One of the greatest things about working in the hunting industry is getting to meet wonderful people, and also getting the opportunity to talk with these individuals who share the same passion that you do. Recently I have had the pleasure of connecting with Olivia Nalos. Olivia has been involved in the hunting industry for many years, yet most people recognize her as Mrs. Nebraska. There is no question that Olivia is a very beautiful woman and a tremendously accomplished hunter. Olivia is also a spokesperson for all of us in the hunting industry.
Most recently Olivia has been nominated as a top ten candidate for Primal Adventure’s Extreme Huntress Contest with Prois Hunting Apparel. We decided to do some investigating, and find out why Olivia is the Most Extreme Huntress.
1.) Olivia, what to you gain out of hunting that makes your life better?
I hunt for the love of wildlife, people and adventure. My travels have allowed me to see places seldom-few knew existed and spend time with various tribes or nomadic people and observe wildlife in their home. For me hunting is a way of life, not just for me but for all that it affects. Because of the hunter, jobs are created for indigenous people such as camp staff/trackers/skinners. Because of the hunter, wildlife biologists can observe how the wildlife are flourishing and allocate quota/tags based on species proliferation. Because of the hunter, game scouts are employed to ensure that poachers are out of work and that the precious wildlife is protected. Because of the hunter, water wells are drilled for both local people and wildlife. Because of the hunter, medical supplies and care are provided, schools are built, homes are built, clothes are provided and nourishing meat is provided. I hunt because of the good it does for wildlife, habitat and people.
2.) How does hunting make you a better woman?
Hunting brings me back to the basics of life; through persistence, perseverance and determination I will be successful whether I take an animal or not. It’s simply the reward of being one with nature and growing ever-closer to my Maker. In hunting dangerous game, it forces me to be brave and focused; there are times that I find myself intimidated by the dangerous animal I seek, but if I focus and remain confident in my abilities I will push myself beyond my own personal expectations and often surprise myself.
3.) What advice would you give to women that are hesitant about entering the outdoor world/hunting?
As women in the outdoors we will be amongst men. They will look at us suspiciously. They will watch our every move with eyes of steel. They will question us with stupid questions like “so, what sort of a scope do you have on your shotgun to hunt dove?” They will try to push our buttons to see if we belong. How you react will set the pace for the rest of your hunt.
Even if you haven’t hunted much, be confident in yourself. If they ask you how long you’ve been hunting or what you’ve killed before, be honest. You won’t know it all, but neither do the guys. You’ll likely be surprised that some of the guys will be encouraging and supportive and want to teach you everything they know.
Familiarizing yourself with your weapon and the species you are hunting is enough to impress those guys. At least you’ve studied in advance! But keep your cool and don’t worry if they look at you funny. They’ll expect you to sleep in, take two hours to put your makeup on, use up all of the hot water, complain about the weather, and only eat a salad for dinner. But if you get up at 4:00am (allowing yourself the time you need to get ready, which it’s okay to be pretty), work hard and spend time in the field, they’ll absolutely howl when you come in with the biggest buck!
Get yourself geared up with the right clothes for your hunt, if you can’t talk the part, at least you’ll look the part and you’ll be able to endure the weather. Talk with your hunting partner, outfitter or look at weather charts; knowing this will help you to assemble the best gear. Today we have so many clothing options; camouflage specific to the region you’ll be hunting in will help you to blend in. Also, with the weather in mind, make sure you get a product that can handle rain, snow or sweat.
When I first began hunting I wore mostly little-boys camo. Now we women have options that fit our bodies! I’ve been very pleased with the She Outdoor Apparel. The workmanship that goes into each garment has proven to be very durable in the field and lasts a long time. It’s important that clothes fit or you’ll have shirts snagged on the butt of your gun, pants that prohibit you from walking with ease and ultimately leave you blistered or chafed!
If it’s one of your first hunts, select a caliber that doesn’t rock your world. Begin shooting a .22-250 for practice, then move up to the .270, but if the animal you’re hunting is larger-bodied, like an elk, graduate to the .30-06, 7mm or .300 -any of these three calibers will allow you to hunt the world, unless of course you’re hunting Cape buffalo, lion, rhino, hippo and elephant.
As a woman hunter, don’t be intimidated to ask questions -that’s the only way you’re going to learn.
4.) What is your greatest passion associated with hunting?
Because I am already involved with wildlife conservation and habitat preservation as a hunter, my goal is to educate others and get the voice of the hunter heard -such individuals are the future of our industry. I aspire to educate children, women, and anyone else about all of the critical roles we hunters play in the circle of life so they too are equipped and capable of sharing the importance of hunting with the same conviction, knowledge and passion.
5.) How do you respond to criticism, or anti-hunting friends/co-workers?
Hunters ARE animal lovers; sounds surprising to some, but we hunt where they live, appreciate their family units, cunning hunting methods, and intimately observe them in their true environment. Hunters respect and appreciate wildlife in an entirely different way… in the wild!
I received a “cause invitation” on Facebook from a friend of mine that was titled “Make Animal Abuse a Felony”. Of course curiosity got the better of me and I had to look; it was the Humane Society, one of our greatest nemeses. Much to my surprise they had 1,908,574 members signed up on Facebook! Oh how beautifully the HSUS has disguised themselves -with pitiful pictures of emaciated horses, skinny dogs, hairless cats and all the pathetic ad campaigns we’re used to seeing on television. I know abuse happens, and I despise such animal owners, but I also know that the priority of the HSUS is to play on the emotions of many uninformed American’s to raise money to stop abuse and also hunting!
To be honest, I am for the humane or ethical treatment of animals -I don’t kick dogs, kill kitties, or abandon horses to starve in a dirt field. I am an animal lover; I appreciate the clever abilities of a cat and hope to mimic their hunting style; I think there’s nothing more beautiful to watch than a dog working a field in pursuit of pheasant or retrieving a duck from the chilly river waters, and without that durable packhorse, just how on earth would I get to my hunting camps?
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from professional hunters of grown men shedding a tear when they end the life of an animal; after all, this beast has taken them on a journey and helped them to grow as a hunter. I’ve even witnessed hunters weeping when they’ve wounded an animal -they hate that they’ve caused that animal to suffer; they wanted it to be killed quickly and cleanly. Of course these tears are either hidden or never spoken of -it’s sort of a quiet understanding shared between hunters.
So when someone asks me “let me get this straight, you claim to be an animal lover, but you kill them? Why?” My response is that I understand the circle of life and that wildlife needs to be managed; not doing so can have negative impacts on flora and fauna alike. Case in point: elephants. If they’re not managed, they can eat every other resident animal out of house and home and bring these species to the brink of extinction. Additionally, the money we pay to hunt goes back into wildlife conservation, taking animal censuses, conduction biological studies, anti-poaching efforts, drilling water wells for man and animal alike, feeding the indigenous people and the list goes on. So as humane animal lovers it is our responsibility to ensure all wildlife has the opportunity to flourish; managing is ultimately how we love animals.
6.) In your Extreme Huntress Competition Biography, you share an amazing experience from Benin, Africa. Could you please explain how you felt
– during the event
It’s something you can’t really explain, but more feel. Of the five senses we humans possess, I lost the sense of hearing. I didn’t hear the lion roar -I felt it through the core of my body! One never knows how they’ll react in such a situation until they’re put it in it. I’ve heard so many guys say, “oh, I could do that, no problem” but until you’re really in that dangerous close encounter, you’ll never really know. To be honest, I am surprised with my reaction, I didn’t realize how brave I was. It was very dangerous and extremely scary, but what was I going to do??? Run??? I’d be killed that way too, so it was better to stand my ground and go in boldly & bravely.
– immediately after the event
I weakened in the knees and collapsed next to the dead lion. I was coming down off a huge adrenaline rush -a ‘high’ if you will. It was as if I fought my greatest fight and gave all that I had, and with one last little ounce of energy I inhaled, exhaled, and collapsed. I was the victor and proud, but more in disbelief that I had done it. And the celebration was incredible. I was the first woman to kill a lion in Benin and it was the first lion killed in the country in 3 years.
– down the road, did this event change your perspective on hunting, or change you as a person?
Absolutely this hunt changed me as a hunter -I realize that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it. In this particular hunt (Benin Lion) I endured extreme heat (up to 125˚), lengthy tracking/stalking walks averaging at least 10 miles a day in that oppressive heat atop black soil, and that no matter the obstacle or danger, I WILL take it on and get the job done. It has made me the hunter I am today, just when I think I can’t do it, I remember that moment & press forward.
7.) Finally, why should people vote for you as the Most Extreme Huntress?
I am the epitome of huntress and I have proven to myself that I am willing to go anywhere in the world, after any species big or small, and I’ll do it, and have done it, all alone. I’ll climb any mountain, endure any temperatures, face any obstacle, struggle to speak any language, argue with any government official to get my guns, advocate for hunters regardless of adverse reaction, eat goat tongue sandwich’s or spam, accept judgment and criticism for being a woman, use an unfamiliar rifle and get scoped 3 times in a row by it and still get the job done even though I know that I’ll be smacked, go without a shower for more than a week, get lost, slither in the mud while vines grab onto every limb and detain me while trying to chase an animal in the jungle, drive more than 15 hours on dirt roads across deserts using only the stars to navigate (no proper roads in Mongolia), detain poachers at gun-point until authorities arrive, and take on any challenge and embrace all that it means to be a hunter -this is not just going out in the woods and hunting, this is embracing all aspects of being a hunter no matter who or what stands in your way.