People see you and your husband, Lee, hunting on The Crush and think, "Wow, that must be some life." But a lot of work must go into making your TV show. What's life for the two of you like behind the scenes?
Basically, our year is broken up into segments. When we're hunting in the fall, we're up at four in the morning and going all day long. It's just nonstop. We're often operating on four hours of sleep night after night. After hunting season is the trade show season. We're usually gone for a week at a time for a show, home about two days, and then gone again for the next one. After that, we do some turkey hunting and shed antler hunting, but we're really farmers then. We're preparing fields for the next fall. And throughout the year there are appearances, photo shoots, and commercials, as well as endless phone calls and e-mails with sponsors and things.
Did you grow up hunting?
No. I actually started hunting about 15 years ago, when Lee and I began dating. We were shooting 3-D archery tournaments pretty regularly, and then Lee asked me if I wanted to try hunting. I went out and shot a buck my first night in Minnesota. I was very lucky-but wow, was I ever hooked!
Are you an avid duck hunter?
Last year was the first time I tried it, and I'm 100 percent hooked. It was the most fun thing I've ever done, and it was all completely new to me. We've actually leased a spot for next year in Arkansas, and I can't wait!
Recent studies suggest that more and more women are becoming involved in hunting. Why do you think that is?
Well, I think there are several reasons. For one, word is out that it's okay to be a girl and go hunting. There have always been some female hunters out there, but it seems like it's becoming more and more common-and acceptable-for women to join their spouses or boyfriends in the field. And I'm seeing many more groups of women who hunt together. Also, the gear has gotten so much better. It used to be that you had to find hand-me-down boots and clothing that wouldn't fit, because the stuff in ladies' sizes was just poorer quality than the men's stuff. Now there are good boots, clothing, bows, and guns that are all made to fit. Being in the woods is so much more enjoyable when you're warm and comfortable.
What advice would you give to men about how to get their girlfriend, spouse, sister, or daughter interested in hunting?
Again, make it comfortable. I don't like to sit in the rain, but I do so because I know the hunting can be good. But if you have someone who's just starting out, don't take them out in nasty weather. Don't make them sit for 12 hours at a time. Be sure they're outfitted with nice, comfortable clothes, and try to get first-time hunters into a spot where they have high odds of at least seeing some animals.
How many dogs do you have?
We have three Labrador retrievers. Their names are Tank, Mattie, and Kyah. Initially, they were trained by Tom Dokken to be shed-antler dogs, but we've taken Tank duck and goose hunting several times, and he's been phenomenal. Mattie has been pheasant hunting, and we hope to introduce her to duck hunting next year. That's really my favorite part about duck hunting: watching the dogs.
Do they get to sleep on the couch?
Oh yeah. They're very spoiled. They're working dogs, but very spoiled. And their personalities are kind of like ours. Mattie is my dog, and she loves people and loves to snuggle. Tank is more hardcore and all business, more like Lee. They're our family. You won't find them sitting outside in the rain.