We had the opportunity to interview Amanda Lowrey about her recent opportunity to compete in the Extreme Huntress Competition!! We found her to be absolutely a delight and we are happy to share a bit about her hunting life and the competition she so clearly wants to win. We hope you will read more about her and go check out the competition and give her a vote!!
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Amanda Lowrey. I am 25 years old, married, and have 2 beautiful daughters ages 4 & 5. I was raised in beautiful North Idaho and continue to reside here. I started going hunting with my dad and grandpa when I was just a little girl. I was hooked my first trip out! When I watched my dad harvest a deer for the first time, I knew I wanted to spend my life as a hunter. As soon as I got my own hunting license, I spent every free moment I had in the woods or on the water. Hunting quickly became an ever-growing passion. I was homeschooled and graduated at 16 years old. I traveled to Australia and New Zealand as a U.S. Student Ambassador at the age of 13. I left home to work on a ranch in Oregon for several months when I was just 15. I celebrated my 16th birthday there while on crutches following a horse accident which fractured my pelvis. Riding and training horses is my secondary passion, hunting being my first! I got married at 18 years old and my husband and I co-purchased an outfitting business when I was just 20. We bought it in partnership with his parents. I absolutely LOVE guiding! It is the best job in the world! We did that for a few years and eventually sold our share of the business to my husband’s parents. It was a super hard decision, but the Lord was leading us on to other things. Since then, my husband has worked in the oilfields and I have spent a year just being a mommy. I recently started up my own company, which is called I Can Outdoors. I work for Heartland Pro Camo as well, and I am also a finalist in the national Extreme Huntress Contest. If I have any spare time left over, I help my dad in the taxidermy shop.
What kind of hunting do you do?
I primarily do DIY hunts on public lands, often in the backcountry. We hunt both on foot and by horseback. I do hunt some private land for whitetail here in Idaho (all free-range, no high fence) Bear and whitetail are the only two things I’ve ever hunted out of a tree-stand or blind for, however I still prefer to spot and stalk them when I can.
What kind of weapon do you prefer, gun or bow?
Most of my hunting has been with a rifle, however the last few years I have found myself with a growing love for bow hunting. I tend to grab it more often these days. I love the challenge it presents.
What is your favorite species to hunt?
Gosh, how do I decide? My favorite thing to hunt is everything! HA! But I find myself most looking forward to archery elk season here in Idaho along with mule deer hunting. Second to those would be hunting cats and bears with the hounds.
What is your favorite women’s gear that helps you the most in the field?
Probably my favorite piece of equipment is my Badlands Kali Women’s Day Pack. The places I hunt make it essential for me to pack first aid equipment, food, water, etc. So therefore I need a pack that is both durable and well-fitted. I have been very impressed with the quality of this pack. I have had it bursting at the seams with equipment, meat, antlers, water, you name it and aside from looking dirty, it hardly shows signs of wear. The most important part of why I like it, is the way the frame is balanced. It is built in such a way that I can load as much weight as I can cram in there, and if I make sure my load is balanced when I pack it, I never get a sore back or sore shoulders. The burning in my legs is the only reminder that I’m packing a heavy load.
So, what is the Extreme Huntress Contest all about?
The mission of Extreme Huntress is this “The Extreme Huntress Contest is about preserving our outdoor heritage. Our goal is to create positive role models for women who want to participate in hunting. With 50% divorce rates and kids becoming invested in sports at a younger and younger age, we feel if mom goes hunting, so will her children.”
To compete, we had to submit an essay, gather online votes from the public, followed by a head to head competition in Texas where we were tested on our abilities to hunt, shoot, test our physical fitness and more.
What made you decide to compete?
I came across the contest entry by accident one day when scrolling through my facebook newsfeed. Upon reading their mission and learning what all would take place at the competition, I couldn’t help but enter. With a mission like that, how could I not participate? I have been very fortunate to have grown up living the outdoor lifestyle. My family were avid hunters and outdoorsmen, always hunting, camping and fishing or participating in numerous other outdoor activities. It is a lifestyle that I love and a treasure that I don’t want to see lost. It’s also a treasure that I feel MUST be shared! It is my personal mission to contribute as much as possible to helping others get involved in hunting and related outdoor sports.
How do you win the title of Extreme Huntress?
To enter, we had to submit a short essay (approx. 500 words were required. I think mine was about 4,000…) and also submit 2 photos. With the small amount of words I was allotted, I had to convince the judges that I had potential to be the next “Extreme Huntress”. A panel of 6 celebrity judges painstakingly sorted through dozens of entries and selected the top 10 semi-finalist that they thought had what it took to be a winner.
My husband and I were on the road hauling our last load of belongings from North Dakota back to our home state when I saw the list of top ten picks posted by the judges. I had to read it twice when I saw my name! My eyes welled up as I read through the list a second time. I couldn’t believe I had actually been chosen! I knew deep down this was just the beginning to what would be a game-changer in my life.
A nearly 2 month online voting campaign began shortly after the top ten ladies were revealed. The field would be narrowed down to four by a combination of 50% judges scores and 50% online votes. We were nearing the end of the campaign and I was sitting in 7th place. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to gather up enough votes to make it into the top 4 in time. I was blown away in the last week when the community rallied around me and gave me the final push in votes I needed. I finished FIRST place in votes! From 7th place to 1st in just over a week? Holy moly! Words can’t express the gratitude I felt for all of the support I was given.
What was next now that I made top 4? Well, that meant that I would be heading to Hondo, Texas to the prestigious 777 Ranch in mid-July to compete head-to-head against 3 other women in a battle of skills and wit. We would be tested on our hunting abilities, shooting skills, field judging and physical fitness. The challenges, coupled with the grueling summer heat, lack of sleep and a camera being shoved in your face at every turn, also made for a true test in strength of character and mental capacity.
What was it like hunting with Larry and Olivia?
I got to hunt with Olivia my first time out at the 777. We went out in hopes of finding a Corsican Ram. I just adore Olivia. What a fun lady! She is classy, knowledgeable, and a joy to be around. Her bubbly personality is infectious! She is a fantastic role model for other huntresses. Oh and I loved listening to her talk to the animals at the ranch! She was great!
From there, I spent the rest of the week hunting with Larry. Larry was one of my grandpa’s favorite icons over the years and the man is truly a legend. It was an honor to spend the week hunting with him. A lot of people want to know what such a legend is like in person and I will tell you that he is true blue. He’s got a big heart, he’s humble and he’s REAL. We had a little contest going on who could spot deer and axis sheds first. It was a blast! I very much admire him.
What were the other contestants like?
Prior to heading to Texas I got to chat with the other ladies and get to know them a little. I really liked them all right out the gate. Of course I was nervous about meeting them, you never know what someone is really like until you meet them in person. And we all know how women can be when they compete together. What I soon came to realize, was that this was a FANTASTIC group of ladies. We all became fast friends, and even helped each other strategize through each skills test and out in the field. We all had different strengths and weaknesses, but were able to work together and get through the week drama free! We all went there because we have a love and a passion for what we do and we believe in the mission of Extreme Huntress. No matter who takes home the title, we are all winners in my book, and I know that we will all continue to share our love of hunting with others.
How do you feel you did at the competition in Texas?
I was very blessed the week of the competition. I was able to complete the skills tests with much success (of course there’s always room for improvement!) and also was able to successfully harvest a beautiful Corsican Ram and a fantastic Iranian Red Sheep! Both were one-shot harvests I might add! (high fives!)! I went there with the mindset that I was competing against myself rather than against the other ladies. I could’ve done better in a few areas, but mostly came away really happy with how things went. I gained a wealth of knowledge and numerous life-long friendships throughout the week. I also came home with 26 sheds! Yes, 26! A mixture of Axis, whitetail, and elk sheds! It was a week that would leave me smiling for a long time! I give all credit to the Lord for watching over me and for the love and support of all of my family and friends!
What was the highlight of the week for you?
Oh goodness, it’s really hard to pinpoint just one thing that really stood out. The whole week was amazing! However, my Red Sheep was quite an achievement for me. It was the most difficult animal on our list to harvest, and if you’d been there during the hunt you would know that it wasn’t looking too promising that I would be successful. When it all came together, it was sweet victory (end-zone victory dance included).
Another great moment for me was when Cheyenne harvested her Axis. She really had some tough luck during the week when she was hunting. Things just were not coming together for her. I had decided to give her my slot to hunt so she could have more opportunity to get something, as the week was winding down, and she was running out of time to hunt. I was overjoyed for her when she finally harvested that Axis. She got that million dollar smile on her face and all the frustrations and disappointments she had that week were quickly forgotten. I was really proud of her for sticking with it and thrilled when her persistence paid off!
So you made it through the competition in Texas, now what?
Now we would have to wait for some time to pass. Another round of online voting would begin October 1st, followed by the release of an online series of 11 episodes from the competition in Texas. As soon as October 1st hit, the race was on! We’ve all been working our tails off to get the word out there to the public and get some votes! I’ve lost count on how many articles we’ve been featured in! We’ve all been in magazines, newspapers (both local and major), online magazines, blogs, live radio, numerous podcasts and more. The battle continues as we near the end of our voting campaign. We’ll keep duking it out until January 1st when voting, and this year’s competition comes to a close and the 2014 Extreme Huntress is chosen.
What would winning the title of Extreme Huntress mean to you?
I would love to win the title of Extreme Huntress and be given that platform to be able to share our mission and get more people involved. My heart is full of passion and love for the sport of hunting and I can’t help but want to share it with others. Win or no win, this is what I aim to do. I also hope that throughout my endeavors, I will be able to help educate non-hunters on the importance of hunting and wildlife conservation.
How can we help you?
If you haven’t been following already, you really should take some time and review the episodes from the competition. They are action packed and will give you an idea who us 4 ladies are. You can do so at www.extremehuntress.com/category/episodes
Once you’ve watched the episodes, it would be so awesome if you could take a moment and vote for your favorite huntress (me pretty please) at www.extremehuntress.com/vote
You can also DOUBLE your vote by going to www.facebook.com/extremehuntress , click on the “Vote Now” tab and once again, vote for your favorite huntress!
Make sure you send all your friends and family to vote as well, I could really use all the help I can get! It’s going to be a race to the end to win this title and I am counting on your support to secure the title!
The winner will be announced at this year’s Dallas Safari Club convention on January 10th. (I know, the anticipation is killing me too!)
Lastly, what piece of advice would you give women who are new to hunting?
Learn as MUCH as you possibly can before heading out into the field. If you’ve never been hunting, try to find a patient mentor that would be willing to take you along and teach you. If not, read and watch as much as you can. Study the animals you will be hunting and the area you will be hunting them in. Practice like crazy with whatever weapon you will be using. You need to be accurate as well as confident and comfortable when handling that weapon. Don’t be afraid to reach out to more experienced hunters for help. Most people are more than willing to help out however they can. Make sure you know what to do with your animal once it is harvested. You need to be able to dress it out, skin it, quarter it, de-bone it, whatever you need to do to pack it out. If you kill something that is accessible by vehicle or ATV….well, lucky you. You still should learn those skills anyway, just in case you need them. Most importantly, have FUN. Everyone has those days in the field that could easily be miserable and disheartening. It is important to find humor in the situation, it can turn what could have been a bad day, into something fun and even make for a darn good story! One of my favorite quotes is “A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, and outlast the unbearable.” – Billy Graham. Learn, grow, and keep a big ‘ol smile on your face!