What started out as an unplanned successful whitetail hunt one afternoon in December, 2006, has evolved into a career as an outdoor writer in the hunting industry and the formation and ownership of Life in Camo Media, LLC.
I grew up an avid competitive equestrian spending every possible moment in the outdoors–from sun up until usually well into the evening. I didn’t opt for the easy road; I didn’t have a trainer or hired hands to clean my stalls, train and groom my horses. I did the work myself; all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. I rode and trained my own horses. I was as haggard as my horses were when I shut the barn light every evening headed for the shower. With owning athlete horses came hardships, ups and downs, injuries and even the death of some. Leaving you to deal with broken dreams and empty stalls.
The responsibility and dedication that came with competitively showing horses instilled a strong belief of PERSEVERANCE in me. It was this perseverance that got me through a divorce when I turned 30, having to sell all my horses and disposing of the only thing that I knew for 20 years, picking up the pieces in a city and state where I had no relatives or friends that were not associated with horse shows, enrolling in college for the first time in my life at the age of 31, three college degrees completed by Spring 2006; only to be hit with the death of my Father in July of 2006.
At that point, I was left with nothing to do with my idle time. It was this boring lull that led me to answer “YES” to a question that virtually changed my life in a matter of minutes. It was around 3:00 p.m. December 26, 2006, and I was sitting at home on the couch in my den when my husband, Richard, came in and asked me if I wanted to go sit with him in a shooting house on a green field. I looked at him, just about to say no when he said, “we won’t be out there but a couple of hours.” I figured, “What the heck? I am not going to do anything but sit on this couch until time to cook supper anyways. Maybe now I won’t have to cook, we will go into town and eat.”
So I donned a pair of hand-me-down hunting pants, a spare camouflage jacket my husband had, a green Henley that I found in the closet, a fleece face mask, gloves too big for me and my Timberland hiking boots; I was a sight, no doubt. We were on our way to the shooting house and I didn’t have a clue what to expect. That day is one that I will remember for the rest of my life…for that day is what started this passion I now possess that keeps me challenging myself, researching, and writing about anything and everything hunting related. That day is the first time I ever shot a rifle, harvesting my first buck; a nice, 8 point whitetail. For this I have my husband, Richard, to thank for his unselfishness of allowing me to get a glimpse of his favorite sport.
I started seeking the knowledge of this new-found hobby, networking with other hunters and reading everything I could get my hands on. I acquired my first shotgun, compound bow and rifle shortly after that day. I made it my goal to harvest an animal with a rifle, muzzleloader, shotgun and compound bow in my first full year of hunting; which I succeeded by the second day of my first bow season and two months to spare for my one-year goal. I hunted whitetail deer, turkey, hog and quail my first year. Adding mule deer, antelope and pheasants in my second season, dove my third season and duck and geese in early 2010. I attended my first 3-D archery tournament 3 months after buying my bow in June, 2007. I made lifelong friends and mentors at that shoot. I shot my first sporting clays tournament four months after buying my shotgun and fell in love with shooting sports.
This sport took ahold of me like wild-fire. Before I knew it, I was approached about becoming a staff writer for Woman Hunter magazine, which led to other writing opportunities; including my own column, The Guru Huntress, with the Women’s Outdoor News, freelance contributions with many other online venues and some printed articles in publications. I am a voting member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA). I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the industry’s top names and some amazing writers at media events and have had the opportunity to take part in some great hunts, including Gamo Outdoors Celebrity Squirrel Hunt in 2014. Having a chance meeting with John Campbell and Jeremy Leu led to the decision to compete on the Versus-televised Campbell Outdoor Challenge to encourage women to compete in these events. My team “Team Artemis”, composed of myself and Marti Davis, competed in the October 2009 Whitetail Challenge in Carmi, Illinois. It is adventures like these that make lasting friendships and for this I am thankful.
Hunting is more than a hobby for me and every experience is just as fascinating as a childhood epiphany. I have had the opportunity to hunt in over 20 states and South Africa (AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, LA, TN, NC, SC, KS, OK, NE, MT, IL, IA, WY, MO, MN, KY & several more being added annually) and to hunt 12 different U.S. Native game (whitetail, mule deer, antelope, hog, turkey, quail, pheasant, duck, geese, alligator, dove & bear) and hope to add more animals to that list; and three South African animals (kudu, porcupine and impala). I am grateful for every opportunity that has come my way, every harvest that I have been blessed to take, and my most heartfelt gratitude are to those who have mentored or shared with me to make these experiences possible. The fellowship and camaraderie that I have experienced on these hunts have been some of my most cherished memories.
This blog was born out of the decision of Richard and I to pursue our Turkey Grand Slams as a couple in the Spring of 2009; falling short in our Montana hunt for Merriam’s as you can read how the hunts unfolded here on my blog. I redeemed myself harvesting my Merriam’s in Montana in the spring of 2010 and am now three birds from my 3rd & 4th grand slam. Hoping for the opportunity of a Gould and Oscellated in the spring of 2018 to complete my Royal and World Slam. Working toward and achieving personal goals are what makes life worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
I thought to myself that it would be neat to blog about the experience for others to read. My thoughts were that maybe it would encourage others to do the same or at least to help another woman step out into the outdoors. Opportunities kept arising and I felt compelled to keep writing about my adventures in my continued efforts of encouraging other women to expose themselves to what is out there waiting to be had.
Since beginning this blog, I have taken my yearning for mentoring other women a step further with forming a company named Ladies in Camo, LLC where myself and several other staff encourage and educate women through articles, product reviews and sharing hunting stories of others. We also host affordable women’s hunts with reputable outfitters across the nation. Visit the LIC website at http://www.LadiesinCamo.com. Since the success of Life in Camo Media, LLC, I made the decision to sell the name rights and digital assets to Ladies in Camo and I am focusing all of my time outside of my full time employment to Life in Camo Media, LLC.
I hunt only fair chase, I shoot only what I will consume, and I believe in being ethical and honest to myself and the sport. I am an advocate for other women and wish every woman could experience at least a small portion of the joy that hunting and shooting sports has brought to my life. Life is ever-evolving and it is over before some people feel they even had a moment to live it. Through this blog, I hope to share my experiences and research and hope that it will encourage other women to step out into the woods or to convince the skeptical readers that women hunters deserve the respect equal to other hunters. Hunt hard, harvest ethically, and may your drag be short…good luck this season. ~Nancy Jo
©Life in Camo Media, LLC/Nancy Jo Adams 2009-2017