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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...
She Loves To Fish

She Loves To Fish

By: Ashley Rae Several years ago, I found myself very frustrated in tears in a parking lot after trying to find a pair of waders for fly fishing. I traveled out of my small hometown to a larger city, which I thought would have a better selection. I was greeted with laughter from the two male associates when I inquired about waders for women. I then asked for the equivalent boot size in men’s to find that that was not an item they carried either. I told them I was just looking for something that would fit me properly and they laughed and replied I would have to wear ‘chin waders’ because they didn’t make anything for ‘little people’. It felt like a slap in the face. Introduced to fishing by a family friend, I have been fortunate to experience time on the water since the age of five. No members of my immediate family fished so it was with friends throughout my life and joining a local bass fishing club that I was able to experience fishing. Each experience and outing left me wanting more. After graduating college and having more financial stability after paying back student loans, I decided to buy a fishing kayak so that I could be independent. I wanted to fish as I pleased and didn’t want to wait on anyone anymore. I learned a lot out on my own without any time limits and being able to go where I pleased and fish as long as I wanted. Working in the Office Administration field after college for a few years, I realized that...
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...
Inspired By My Dad

Inspired By My Dad

By: Dani Bergen It seemed so big, a dream I had played over and over again in my mind, till one day I woke up and realized that it truly was a dream. A reality dream! The darkness was so engulfing. I was scared I was going to wake up and it would all be over. My eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to my new surroundings but somehow I just knew it was real. There was nothing more reassuring of my location than the, every so often, squeeze of my dad’s hand on mine and the clink of his shotgun strap every step he took. I couldn’t see his face but somehow I just knew he was smiling and I was the luckiest girl in the world. My little five year old body was swamped in my dad’s large camouflage onesie, the velcro on my hunting hat was as tight as it could go, and a bottle of pepper spray was clasped in my left hand. Every step made my dream so much more of a reality, the true reality of the beginning of so many more pitch black nights of walking out from an evening of hunting. I knew it was real and I was living in the reality of a dream I had dreamt every night my dad tucked me in and told me stories of his hunting adventures. This evening was not being lived in my imagination. The walk in, the extra tree stand my dad set up just so I could come along, the young black bears, and the dried tears I could now feel on...