August 2015 | Prima Outdoor
Lauren McGough Apprentices with Eagle Falconers in Mongolia

Lauren McGough Apprentices with Eagle Falconers in Mongolia

Bridging the Gender Gap in a Male-Dominated Sport   It had been a particularly grueling day for Lauren McGough, her golden eagle heavy on her hand and her body sore from traversing miles of mountainous Mongolian terrain on her horse. She was searching for fox, but the light was fading, and it seemed that the day was going to end with an empty bag. Just when her spirits were at their lowest, Kukan, a falconer and her teacher, cried out as he flushed a fox. McGough’s eagle bolted from the glove, powered across the darkening sky and slammed into the snowy hillside in a spray of powder and with a fox in her feet. Elated, Lauren whooped and galloped down to her bird. Once the eagle was fed and the fox attached to the saddle, Lauren fell into satisfied silence that held until her teacher asked no one in particular, “Why didn’t I ever take my daughters hunting?” Getting to Mongolia Lauren McGough fell in love with golden eagles when she was a child and was determined to get involved in the sport of falconry, hunting with birds of prey. When she became a falconer, however, she found she had a serious road block. She couldn’t find anyone in the United States to teach her how to hunt with a golden eagle. So, McGough applied and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year in Mongolia where falconers not only train eagles, but depend on their hunting skills for sustenance and fur. Rather than packing a lot of gear, McGough said that she packed a lot of trinkets....
Why Every Outdoorswoman Needs Tracking Training

Why Every Outdoorswoman Needs Tracking Training

One of the wildest places I’ve ever traveled convinced me of the importance of animal tracking skills. Southwestern Alaska’s Katmai Brown Bears routinely weigh over 1,000 pounds, and when you’re traveling through the Katmai National Forest you’re sharing their territory. At times, you’ll see them clearly at a distance: a massive, dark shape across a beach catching salmon or playing leisurely with their cubs. In other cases, you’ll be hiking through the tangled and dense woods that are often called “bear corridors” and need to be aware of your surroundings while sharing their trails. There’s nothing worse than surprising a bear. Being able to read signs and track animals can save your life in wilderness contexts. Whether you’re hunting or hiking, the ability to track game and animal signs is an essential skill for the well-rounded outdoorswoman. Let’s take a closer look at different uses of tracking, how it can increase your effectiveness as a woman with an outdoor lifestyle, and some different strategies for learning this ancient art. Animal Tracking: A Short History Animal tracking is an ancient art that’s part of the shared cultural history of all humans. Anthropologists have revealed that for thousands of years, most of our ancestors were nomadic. Their paths followed the seasonal migrations of animal herds and flocks of birds. Tribes followed in the wake of animal life – whether they lived in North America, Africa, or Europe – using tracking skills to ensure that they were in the right locations for the season’s best hunting opportunities and food gathering. As societies became more static, tracking remained an essential skill to find...
Sleep Tight: Finding the Perfect Women’s Sleeping Bag for Your Outdoor Adventures

Sleep Tight: Finding the Perfect Women’s Sleeping Bag for Your Outdoor Adventures

Like most women involved in the Prima Outdoor community, I love venturing off the beaten path. I’ve spent a lot of time camping on Alaska’s rugged coastline. The views are exquisite: miles of sand stretch before you unmarred by a single footprint. And there is nothing in the world like waking up on a deserted beach and watching whales breach while you boil coffee over a driftwood fire. In my adventures I’ve found a proper sleeping bag is indispensable for creating a blissful camping experience. Attrib: Flickr – public domain Finding a Bag Designed for Your Body The “perfect fit” should be high on your list of priorities when looking for a sleeping bag. For decades companies manufactured one-size-fits-all bags, evidence of which you can see languishing at thrift stores and garage sales everywhere. You know the ones – beige behemoths that look like hideous fabric slugs. Thankfully, many companies now offer bags tailored to women’s needs. These features typically include a shorter length, more space at the hips, and extra insulation in the torso and foot region, according to outdoor writer Steve Tischler.1 You can also purchase a unisex bag. Look for one that provides roominess in the chest and hip areas; I’ve found this is essential for curvy women like myself to have a restful sleep. Most large outfitter stores have display bags you can test out before making your decision. Warmth: Essential for a Good Night’s Sleep Besides fit, warmth is the most important consideration when hunting for a sleeping bag. On many adventures my brother or partner would be nestled down in their cocoons while I...