands.  It was my first experience with salt water fishing, completely different from what I’ve done before!

We started the morning on the water at 5:30am and went to pick up another couple heading out with us.  It was a beautiful morning—calm water, perfect temperature, and beyond stunning surroundings.

We started trolling an area with one other boat, there were three lines in the water.  Three of us were new to salmon fishing so we decided to take turns with who would reel in the lines.  I was standing in the back to watch the lines and take pictures, it was a breathtaking view.

 
I noticed one of the lines starting to bob up and down and mentioned I thought a fish was on the line.  They yelled to grab it, but being totally honest, I froze up a little.  I knew this was expensive fishing gear and I had the worry I’d either mess something up or drop the pole in the water to never be seen again.

The main guy taking us out came back and got the pole then handed it to me while saying, “Reel!!”  Having only reeled in small catfish in a tiny lake, reeling in a bigger fish with a current was a bit harder.  I reeled and eventually got the fish to the surface, several yards behind the boat.

It was a salmon!  I kept reeling as he got the net ready to scoop up the fish.  I was worried the salmon might get off the line as it got near the boat, but it was close enough for him to net it and get it into the boat.

My first pink salmon!

 
We spent the day on the water trolling for more salmon.  One more was caught that day.  A few made it on the line but were lost.  It was an incredibly fun day. 

 
I also caught another first, but I’ll post about that next week.  Here’s a hint, you can only catch it out in salt water!

Women’s Outdoor Retreats

Women’s outdoor retreats, a weekend geared toward women learning new skills in the great outdoors. This year, I’m attending the Washington Outdoor Women’s weekend workshop to learn new hunting and fishing skills. I’m really excited!

Here is a snapshot of some of the workshops offered this year.

Through the course of the weekend, you take three workshops. I’m hoping to take archery, duck hunting, and fly fishing. Regardless of what I’m able to take (workshops can fill up and you get your second or third choice), I’m really looking forward to learning new things in the world of hunting and fishing! 

I’m also really looking forward to meeting other female hunters. Part of the reason I started this blog was to connect with women hunters and hear their stories. It’s great that there’s an event in my area that allows me to meet several other women also interested in the outdoors.

Check to see if your state has a similar weekend. My quick google search showed similar retreats in several other states.

I can’t wait for September! A great event to kick off hunting season.

Have you ever attended a women’s outdoor retreat? Did you like it? Share your experience below!