We have been following the rise of Britney Starr over the last several years and having had the chance to meet her and hang out at several industry events over the last couple of years we jumped at the chance to do an interview. Britney Starr is the owner of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, a well written freelance outdoor and shooting industry writer, founder of the Women’s Outdoor & Shooting Industry Dinner and managing editor at Women’s Outdoor News. You can clearly see that she is pretty darn busy so we were pretty thankful she took a little time out of her schedule to take some time for us.
What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
I feel like every time I go turkey hunting, I make some kind of mistake. Turkeys are such unpredictable creatures, and you never really can tell how a turkey hunt is going to turn out. You might have one gobbling his head off, only to turn and walk the other direction, leaving you dumbfounded. Other than that, I once went deer hunting and forgot to bring my ammo. I was 9 hours from home and couldn’t buy any nearby. Luckily, I was able to borrow some from a friend. Ever since that hunt, I make a gear list and check items off of it as I pack my bags.
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
One hunting skill that I am constantly working on is my turkey calling abilities. I would like to become better at using a mouth call, because it gives a hands-free advantage when a gobbler is close by. I’m better at using friction calls, but I really want to work to fine tune the mouth call. Sometimes, on a long road trip, I’ll pop one in and practice until I can’t stand it anymore.
How were you introduced to hunting?
My dad introduced me to hunting, and has been my biggest influence throughout my career. Some of my earliest memories are going scouting for spring turkeys with him. I would always get so excited to find turkey poop or a turkey feather. To this day, still get that same feeling, actually.
Tell us about your first hunt?
In Michigan, you have to be 12-years old to take the Hunter Safety course that allows you to hunt. After I passed my test, my dad asked where I would like to go on my first hunt. I decided that caribou hunting in Quebec, Canada was just the ticket. I believe it was then and there that my dad figured out how much of an ambitious hunter he had raised. I mean, go big or go home, right?
What species would you most like to hunt?
Right now, my “bucket list” animal is elk. I love everything about the elk adventure. It seems like a challenging and exciting hunt. I can’t wait to hear my first elk bugle in the wild!
What gear do you carry that you could not live without?
I usually tailor my gear list according to the species of animal that I’m hunting at the time. I hunt everything from upland birds to big game animals, so the gear can vary greatly. One thing that I am always worried about is making sure I have clothing to dress accordingly. Being too cold/hot or even wet can seriously put a damper on a hunt, so I usually end up over packing to make sure I have all my basis covered when it comes to clothes.
What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?
My big-game rifle setup consists of a Browning 7mm mag and Hornady 154 grain Interbond ammo. I’ve been shooting this combination for quite a few years, and have killed caribou, a myriad of African animals, whitetail deer and black bear with it. “Santa” actually gave me the rifle in preparation for the caribou hunt that I mentioned above. It has really turned into a nostalgic experience every time I shoot it, and I can’t wait to take it back to Africa this summer.
What is your most memorable hunt?
It’s very hard for me to choose one hunt that is more memorable than all of the rest, because I hunt for the memories, not just the kill. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities to hunt in many states across the US, as well as Canada and Africa, and every hunt is the trip of a lifetime, even those that end without filling my tag.
What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
I am a member of Safari Club International, the National Wild Turkey Federation and a life member of the National Rifle Association.
Do you feel any need to overcompensate or overachieve in the hunting/shooting industry because you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field? I don’t feel the need to overcompensate or overachieve because I’m a woman in a male-dominated field. I strongly believe in letting my accomplishments speak for themselves. I don’t feel like it’s necessary to talk myself up or try to make myself look like I am more accomplished than I am. Who cares, really? Hunters need to stick together and show a untied front.
How do you feel media portrays women in the hunting/shooting industry? Do you feel there is a double standard? I feel that the mainstream media often portrays women in the outdoor industry as damaged, bloodthirsty monsters because we partake in the killing of animals. What they don’t understand is that it is often a spiritual experience that is much deeper than just the kill itself. And, many women pass along their knowledge of hunting to their children. I have seen a lot of anti-hunting attacks directed towards women in the industry, lately, including attacks against myself. It’s sad, really, because there is such a double standard when it comes to anti-hunters. An anti-hunter will threaten my life, because I take the life of an animal, but somehow (in their mind) that is okay for them to do.
When it comes to hunting gear, how do you feel about gear specifically designed for women (guns, clothing, packs, etc.)? When I was younger, hunting gear designed specifically for women didn’t exist. In fact, I thought I had to be just about the only girl who hunted. I wore my dad’s hand-me-down clothing and used the same guns that he used. I’m thrilled to see companies like Prois Hunting & Field Apparel, that are female owned and make fantastic women’s hunting clothing.
One thing that I wish for any company trying to cater to women in the outdoors, is to make products that are actually designed for women, don’t just put a pink label on a jacket and think that it is going to pass the test. In fact, pink isn’t necessary at all. Men don’t have to wear blue on their camo, why should women have to wear pink?
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook: Starr & Bodill African Safaris