Sisterhood Outdoors: A Place for Everyone

For ten years we have been staying true to our mission: to create opportunities for women to hunt, shoot and fish.  Many of our guests ask the question, “If I have no experience, should I go on one of your trips?”  The answer is always a resounding YES! We have a field staff member that hosts each of our events and we are committed to sharing our experience with everyone.  We pride ourselves on being open to all women no matter your age or level of experience.

In a time in our country where we seem to be more divided than together it is so important to build on what we have in common.  Regardless of your race, sexual orientation, age, or level of experience you are welcome to hunt with Sisterhood Outdoors.  It is my goal to strive to make everyone feel welcome.  Our team is one of the most diverse teams in the industry.  We come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences – that is what makes us stronger together.  I love the fact that we can pull up to a lodge or event and know that we are about to share the experience of the outdoors.  The people we meet are the reason we do what we do.  Having friends from around the country that share their lives with me only enriches mine.  It may look like we are just hunting but there is so much more to it than that.  We do not care how you take your game or what size you harvest.  We only care that we got to experience it along with you.

My favorite part of hosting events is meeting others who love the outdoors or want to learn. It takes courage to head out on your own to meet new friends and try something new.  Courage always comes easier when you are part of a group.  Many times, even I have felt the butterflies and anxiety when I head out to host a new group.  The best part about meeting others is learning their perspective and life experiences.  You never know what someone is going through or when someone needs encouragement.  I am always happy to share my experience with others and I keep in mind that we have one thing in common to build on: the love of the outdoors.

No LimitsMy life is richer for having met each person and shared personal experiences of joy, hardship, and disappointment along the way.  At Sisterhood Outdoors we believe you must give it away to keep it.  I have shared hunting camps with some amazing women over the years.  I must believe I made an impact on the recruitment, retention, and reintroduction of many hunters along this journey.  I know for sure my list of hunting friends is a long one and they are from all walks of life.  There is something so special about sitting around the campfire at the end of long hard day hunting or sharing a duck blind or even stalking game all day on a mountain with likeminded women.

I want to encourage you to invite someone different than you, or someone less experienced than you to hunting, fishing, or shooting.  We cannot afford to miss an opportunity to unite doing what we love.  The one thing we have in common is time, and there is not enough of it.  If fear is what is keeping you from joining a group of women in the outdoors do not let it!  FEAR is just “False Events Appearing Real”.  Do not be afraid of failure, or of the unknown, or of rejection.   We promise at Sisterhood Outdoors everyone is welcome, and we will support you all the way.  My years of meeting total strangers in the outdoors has boosted my own confidence.  My circle of friends is always growing, and it is very enriching.  The standards we uphold to create fun safe events are high and number one on the list is “everyone is welcome”.  There are no dumb questions, we will answer anything you need.  I encourage you to reach out to us if you are hesitant to learn a new skill or want to book an event and are unsure what to expect.   Let us take time to get to know each other and share our love of the outdoors.


How To: Season Prep

Need some tips on getting things in order for fall?  Here are some great tips from Pro-Staffer, Jaimie Robinson to help you be as prepared as possible.

If you are like me, there really is no off season. I try to work on my skills, actively hunt or fish all year. Here are a few tips for how I maintain my lifestyle and keep myself ready for the hunt. Planning, organizing & packing are all crucial steps to making sure you are prepared for your next outdoor adventure!


Organizing at Home

On my first group hunt, one of my hunting companions had his all his gear in a bin. He simply threw his bins and bow case in the back of the truck and was ready to go. Compared to my multiple bags, this seemed like the way to go and now I organize all my gear this way. I have a clothes bin or bag that all my commonly used clothes go in after washing and bins for each specific use like upland, backcountry, and tree stand or blind hunting.  That way when I am invited or go on one of those hunts, I can just throw my bin in the car (after I recheck it) and be good to go.

Gear for the Hunt

Jaimie Robinson GearOver time, I have figured out that having a bag for each pursuit. While I know this is not economical for everyone, I suggest if you can only have on bag for all hunts, choose something that has many pockets or storage pouches. I used the Kifaru Antero pack for everything from fishing to tree stand deer hunting.

We all have different requirements as we go in the field, but here are some basics for each season I use:

Whitetail Tree Stand

Bow/gun pull

Safety Harness

Grunt and/or Rattles





Turkey calls




The only time most do not recommend binoculars is in the tree stand so I left it off.  I personally like to have the opportunity to look around and binoculars can help you.  I always carry a backpack or blind bag, even if I am shedding layers for a close stalk, choice of bag is its own topic.

I use Kifaru Ultralight Pullouts to keep myself organized. I use one to keep all of the things I must have for all hunts in, it has an extra knife, headlamp, my InReach, handwarmers, allen wrenches, extra packets of nuts, rehydration packets to add to water, and face paint. Depending on the season, I keep an extra bow release, bow wax, and extra calls here as well. For hunting, I depend on a good pair of knee-high boots and a good pair of hiking boots.


Jaimie Robinson PrepShooting sports is my method of relaxation so I use my weapons all year long. If that is not your lifestyle there are a few things you need to do to prepare your weapon in the weeks before you hunt.  The most important is making sure your bow is tuned and that your gun or bow is sighted in.  There is nothing worse, both ethically and emotionally, than having your weapon fail when you have done all the hunting part correctly.  The second most important is making sure you have enough and appropriate ammunition for the game you are hunting.

The Night Before

Even though I have a system in place to keep myself on track, I always recheck my bags the night before.  You never know if you took your headlamp out to do something the night before and it landed in your pocket instead of your bag. You don’t want to be the one that everyone is waiting on because you are not prepared.


Girls & Gundogs

It is no secret that dogs have been an integral part of the outdoor industry throughout all of history.  While hunting dogs are quite common, whether you are chasing bobwhite quail across the plains or lions in the mountain regions, bonds between women and their four-legged counterparts are a force to be reckoned with.

The Sisterhood of the Outdoors strives to introduce all women to a place in the outdoors that they can enjoy.  Whether that is hiking or hunting; foraging or fishing, all women can find their niche in the outdoor space and develop friendships with like-minded women who share their passions.  Here we focus on five women who have developed special bonds with their four-legged hunting partners.  These are their stories.

Kaitlin Bowen – New Jersey

Three years ago, after a couple’s duck hunt in Tennessee with the Sisterhood of the Outdoors, my husband and I drove five hours north to Illinois to pick up our very first hunting dog, Ollie. We drove 20 hours back home to New Jersey without any issues. Right away we had him fetching up birds and working on commands. Now he is making us proud with every hunt; last year he retrieved almost 300 ducks and geese and he got his first bands! Without him we would have never found one banded mallard he came running out of the brush with!

“Hunting over a dog is the best part of the entire hunting experience.”

– Kaitlin Bowen, Sisterhood of the Outdoors Pro Staff

Jaimie Robinson – Colorado

Jaimie RobinsonThis past fall, I got the opportunity to hunt with Browning, he is an English pointer.  For a dog, he is ancient, coming in somewhere between 14 and 16.  For the 3 years prior to meeting me, he had sat on the couch at home, living out his retirement.  Then we went public land, walk-in hunting in Colorado. I was hooked, he found 8 pheasants that first day and we learned that he is tone deaf.  Browning was trained as a puppy at Valhalla Hunt Club and Kennels and shortly after his owner did not want him anymore. This is a sad reality for many dogs that are not dominant. Lucky for Browning, he was adopted by someone who took him all the time and was able to showcase his amazing talent for many years, then there was less time for hunting.

Luckily for Browning, I live for the hunt as does he. He hunts my parks and back yard every day, just hoping to find something to chase. After that first hunt, Browning really became my hunting dog.

I started taking him out to a SWA once a week, just us, so that we could learn to communicate and perhaps I could figure out the upland hunting mystery. He knows when he gets in my car that it is hunting time and he is always ready to go. Browning knows his hearing limitations and other than once when he chased a pheasant very far, he turns an looks to me after he is about 100 yards away, he follows hand signals and he taught me how to tell him how to come. The best part of an English pointer is their long tail, even if he disappears in the tall grass, I can still see his big tail wagging. To keep up the skills I learned this season we have joined a pheasant club so that we can both practice and keep our skills sharp. I am always amazed by what this boy can do. I am blessed to be able to make him happy in his last hunting years.


Havely Holt – Wyoming

Havely Holt

As an adult onset hunter, I’m getting a late start at 42; but, there’s no better time than the present! I spent hours researching different breeds and believe I landed on the best kept secret in the world of hunting dogs: the Český Fousek. I decided on my little lady, Liberty, because she met every requirement I had for a gun dog. This versatile pup covers waterfowl, upland, small game, blood tracking and shed hunting. If she doesn’t age me during the puppy stage, she will certainly help keep me young with all the fun we will have together!

I am excited to have a friend in the field, but at only 12 weeks old, we are currently working on manners. She has learned the commands of off, woah and leave it. She is a pro at manding and is retrieving a puppy sized dummy in shallow water. Berty is easily distracted, as are most pups her age…but watching her nose to the ground intensity during our adventures, and the way she methodically glances back at me, I know she is going to be so much fun. I can already envision her little white tail flashing through the tall grass on a golden Wyoming afternoon. She stops to survey the terrain ahead and makes a game plan on how she wants to hunt the field. She looks back at me with those eyes that seem to say, “it’s go time!” And with that, she’s off. Yep, little Berty and I are going to make a great team…. just wait and see. (see Havely’s full story here)


Katie Olszewski

Katie OlszewskiMy passion for upland bird hunting started 8 years ago with my bird dog Belle. My husband and I had just bought our first house, and as the saying goes “every house needs a dog” (or five). I got lucky one night and hit the jackpot on pull tabs. The very next day I put my deposit down on my very own gun dog. Being newer to bird hunting, and having a English Pointer puppy, you could say we definitely learned from, and trained eachother, along with the help from a great trainer and amazing friends. We quickly became a great team out in the field, and on the couch too! It is safe to say I won more than the jackpot when I brought Belle home. There is no greater bond than a girl and her gun dog.

Lindsey Bodamer – Kansas

Lindsey BodamerI grew up in a family of outdoorsmen who primarily hunted whitetail deer and turkey.  When I met my husband, my eyes were opened to the world of hunting with dogs and I’ll never not have one!

Together we own and operate Bradley Retrievers, a competitive retriever and gundog training facility in the Kansas City area.  We have five dogs (who all hunt) of our own and have anywhere from 6-14 dogs in for the training season.  Life without dogs just doesn’t exist for us!

I have two particularly fond memories hunting with dogs:

The first is from a waterfowl hunt a few years back over New Years.  It was a family hunt with my father, brothers and some brother-like friends.  This was a no-frills hunt; propped up against trees next to a pond with two dogs who also happened to be full brothers.  The hunting wasn’t great, but getting spend a beautiful, crisp, Kansas morning with family, friends and dogs was priceless!

The second memory was from my 30th birthday.  We took a long road trip through six states and saw so many amazing locations.  For my actual birthday, we spend the morning in a marshy pond in Northwestern Montana.  Ducks were few, but the scenery and wildlife more than made up for it.  That afternoon, we traded our waders for boots and chaps, and headed out to hunt for Hungarian Partridge.  As any wild bird hunter knows, hunts rarely consist of a short walk and limits.  This hunt was no different in that aspect, but it was different in that I shot my first hun! It was a beautiful sight as our old shorthair pointed, our young shorthair honored and our lab moseyed in for the flush – PICTURE PERFECT. Bird was down and retrieved, and I was beyond content with our small bounty and some awesome dog work.


The Importance of Scouting

When I started hunting, I spent the first several years hiking with my bow. I went to a spot that looked promising and sat somewhere for a few hours or basically hiked around all day. Then I started following a few prominent hunters on social media who spent their summers scouting. This seemed like a lot of work (and it can be) but I figured if I wanted to be successful, I needed to emulate their behaviors.

A few years ago, I did just that and it has changed my hunting life. There are several benefits of scouting and they are not limited to these – you will know your territory well, you should have an idea or pattern to the animals and you will have several backup spots.

Knowing Your Spot

As a solo hunter this is especially important. You need to be comfortable with knowing where you want to be and how to get there (and back) in the dark. The benefit of having a plan and being comfortable in the place you are hunting cannot be beat. The more time you spend in your spot, or spots, you will less likely spend time feeling unsure of either where you are or if this is the best spot to sit and hide if you are waiting for an ambush or want to sit and glass.

Patterning and/or Locating Animals

Every shot opportunity or near opportunity I have had since I started scouting, I have had is due to this. Having put boots on the ground or glass to the hills has helped me find some excellent spots to wait for animals. Find a good trail and follow it, it will help you find gathering or turning points that will be great spots to sit and wait when season comes. Even though we cannot change what happens when other hunters come to the forest, we can be ready in the spots they have been and likely will be, at least for the first few days of the season.  Last summer, I drove down this horrible road and glassed every peak, one day I found this with my spotter.

After I climbed this mountain, I was able to find a wallow and many great trails that gave me lots of action throughout the elk season. If I had not spent my time scouting, I would have never found this bachelor group.

Back Up Spots

One of the best parts of spending the summer scouting is that you can skim or explore a few places to see if animals are there and what they are doing. That way if your super-secret spot is not so secret come opening day, you will have other options. I had a meadow that I got literally more than a thousand pictures of every two weeks and I was saving it for last, but apparently that was the spot and I got dozens of hunters on my trail cameras in the first week of hunting. I was able to move to a spot that I had found by hiking and was still able to call elk and have others pass me because I had back up spots.

When you get to season the first year of scouting, you may be disappointed as inevitably it will change if it is public land and it is not just you in the woods, but the hours or days or months of scouting and putting the time in will always pay off in terms of being prepared for what might happen and having a better idea of where you should go.


Ready for Duty – Weatherby Accuguard 6.5-300

My Weatherby Vanguard Accuguard 6.5-300 Magnum rifle is ready for duty.  I love opening a box with a brand-new rifle in it!  It is a beautiful sight full of hunting expectations.  The 6.5-300 Accuguard has a 26-inch, fluted, #3-contour barrel and weighs 8 pounds.  I prefer a rifle with a little bit of weight on it and I normally shoot from shooting sticks or a rest of some kind. This is a high-quality rifle with a smooth bolt and durable stock.

Getting the new rifle is just the beginning; what comes next is the work.  The work of outfitting your rifle with a scope and choosing the perfect ammunition.  For my Weatherby 6.5-300, the ammunition part came easy.  Introduced in 2016, the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum is the fastest production 6.5mm there is.  It shoots faster, flatter, and harder than other 6.5 mm loads.  These amazing attributes get me excited about the long-range capabilities of this load.  I choose the 140 grain VLD hunting round from Weatherby, as I plan to elk hunt with this rifle.

Choosing a scope was next in the set-up process.  This was a no brainer, I chose a Leupold VX5 HD 3- 15 x 44 mm CDS -ZL2.  This scope has the versatility I need for all kinds of hunting scenarios.  My goal for this gun is to be able to shoot within 100 yards and out to 500+ yards.  Once I had the scope on and the ammunition ready, I began the break in process and dialed in the scope.  These things take time.  I recommend purchasing a rifle at least a month or even two months before you plan to use it to hunt.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to know it and dial it in.  I cannot stress enough the importance of putting in the practice time at the range before you take a rifle hunting.

The range I use (Dead Zero Shooting Park) has an electronic feedback target at 100 yards, steel plates at 200 and 300 yards and another electronic feedback target at 600 yards.  No one is allowed down range to check a target.   For this reason, I started on the 100 yards target.  Using a ballistic chart, I calculated the placement on the 100 yards target for a 200 yard zero.  Once I was center on the 100 and the correct inches high for my shot, I let the barrel cool before my next shot at 200 yards.  Cooled and ready I fired at the 200 yards steel.  The ping sound on the target really builds confidence.  Once at 200 and center I gave the barrel another few minutes to cool down and set my scope for 300 yards.  That second Ping really got my heart going, I could do that all day.  At this point I reset the dial to zero stop at 300 yards.  From there I used my chart to dial MOA to 600 yards.  And bam, just like that I was hitting targets at 600 yards in a kill zone.  Three times for good groups.  I was impressed with my grouping and the ability to accurately move from one range to another without issues.  I had one bad shot the entire time and I knew I pulled and raised my head quick.  I called that one operator error and took a break.  The reason I chose the 300 yard zero is the shear speed of the 6.5-300 magnum.  The muzzle velocity is 3315 fps and ballistic coefficient is 0.600 for my 140 grain VLD hunting bullet.   With that fast a shot I need a longer zero for accuracy.

At this point I have two choices: make a chart for my gun, and use it hunting or order the custom dial. I have my dial set for zero at 300 yards and my next range visit I will be adding the CDS (custom dial system) from Leupold. I have been using the Leupold custom dials on my rifles for a few years now and I find it very convenient.  The zero stop will be 300 and the dial can be set for accurate temperature and elevation in yards.  I am also in the habit of dialing back to zero stop after every hunt to ensure If I move quickly on a spot and stalk I always know I am starting from zero and don’t forget to dial my yardage.  It has become second nature for me to range, dial and shoot in that order.  I will say that I feel spoiled by the custom dial, and I must work harder to study the ballistics of my loads.  The ease of use of the Leupold dial system is a game changer for anyone wanting to learn to shoot farther and be accurate.  It just takes the work done at the range to make it perfect.

I am looking forward to this season hunting trips and taking my Weatherby Accuguard 6.5-300 afield.  In the meantime, you will find me at the range practicing and enjoying the sound of PING on steel.  Now that the work is done, I have a reliable, accurate total hunting system.


Hunting Mom

As we all know, hunting takes time, effort, skill, practice, patience and so many more things.  Hunting as a mom takes all of these things times 10,000.  Maybe not that much, but when you are living through it, it sure does feel that way.

I am a hunting mom.  I have two young children and I started hunting before children (a time I like to refer to as B.C.).  B.C., I hunted whenever I had time. I scouted hunting spots, I practiced, competed, and did indoor leagues in the off season. I went on hunting trips and I was well on my way to becoming an awesome hunter (at least to me).  I then committed to starting a family and once that became a reality, everything changed.  Please don’t misinterpret that statement; I am still the hunter that I always was and that I was striving to be, but life does change.  It can be hard to see people on grand adventures, “living the life” on social media but please remember, even as a mom, you are still a hunter if you want to be.  I want to touch on some points to remember.

You are Still a Hunter

You are still a hunter, but your hunting will not necessarily be what it used to be.  Accept this – it is ok as long as you are happy.  Do not look at what other people are doing and compare your life to theirs; you do not have the same life.  Do not be offended if other people do not include you.  Things have changed and you have changed.  You are still a hunter but someone else may not see it that way or see you as the same way.  I lost some hunting connections when I started a family and I made some new ones.  All things happen for a reason.

You Need a Tribe

You must have support, “a tribe”.  This takes many forms – your need friends to support you, to be happy for you, to encourage you and to go hunting with you. It helps if they also have a family, but it is not required.  You also need support to help take care of your family while you continue to hunt and be the person you are.  I hunt to provide for my family so my family helps support me.  I have been in the woods pregnant; I have pumped for my babies while hunting. My husband (who does not hunt, by the way) rigged that pump up with battery packs and car charger so I could do what I needed to do while hunting.  And I did it because I wanted to make it work.

Do What You Can

Do what you can.  You have a family now and obviously that is important.  For me to go hunting it takes a lot of pre-arrangement, a lot of planning.  I have to make sure everyone is taken care of.  If I am not able to make arrangements and make sure everyone is taken care of then I will change plans.  Don’t let this make you unhappy, my family makes me happy.  I will get a chance to hunt and that is all I need.

The saying “you do you” is the best way to sum this up.  If you are a hunter, stay a hunter and do it the best way you can in a way that makes you happy.  Accept change, accept happiness and do it with pride for who you are.  One of my favorite things now is to go hunting and come home and have my children excited for me.  To see them come running to me and say, “mom what did you get.” is fun.  I remember I called home when I was on a hunting trip to check on things, because that’s what moms do, and my child got on the phone and said to me, “Did you get a deer yet mom?”  I almost wanted to tear up.  I hope one day that my kids will hunt with me, but I won’t push it.  Until then, I shall carry on being a hunting mom.


Guns of The Sisterhood of the Outdoors

The Weatherby Element® 12-gauge synthetic shotgun went on tour with us this season as we showcased the gun on our annual waterfowl hunts. It did not disappoint! The first things I noticed out of the box were the grip and feel of the gun; they were flawless.

The Weatherby Element® is an inertia operated, semi-automatic shotgun that has the signature fit and finish one would expect from the high standards of Weatherby. The performance was impeccable. I immediately noticed the smooth action and cycling of shells; the gun was tough, and able to handle countless shells cycling in harsh conditions. It came with a selection of chokes for all types of hunting and shooting and I especially liked the natural fit of the Griptonite stock.

If you have ever shared a blind with a group of hunters, you know it’s hard to tell who took the game. I was amazed at a few of the clean-up, far away shots that rang true in the goose blind. The gun was impressive when shooting so many rounds and it packed a hard punch as we had very few cripples. I cycled many different brands of shells through the season and never had a single issue.

The guests on our waterfowl hunts got to test it out and each one loved the swing of the barrel and accuracy of the shots. I used the extended modified long-range steel choke for our annual goose hunt, and it proved to be spot on. I made shots on game that would have seemed out of range on previous hunts with great success. The Weatherby Element® Synthetic comes in 12 and 20 gauge with either a 26- or a 28-inch barrel. The gun has amazing balance and shoots smooth.  We are certain it will become a favorite in our collection!


Turkey Hunt Ends with Turkey Sandwich

The turkeys are winning! I mean “winning” like the way President Trump says “winning.” They are the smartest bird that I’ve ever called “stupid bird.” Here’s why:

We arrived at our mountain property Friday and set up camp on the very top right at the corner boundary line. We had an amazing tent, campfire and sunset view – best turkey camp I’ve ever had. Completely unplugged and off the grid, which was much needed. I am sure you can relate.

We were setting up the campfire for grilling about half hour before sunset and we heard him! A tom was gobbling his way to the roost. I don’t mean a couple gobbles; I’m talking “let the world know I’m here,” gobbles. The worst part was that he was across the boundary. The best part was we knew where he was come sunup! Hearing that tom go to roost got my hopes up and I could barely sleep, waiting on sunrise.

Prior to this trip, we had been investigating the area of the property where turkeys tend to hang out. When I say investigated, I mean full-blown, FBI, all-over-it investigated. We had turkey tracks, turkey poop, turkey scratching and feather dusting all identified and placed in the hunting file. We knew where we wanted to set up a blind and a couple decoys and we had that done ahead of time.

The Hunt

With all that excitement for opening morning, you would think I could have managed to get up in time. Nope, I was sleeping hard when the alarm went off and (of course) hit snooze. What was 10 more minutes? Heck, it wasn’t sunrise for 1 more hour. I slowly got dressed. Hubby helped get the stove ready for some amazing percolated coffee. I got the coffee on the stove and we waited patiently for the perk to start. While waiting, I laced up my snake boots and realized the sun was about to offer up some light 30 minutes earlier than we planned. I panicked. Do I stay and get coffee or turn it off and get to the blind? Yep, we shut off the stove, left the amazing brew on the tailgate of the truck and hurried off to beat sunrise. We really didn’t beat it; we messed up big time. I’m not sure I will trust the timing on my weather app for local sunrise again!

All settled in the blind, we began to call … nothing. About an hour into our sit, we heard 1, but he was off in the holler. If you don’t know the hills of Tennessee, a holler is a valley between all the Rocky Tops of Tennessee. This bird gobbled once, and we got our hopes up. A few minutes later we heard it, boom! No more gobbles, but we were not deterred. We stayed a while longer and called some more to no avail.

At this point, I’m in full blown caffeine withdrawal and I knew there was coffee waiting for me. By mid-morning I had enough and needed to convince my husband we should hunt our way back to camp. Once I offered up hot coffee and some eggs, he was game. We walked back slowly calling and checking for the sounds of a bird. Still nothing.

We made it back to camp and I started up the stove. Never watch a coffee pot in hopes it will perk! It never happens a quick enough so just don’t look at it. Finally, we had scrambled eggs and hot coffee. Coffee cooked on a camp stove is my favorite; I call it cowboy coffee. I knew I could survive a few more hours hunting. We went back out with a different strategy. I took the blind and he walked the woods.

A few hours later, it was hot, there weren’t any birds and I was over it. We met back at camp to regroup. What’s plan B? We decided to ride to town for lunch because it was too hot to nap in our tent. We wanted to scout the area roads out anyways, so why not. Country rides in a pickup are always a good idea. We found our way to a drive-thru restaurant where I ordered the turkey sandwich. It made me feel like I was “winning.” I still ate turkey, just not one from the mountain.

Turkey hunting is hard work. Stay after them. That’s all we can do. And if you hunt and love it then you know the reward is in the experience. I call that “winning,” too.


Excuses or Opportunities

Peering through the RV’s door, I notice the rain has subsided for the moment. With the temperature on my phone showing 36 degrees Fahrenheit, I layer with a relatively tight-armed hoodie over a wicking shirt and choose my fleece-lined jeans for my outdoor adventure. The ground is soggy wet, so my red Lacrosse rubber boots are perfect to keep my feet dry and bring my thoughts back to other pleasant experiences of slogging through the rain. I grab my archery chair, Jeffery longbow and walk out the door to my outdoor archery range. Following the NTS (National Training System) shot process, I commence to shoot arrows down range. Nothing clears the mind like experiencing the flight of well loosed arrows.

My business is JoCamps Archery Boot Camps and I travel to communities all over the United States to teach kids and adults methods that will help them shoot a bow better for recreation, competition or hunting. Since travel plans have changed and income opportunities have been cancelled due to emergency efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, I’ve had time on my hands. Many folks would turn on the TV, but I prefer a good book, a walk or hike, a hard workout, fishing or shooting my bow.

Initially my focus is on 2 new books, “Jesus: The God Who Knows Your Name,” by Max Lucado and “Coaching Better Every Season,” by Wade Gilbert. Just last week, I devoured “Fueling Young Athletes,” by H. Mangieri, and “The Outside Life: Finding God in the Heart of Nature,” by Laurie Kehler captivated me a few weeks ago.

I take my archery coaching profession very seriously. Having already won 12 3D World Championships and represented the USA in the World Archery 3D Championships, you might think that I would be satisfied, but that’s not me. I continually strive to become a better competitor, bowhunter, speaker and coach. I feel very blessed that I can use my God-given talents to help others and strive to share God’s love with others through the sport of archery.

I have been contacted by several archers since the COVID-19 pandemic began disrupting life in the US. For some archers, their NASP or S3DA state championship was their last opportunity to claim a state title in archery; the opportunity to compete in front of their family, team, competitors and huge crowd of gathers was postponed and ultimately cancelled. For others, it was their first chance to compete at the state level. After all the hard work and time that these kids and adults had put into their sport, their dreams were curtailed. At first their thoughts were on how unfairly it was taken away, but I chose to enlighten them to the bigger picture. This is hampering normal life for everyone. No doubt, COVID-19 is impacting our plans. Events with large gatherings of people have been cancelled or postponed: schools are out; sporting events and concerts and even entire seasons have been postponed or cancelled. Even churches are not holding services at their sanctuaries. For some of the events, a virtual opportunity is available; for others, it just won’t happen. These cancellations and postponements can be excuses to sit around getting fat, lazy, depressed and worried or you can look for the opportunities that this unexpected at-home time can present.

I choose to look for the opportunities. Being an avid outdoors gal, I know that I need to soak up some sunshine. Yes, I want to catch up on honey-dos like spring cleaning inside our RV and storage building. But really, please let me outside. Our RV travel trailer that we call home and the utility trailer need cleaning and protecting. There is yard work to be done: limbs to be moved; briars and bushes to be cut; trash thrown by passers-by to be picked up and disposed of and lanes to be cut for my 3D targets.

And hunters know that turkey season is open in some states or just around the corner in others. In preparation for turkey hunting with my bow, I need to sight-in the arrows and broadheads. Maybe I will hunt with my trusty shotgun and turkey loads, but again, patterning the shotgun with the best load is a must to ensure success once you the tom called into range. It is time. I sure have missed spring turkey hunting.

Attention! Moms, dads, boys and girls, instead of making excuses look for the opportunities that you now have the time to do. Go outside and enjoy the spring air and sunshine. Take your kids for walking in the woods. Go scouting for turkeys. Fishing in a lake, creek, river or pond with the family will create memories that you will cherish.

If you are an archer, use this time to practice your sport. Both you and I need to get ready to shoot our best which means getting in good physical and mental condition. Time to practice, so when the day comes that things normalize, we are ready. I choose to use this time to make myself better.  Work on your shot; I recommend that you commit to consistently executing the NTS (National Training System) shot process. If you are like me and have been shooting for many years, it will take a considerable amount of time and effort to replace the old subconscious program with a new one. If you are a new archer, you have the advantage of learning a more efficient method from the beginning. NTS will reduce the chance of injury and allow you to shoot the bow easier and more accurately for longer periods of time. When properly implemented, NTS uses your bone structure in addition to your muscles to give you a steadier, more consistent shot. If you don’t know what NTS is, feel free to message me and I will gladly share more information.

I am available to do virtual coaching and when our country gets back to normal, I will resume my mobile JoCamps, Women’s Archery for Bowhunters Retreats with Sisterhood of the Outdoors and Shoot Like a Girl, Archery Instructor Training and Seminars. In the mean-time, look for more blog posts, articles, videos and social media posts on Facebook at Joella Bates or @joellasjourney or @JoCamps, YouTube, Instagram and my websites or If you want to schedule a virtual coaching session. Email me at or


Goose Hunting Gals & Shredded Street Tacos

Imagine the excitement that filled my heart when my 13-year-old daughter, Lilli, hears that I am going goose hunting and says, “I want to go!”

Yes! Finally, a child who is interested in hunting! One out of three isn’t too bad…right??

My expectations were high early that morning as we traveled the 45 minutes to meet our guide, Jared. I met Jared this summer at a banquet on the opposite side of Wyoming. We have kept in touch on social media and when he suggested we hit the goose blinds – my response was simple, “What time do I need to be there?!”

As we drove down the interstate, Lilli and I talked about hunting and she asked questions that I surprisingly was able to answer. Although I consider myself a newbie to hunting, it felt good to be able to share what I have already learned with my daughter.

This is one reason why I became so involved in hunting and fishing so quickly over the last few years…because I knew it was something I wanted to share with my kids. And to do that I needed experience. In order to share what I learn…. I had to do.

We arrived ahead of our 5:45 am meet up time, so we ran into the gas station for snacks and to use the restroom. When kids tag along, making sure their needs are met will go a long way in ensuring an enjoyable day for them and a successful day for yourself. We grabbed snacks and hot chocolate, then headed out to the blinds.

As we unloaded the trailer in the dark, I was surprised how Lilli jumped in and started helping as if she knew exactly what she was doing. Under direction from Jared, we got the decoys set up and the lay down blinds positioned and camouflaged.

Climbing into the blinds as the sun began to peek over the horizon, anticipation of the day’s hunt mounted. Lilli was soaking it all up. As geese approached Jared began calling, and you could see how much he loved doing this. His enthusiasm in calling, the knowledge he shared, his patience with his pup, Bella…we were witnessing someone doing what he was born to do.

It was perfect. It was a beautiful morning and we were learning from an amazing guide. I peeked over at Lilli, expecting to see an excited smile and anticipation in her eyes.

She was asleep.

Dead to the world asleep.

I just laughed to myself and thought, “So this is what it’s like to hunt with kids…” I adjusted my position and readied my shotgun. She wouldn’t sleep for long…the geese were starting to circle overhead.

It was a great day, as any day hunting usually is. We knocked some geese down and let some fly to see another day. I learned a lot; the biggest lesson being that I need more experience and practice with a shotgun. But mostly, I was grateful I was able to hunt and learn from a friend and share the experience with my daughter.

Shredded Goose Street Tacos

Showing my kids where their food comes from is important to me. So, involving them in preparing the harvest in the kitchen is equally important. Lilli prepped all the ingredients going into this recipe, and then we cooked it low and slow to ensure tender, shredded goose.

  • 4 lbs. goose breast
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 chipotle chilis with sauce (added heat)
  • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 c beef stock
  • Small “street taco” shells
  • Serve with avocado slices, diced white onion, lime wedges, Cotija cheese, and cilantro


  1. In a food processor add garlic, chilis, onion, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, bay leaves, paprika, clove, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and beef stock.
  2. Mix on high until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Lay goose breasts in a slow cooker and cover with mixture.
  4. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. If you are using a pressure cooker, 1-2 hours.
  5. Pull meat out of sauce and shred. Once shredded, spoon sauce over meat to maintain moisture. More sauce can be added to prepared tacos.
  6. To each street taco, add shredded meat, avocado, onion, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
Add to cart