Farewell 2016

Just like that another year comes to an end.  It seems like it was mere months ago we were ringing in 2016 , but now it seems everyone is collectively happy to see it go.

country huntress 2016

It was quite the year, full of ups and downs, beginnings and ends.  I made a lot of goals at the beginning of the year, and unfortunately most of them went unaccomplished.  Many never even started.

Still, I managed to get outdoors as much as possible and had a good year, full of firsts.

I was the first woman in my group to shoot a clay pigeon during a women’s only Duck Hunting 101 workshop.  I learned more about duck hunting and had a great time bonding with other women!

duck hunting 101

I traveled to Texas for the first time and fell in love with the culture and food.  I can’t wait to get back next year and explore the state more!

texas sunset

I cooked several venison recipes for the first time.  From delicious chili, to mouth watering venison bacon burgers, hearty venison stew, to amazing venison Wellington, I feel like I’ve conquered how to cook this wild game meat that just over a year ago I’d never used before.

venison recipes
I saw my first orca and humpback whale in the wild.  It was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget.

humpback whale

I fly fished on a river for the first time, in the pouring rain, and absolutely loved it!  I haven’t had time to write that post yet, but it’s coming soon.  I’m already planning on when I can get out on the water to try fly fishing on my own.

fly fishing washington outdoor women
I bass fished along the Snake River and caught my first bass in one of the most breathtaking backdrops.

bass fishing snake river
I became a volunteer with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the first of hopefully many years.  Another post that hasn’t yet been written because this happened recently.  I’ve had an itch to get involved with an organization I believe in and RMEF is the one that kept coming to mind.  Their support of the Washington Outdoor Women retreats really impressed me.  As well as their conservation efforts.  I’m looking forward to being more involved with them as a volunteer.

rocky mountain elk foundation member
So overall, it was still a pretty great year with what I was able to make happen.  It might’ve taken little to no sleep to do most of those things, but they were worth it!

The best news of 2016 by far is getting a new job and returning to a normal schedule.  It’s what allowed me to be able to volunteer with RMEF.  After almost a year and a half of a night schedule, my body was starting to revolt against the few hours of sleep turnaround to then go spend the day being active.  So this new job really came at the right time.  It’s why this blog kind of fell by the wayside.  I knew with how busy I was a few things weren’t going to be able to happen.

I’m still getting used to going back to a normal schedule, but my plan for the New Year is to be back to my weekly posts.  A lot happened this past year that’s still waiting to be written.  Thank you to all the readers who have stuck around, it does mean a lot!

killer whale olympics

So instead of writing out a list of goals for 2017, my one goal is simple.

Get outside doing what I love as much as possible.

That’s it.

Every morning as I drive to work, I cross the Ship Canal Bridge.  The lights of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle shimmer behind Lake Union to my right, and I always find myself looking to the left, to see the mountains in the distance with the first rays of sunlight peaking out from behind them.  The quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go,” is true.  And in 2017, I will go.  As much as I can.

mt rainier

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Representing Women in the Outdoors

If you haven’t seen it yet, the latest issue of Field and Stream features female hunter Mia Anstine on the cover.

mia anstine field and stream

I was really excited to see this.  Mia’s blog was one of the first blogs I found when I was getting into hunting so it’s great seeing her gracing the cover.  Plus, there are 10 other women making a difference in the outdoors inside the issue!

Did you know there have only been 3 women on the cover of Field and Stream in the history of the magazine?  The first, Queen Elizabeth in 1976.  The second, Eva Shockey in 2014.  And now the third, Mia Anstine in 2016.  While it’s small number, I’m glad it only took years for this to happen again instead of decades.

Representation is so important.  Seeing a magazine full of strong women in the outdoors makes me really happy.  When I was younger, I never saw hunting as something I could do.   Field and Stream magazines were always around the house growing up, but I never saw a woman on the cover.  I never looked at the magazine and thought, “hey, that could be me one day!”

Growing up exploring the outdoors

Growing up exploring the outdoors

Now, no one ever said I couldn’t hunt when I was younger.  Not even my dad or brothers said I couldn’t join them.  I just didn’t know any women who hunted nor had I seen a picture of a female hunting so it seemed off limits to me.  Now this doesn’t mean I grew up a girly girl either.  At my brother’s wedding last month, his best friend even told people there, “You wouldn’t believe how much of a tomboy Jen used to be growing up!”

Looking back on it, I wanted to be a lot of female characters I saw.  I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wanted to be April O’Neil.  I always chose Sonya when playing Mortal Kombat on Sega because she was my favorite from the movie.  I loved Sam on the sitcom Step By Step because she worked on cars and was also a tomboy.  Do you see where I’m going here?  In movies and shows, some geared for boys, I always identified with the women.  I’m sure there’s a fancy psychological term and explanation behind that but that’s out of my realm of expertise.  What I do know is the females that young girls see in media are important.

I often wonder what would’ve happened had I seen a woman on the cover of my dad’s hunting magazines.  Would I have told my dad I wanted to be a girl like that one day?  I guess I’ll never know.  But I hope that there are little girls who have seen either Eva Shockey or Mia Anstine on the covers and told their parents they want to be like that one day.

mia anstine field and stream

That’s why representation is so important—all it takes is one picture to open a whole new world to a child and create a new passion.  More and more women are being highlighted for their accomplishments in the outdoors and it’s amazing to see.  I hope by the time I have kids, females being represented in the outdoors is the norm.  Because I sure could’ve used it when I was a little girl.

Summer Summer Summertime!

It’s been awhile but I’m back!

It’s been an incredibly busy last few months but things are finally settling down and I can’t wait to get back to posting on this blog!  I’ve got so many post ideas waiting to write!

Here’s a quick recap of what’s gone on in my life while I’ve been gone.

Trip to Texas!

Trip to Texas!

I traveled to Texas and fell in love with the Lone Star state!  Expect a full post on my trip with pictures galore!  The food was amazing, people were so kind, and the state itself beautiful.  I’m already planning my next trip back!  Also, hunting is so cheap there compared to Washington!

Weddings and moving!

Weddings and moving!

And the real reason I’ve been so incredibly busy the last couple months, I was a bridesmaid in two weddings and moved!  Both weddings were absolutely beautiful and I’m so grateful I was able to be apart of both their days.  Moving was stressful, but I love the new place I’m in.  So with all of that behind me, my attention can be back on this blog and getting outdoors!

I got back in the kitchen this weekend and grilled some venison bacon burgers!  Expect the recipe later this week, they’re juicy and delicous!

Venison Bacon Burger!

Venison Bacon Burger!

The one place I update regularly is Instagram.  So if you haven’t already, follow me on there!  HuntressJen and see posts like the ones below!

Follow me on Instagram!  HuntressJen

Follow me on Instagram! HuntressJen

Thanks to those of you who stuck around and are still reading my blog!  I really do appreciate it!  I can’t wait to get back to posts every Wednesday.

The one bad thing with all the craziness going on, I completely forgot to put in for special and late season hunts.  I’m bummed!  I need to build up points for those special moose and mountain goat hunts so I can do them before I’m 50!  Haha, there’s always next year I guess.

Did you put in for any special or late hunts this season?  Did you get drawn?  Let me know in the comments below!

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

A few months ago, Her Arrow Points North nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award which I am so grateful for!  Go check out her blog, it’s full of good posts and pictures!

It’s great knowing people out there not only read my blog, but enjoy reading it and look forward to my posts.  So thank you so much for nominating me!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to making this post, my life seems to be running at two speeds lately, busy and busier!

The Versatile Blogger Award is to celebrate bloggers who bring something special to your life.  The blogs that I’ve nominated below are ones that I always get excited when I see they have a new post.  They share great hunting stories, amazing pictures, delicious wild game recipes, and make it an enjoyable read from start to finish.

Here are the rules:

– Thank the person that has nominated you
– Include a link to their blog
– Nominate at least 5 blogs of your choice
– Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination
– Share seven different facts about yourself

Here are some random facts about me.  This blog is very hunting focused so I chose things that have nothing to do with the outdoors.

01.  I hosted a classic rock radio show in college that won Best Rock Show, if the radio industry wasn’t dying I would’ve loved to go into radio!
02.  My music taste spans most genres, I’m the person that can sing along to any song on the radio and you want me on your trivia team when it comes to music questions
03.  I love to dance but can’t follow steps to save my life, I can only do my own thing to the beat
04.  I’ve only ever traveled to states along a coastline, my next trip to Texas continues this trend
05.  My top three concerts so far are:  Foo Fighters, Elton John, Luke Bryan (see, I love a lot of different music!)
06.  I love to write — like physically write on a piece of paper, my mind and creativity works better pen to paper than keyboard to computer screen
07.  I’m a tea drinker and hate the taste of coffee, even though I’ve been a barista twice

Here are my nominations!

04. From Field To Plate
05. Harvesting Nature

 

 

From Vegetarian To Hunter

You read that right—I used to be a vegetarian  long before I became a hunter.

It’s why when my dad tells people I shot a deer, he follows it up with, “she’s the LAST person I ever would’ve thought would shoot a deer.”

So how did I end up here?  Now butchering my own meat.

country huntress butchering deer

When I was around 16 years old, my best friend and I decided we’d become vegetarians.  There wasn’t much to it.  We likely watched some ridiculous video or read an article and decided it was a good idea.  To be honest, I think it had more to do with being an angsty teenager making things difficult for my parents by refusing to eat meat.  Sorry guys!  I’m sure karma will come back my way when I have my own children!

Here’s the thing, I still loved meat.  Not a day went by that I didn’t want to eat a piece of bacon or a steak.   It hurt to see someone ruin a perfectly good steak by ordering it well-done instead of medium-rare.  Obviously I wasn’t the greatest vegetarian.

So after a year, being a vegetarian became a thing of the past.  Fast forward more than a decade and now I’m a proud hunter.

country huntress deer hunting

How did the pendulum swing so far?

When I started learning more about hunting, one of the things to spark my interest was being able to provide organic meat for my family.  Knowing exactly where your meat is coming from really intrigued me.  It’s why when I shot a deer, I wanted to watch and learn all I could about skinning and gutting a deer.

Later, when my brother showed me how to butcher the meat, I was still intrigued to keep learning.  It was fascinating seeing how all the cuts are connected.  You don’t really realize how it’s all put together when you only buy packaged meat from a store.

Learning how to process a deer myself really gave a new appreciation for meat and where it comes from.  And now I’m able to cook delicious meals with venison and I have no questions about the quality of the meat.  I know because I was involved in the processing of the deer from step one.

One delicious venison meatloaf dinner!

One delicious venison meatloaf dinner!

So it’s a little funny when people who don’t agree with hunting tell me I should be a vegetarian.  Been there, done that—it’s not for me.  Just like hunting might not be for them.

I’m going to keep eating meat whether I hunt or not.  I’d just much rather the meat come from the field than a store!

So, what about you guys?  Anyone else make the same change from vegetarian to hunter?  Share below!

Country Huntress Turns One!

Today this little blog turns one year old!

I wasn’t sure what would happen when I started this, but I’ve loved the journey so far.  I’ve met some great people and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to learn more when it comes to hunting.  Without this blog, I probably wouldn’t have done all the things I made happen in the past year!

A big thank you to all of you who read this blog!  I wouldn’t be here without you!  I appreciate every follow, comment, and like you leave on my posts.  It’s been great learning more from all of you as well!

Country Huntress Social Media

So, with one year under my belt, I’ve decided to finally branch Country Huntress out to other social media platforms.  Feel free to follow me on any of them!

Instagram: HuntressJen
Facebook: Country Huntress
Twitter: @HuntressJen

Lets see what can happen in the next year!

Getting Into Hunting

country huntress

So, you want to learn to hunt and don’t know where to start?  That was me a couple of years ago.  It can be hard as a female to break into the men’s world of hunting if you don’t have a man helping you along.

I started my hunting journey with a boyfriend, but when that ended, I decided to continue to learn more on my own.  It meant a lot to me to be able to do it on my own, so I found myself seeking other women to learn from.  Read below for my tips to meet other female hunters and get more involved with hunting!

I’ve tried to meet as many women as possible to help me, but I’ve also gotten help from men along the way too.  Through researching and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned a lot and met some really great people in the process!

First things first, take a hunter education course if you haven’t already.  You can’t start hunting without getting your hunting license.  The class is easy and incredibly informative.  At the end you should know if hunting is really something you want to learn more about or if it’s not really for you.

There will also likely be other women in the class you can meet.  Just be sure to look into classes early!  I was on a waiting list to get into mine.

If you know you like hunting and want to learn how to get more involved, click below to read my 5 ways to connect with other women to learn more about hunting.

Continue reading

Easy Venison Chili Recipe

Country Huntress Venison Chili

This past weekend, I cooked up a batch of delicious and easy venison chili!  With the cold winter months, nothing is better than a warm bowl of chili.

I love chili that’s simple—meat and beans.  Add in peppers, corn, and celery and I feel it begins to border on becoming a stew.

This is an easy recipe with only 7 ingredients.

Country Huntress Venison Chili Ingredients

Country Huntress Venison Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 333 per serving

What you’ll need:
  • 1 lb of ground venison (beef or turkey could be used too)
  • Four 10 ounce cans of diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • Two 14.5 ounce cans of pinto beans (or whatever bean you like best, kidney or black beans would work well too)
  • One large onion (chopped)
  • Three cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Chile Powder (Depending on how much heat you like, add to your preference, I love spicy food so I use 2)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ground Cumin
Directions:
– Heat a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and brown one pound of ground venison
– Add in the chopped onion and minced garlic once the ground venison is browned. Cook until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes)
– Drain the liquid from the two cans of beans and rinse with water.  Add those into the pot and the tomatoes with green chiles
– Add in 1-2 tablespoons of chile powder and half a tablespoon of cumin
– Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a boil
– Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for at least 20 minutes

You can simmer anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour.  I think the flavors develop more the longer you let it simmer.  But if you’re rushing to get dinner on the table, 20 minutes will do!

Venison Chili!

The chili definitely has a kick to it from all the chile powder.  I love spicy food.  If you don’t, maybe add only a tablespoon of chili powder.  I’m definitely an “eyeball” the measurements cook, so feel free to change what you’d like to your preferences.  This is a great base chili you can really make your own.

Venison Chili Sour Cream

To top it off, I add a nice dallop of sour cream.  This helps cut down the spicy heat when you’re eating it.  You can also add cheese, green onion, or olives.

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

2015 Goals Revisited

Country Huntress

2015 went by in a flash!  I made goals at the beginning of 2015 for hunting and fishing.  Some were accomplished and some weren’t.  So here’s a look back at the goals I set and if I achieved them.

1. Get in shape
This didn’t end up happening with a move across the state and a new job shaking things up more than I expected.  But I’m back to working on this goal now with a 5k coming up in March.

2. Shoot first deer 
Yes!  This one was accomplished with a doe shot on Decatur Island during late season.

3. Hike and scout more 
Again, with the new job and move this didn’t really happen.  I’m in a new area so this year I’m hoping to get out more and scout.

4. Go duck hunting
Nope, unfortunately.  I tried several times to set up a weekend to get out with my brother but our schedules didn’t line up.  He’s promised to take me out next season!

5. Go upland bird hunting 
Nope — same reason as above.  I feel like a broken record!

6. Fish More
Yes!  I caught my first salmon and tried out surf fishing.

7. Cook Game Recipes
Yes, and I cooked  some delicious ones!  Meatloaf and steak oscar!

So the year didn’t quite go exactly as I wanted.  But a new job got me back around friends and family so I’m happy with that!

Next week I’ll be posting my 2016 goals.  Some 2015 ones I’ll try to make happen again and some new ones.

What were your 2015 goals?  Did you accomplish what you wanted?

Huntresses United

Click to Join!

Victoria over at A Texan In South Africa created a great new group called Huntresses United.  It’s for women who are passionate about the outdoors, educate others about conservation through hunting, encourage and support women in the outdoors, and embody being an ethical hunter.

I love her idea and gladly joined!  Even as a female hunter, it can be hard to find other outdoorsy blogs written by women.  Huntresses United is a place to easily find other blogs by female writers sharing their outdoor experiences, be it hunting or fishing.

Check it out here!  Find other great blogs to follow or join the list yourself!

Thanks for putting this together Victoria!  It’s great you’re bringing huntresses together!