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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...
Gaining Access to Land for Hunting – The Do’s and Don’ts

Gaining Access to Land for Hunting – The Do’s and Don’ts

By: Amy Felhaber   As the hunting community grows, we are now seeing many individuals struggling to gain crucial land access. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have previous connections or family ties, chances are you ask permission each year. Whether it’s friends, neighbors or strangers, asking to use another’s acreage can be a daunting task for some. With this article I hope to give you some ideas about what works for me to gain access, as well as what hasn’t worked. As a reminder, these are personal suggestions and should always be evaluated by each individual in association with their own determinants. When beginning the initial steps to get permission to gain land access for hunting, one must consider the following: What will I be hunting? Will I be hunting alone or in a group? How often will I be using the land? Start by asking family, friends and friends of friends if they have had success with any landowners. If you don’t have any luck, scouting your local area is a wise alternative for a starting point. Do’s It’s always a good idea to start small when gaining access for hunting land. Whether that be starting with one hunter or using the land for one hunting season, it lays the groundwork for the landowner to build trust with you and vice versa. Some tips and relevant questions to ask when introducing yourself: Introduce yourself and your intentions. Explain what you are going to be hunting, if you will have any partners and when or how often you plan on hunting. If the landowner says yes, follow up...
Just the Beginning

Just the Beginning

By: Rihana Cary My passion for the outdoors started at a very young age. My favorite family vacations consisted of camping, fishing and looking forward to any outdoor adventure. I remember the first time my grandfather took me fishing when I was seven-years-old. I caught seven fish (way more than my limit) but Grandpa wasn’t counting, and I was hooked. Being a “do-it-myself” kind of girl, I not only had to cook the fish, but also insisted on the dirty work of gutting and cleaning. Even though I lost interest by the second fish, some of my fondest memories are fishing with my grandfather. Fishing and mushroom picking were the extent of my family’s dinner harvesting and I grew up thinking steak came from aisle 12 at the supermarket. We were carnivorous non-hunters that enjoyed the outdoors. I was always interested in nutrition and once I realized the real world wasn’t high school sports and boys, I set my sights on the health care industry. Anatomy, health and nutrition became my favorite subjects, and I enjoyed learning about enzymes, clavicles and glomerular filtration rates. As I began looking closer at the facts of nutrition and investigating the foods we put in our body, I learned a harsh reality. With the help of movies like “Supersize Me” and “Food, Inc.,” and the plethora of books blowing the lid off the money-saving tactics of the agricultural businesses, I quickly realized the lack of nutrients I was getting from the antibiotic-pumped, farm-plumped protein I was consuming. Armed with this new outlook, not so surprisingly, I became vegan. I know, I know, the...
Taygen Made in New Zealand

Taygen Made in New Zealand

By: Taygen Hughes I awaken from my sleep in the run-down cabin on my friend’s sheep farm just as the natural light of the dawn sneaks through the cracks in the wall, gradually making out the spider’s webs and rat feces on the aged wooden panels and rusted corrugated iron. Below my bunk bed the choir (slightly off-key) of snoring men seek warmth in their sleeping bags as they fight to keep daylight at bay. Peering out the doorless doorway I make out the last moments of the Southern Cross, stars waning in a sky turning from black to deep azure. A crisp morning air touches my exposed face and I can smell its freshness. Just a few minutes more I decide, a few minutes before I unzip my bag and face the cold. That’s when I hear it; the powerful deep throated roar of a stag in the distance. I’m not alone, for suddenly all snoring stops and the room goes quiet. The morning roar of a red stag, known as the hunters’ alarm clock, has woken the cabin. Excitement grips the room as my companions look around, smiling in unison at the omen. This is hunting. This is New Zealand. MADE IN NEW ZEALAND My introduction into the hunting world dates back to when I was a young girl growing up in New Zealand. My dad, a possum trapper in the mountains behind my small town, was fed up of being wet and cold in the bush and decided to take matters into his own hands. So, as any innovative, do-it-yourself Kiwi would, he and my mother...
Live Outdoors

Live Outdoors

By: Amy Felhaber A Little Bit About Myself I grew up in the country, just outside the small town of Eganville, Ontario, Canada. I was fortunate enough to be raised on a farm with lots of land to roam and was able to experience and enjoy the outdoors from a young age. I was raised in a family where my father and brothers religiously attended the hunt camp each fall and it was only natural for me to begin hunting around the age of 15. I became more avid about five  years ago when I met my boyfriend Bill, when I was introduced to turkey and waterfowl hunting on top of my traditional passion for hunting whitetails as well as small game. Fishing has also been a big part of our family, as we grew up with access to the water and private fishing lakes on our property. At a young age, my father would bring us fishing at the lake behind Grandma’s house and we would always bring home a northern pike or two and have some fresh fish for supper. Fishing is always the sport between seasons; summer fishing before fall hunting season started and winter ice-fishing when the fall hunts were over. It’s something I always look forward to during the year. I could not imagine myself today without being so involved in the outdoors. Within the past couple of years, there have been many successes, as well as many less fruitful hunting adventures. However, I always enjoy my time spent outdoors, and therefore the result of an outing doesn’t dictate my hunting or fishing experience...
Houndswoman

Houndswoman

By: Shayla Pukas Hunting is a way of life for many of people in the world. I wasn’t always a hunter, but the day I pulled the trigger on my first whitetail buck, I knew it was in my blood. At the age of 14, I was introduced into the hunting world by one of my friends and ever since I have been hooked. After a few years of hunting big game like whitetail deer, elk and mule deer, I was introduced to a whole different type of hunting, hound hunting. I rescued my first hound dog from the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA); he was a 4-month-old bluetick coonhound. I wasn’t very familiar with hound hunting, but that soon changed after I began hunting with a few local houndsmen. After seeing my first majestic cougar, sitting perched high in a pine tree, and hearing the amazing hound song, I knew this was the life I wanted to live. Gunner, my bluetick, soon learned how to track and tree cougars himself and I realized I needed to get him a hunting partner. I now have a plott hound, Jane, an english hound, Storm and my trusty bluetick Gunner. Being a houndswoman is more than just having a dog, it takes guts, trust, stamina, patience, heart and a whole lot of outdoor knowledge. You need to know how to read a GPS; figure out how old a track is; do what we call “homework” once you find a track; and really study what the cougar, bobcat or lynx is doing and where they are heading....