Prois chicks and ticks… not a pleasant combination.

Author Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer and Britney Starr with Michelle's mighty blue wildebeest.   Image by Starr & Bodill African Safaris

Author Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer and Britney Starr with Michelle’s mighty blue wildebeest.
Image: Starr & Bodill African Safaris

This past July, I had the wonderful experience of hunting with Starr & Bodill African Safaris in the Eastern Cape of South Africa with five other unique and amazing women, including fellow Prois staffers Andrea Fisher and Britney Starr.  (Starr is coincidently one of the Starrs behind Starr & Bodill). We enjoyed 10 days of successful plains game hunting and a day of fishing in the Indian Ocean. It was an adventure I will never forget.

Continue reading

The Measure of Success: a black-tailed deer hunt

Próis Hunting and Field ApparelThis morning I took to the woods under a cloak of darkness. Silently, I found my place and nestled in to sit and watch the forest wake around me. With the sun’s first rays I listened to the birds sing and held hope I would successfully fill my tag.

Continue reading

Nightmares and Day Dreams (Re-Post)

I originally posted this story two years ago. As hunting season is now underway and many of us are introducing our children to the hunting and shooting sports for the first time, I feel it is an important message to share once again. Then again, is there ever a bad time to share this information? I think we all need safety reminders from time to time, regardless of age or experience.

*The names listed in this story have been changed to protect those involved.

There are a few cardinal rules in gun safety that must always be followed: 

     1- ALWAYS keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

     2- ALWAYS treat a gun as if it is loaded.

     3- ALWAYS keep the safety on and your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. 

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS!
1412804_10201785452510697_808123621_o Continue reading

Hunting season is here… It’s time to make Deer Camp Chili!

Fall is in the air! The colors are changing as the air turns crisp and cool. This also means it is HUNTING SEASON and time to make a big batch of Deer Camp Chili! (Did I mention this is my favorite season of the year???)

I have had several people ask me for recipe, although I really don’t have one. I have made the same from-scratch recipe for years which includes “a little of this and a little of that.” This year I took the time to write down the recipe for my grand children and their grand children to eventually enjoy. Until then, perhaps you can enjoy it, too. ;-)

Continue reading

Join Me! NW Ladies Hunting Camp May 17 ~18, 2014

Are you interested in learning about the hunting and shooting sports? Or are you an experienced huntress wanting to fine tune your skills and network with other outdoor adventurers?

Join me, May 17 ~ 18, 2014, for the NW Ladies Hunting Camp!  This special event is sponsored by the NRA’s Women on Target® program and Extreme Desire TV, and is perfect for women of all backgrounds and experience levels.

North West Ladies Hunting Camp flyer purple camo-2 copy

This two day event will be held in the beautiful Southern Willamette Valley near Pedee, Oregon, at Luckiamute Valley Pheasants.  Courses will be offered in a variety of outdoors skills, including, but not limited to: rifle and pistol shooting, archery, survival skills, outdoor photography, tracking, dutch oven cooking, field dressing, upland bird hunting, and so much more!

I will be joined by experienced instructors and leaders in the women’s hunting industry, including Candy Yow, Jennifer Holbrook, and Robin Rick, amongst others.

Registration is only $200 per participant ($269 after April 6), and includes all meals, course instruction, supplies and equipment, and includes a festive Saturday evening BBQ and fashion show!

For registration and more information click here.  Space is limited, so be sure to sign up today and take your outdoor skills to the next level!

What’s on your Playlist?

Running isn't to be left to the dogs.

Running isn’t to be left to the dogs.

As an avid hunter, it is very important I stay in shape in the off-season. In recent months I have taken up running to help keep me on task. I have never been a “runner”, but I realize it is not that difficult. Like most things in life, it is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. (Okay, well maybe it isn’t that easy… but if I keep telling myself that, then maybe I will believe?)

Continue reading

“Too Bad Hunting Isn’t an Olympic Sport” featuring Olympian Lanny Barnes

Originally posted on Get Outdoor with Amy Spoon & the Outdoor Chic Clique:

  Lanny and Tracy2 bigger?

Unless you have been living in a bubble, you know the 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing.  There are some amazing American athletes with high hopes of bringing home the gold, but Tracy and Lanny Barnes, USA’s twin Olympian biathletes, were making headlines well before any American stepped foot in Sochi.  While only Lanny will be competing in Sochi, it is by no means because her twin sister, Tracy, was not deserving of representing the Country.  Tracy was originally the one who earned a spot on the team. Due to an extremely disappointing illness during the trials, Lanny was not able to perform to her full potential and didn’t make the team.  Tracy completely shocked her sister with, Lanny and Tracywhat was more of a demand than a request, that Lanny take Tracy’s spot on the Olympic team and head to Sochi.  It is one of the most selfless…

View original 722 more words

The Hunt that Opened My Eyes… Part III (Repost)

This summer I will be returning to the Dark Continent, a place I once called home. I will hunt and fish with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, then return to a mission that is responsible for changing my life.  In homage to my upcoming adventure, I continue to share a series of posts I first made in late 2011. I look forward to adding a new chapter to this story in the months to come.

RECAP- Our 2009 South African safari was amazing, and the hunting phenominal. Todd and I had both harvested a number of animals and experienced new, beautiful terrain.  However, our vacation quickly took a turn for the worse.  While hunting bushbuck toward the end of our trip, Todd collapsed in my arms… he had no pulse… he was not breathing… he was dying. Continue reading

The Hunt that Opened My Eyes… Part II (Repost)

This summer I will be returning to the Dark Continent, a place I once called home. I will hunt and fish with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, then return to a mission that is responsible for changing my life.  In homage to my upcoming adventure, I continue to share a series of posts I first made in late 2011. I look forward to adding a new chapter to this story in the months to come.

248301_1933527350548_1613226570_1883821_4557725_n Continue reading

The Hunt that Opened My Eyes… Part I (Repost)

This summer I will be returning to the Dark Continent, a place I once called home. I will hunt and fish with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, then return to a mission that is responsible for changing my life.  In homage to my upcoming adventure, I share a post I first made in late 2011. I look forward to adding a new chapter to this story in the months to come.  

As 2011 draws to a close, I cannot help but reflect on the many blessings that have come upon our family this year.  One of my greatest blessings was being able to continue my humanitarian and relief aid project in South Africa.

The rural school children gathered and graced us with a beautiful song as a thank you for the gifts we brought.

Todd and I first traveled to South Africa in 2007 in pursuit of cape buffalo with Shingani Safaris.  Prior to our trip, our PH Riaan Vosloo, suggested we bring school supplies for the local public school.  I gathered a few dollars from co-workers and set aside my own funds to buy pencils, paper, glue, scissors, and the like, for the school children.  Little did I know what squalor and despair I would find when we delivered these items.  I knew the area we were traveling through was impoverished, but I had no idea exactly what these children were living with (or without) until I saw it with my own eyes.  The school had very few supplies and relied entirely upon donations.  I later learned that many of these donations came from American hunters on vacation.  If it were not for the generosity of the hunters, the school would not flourish.

The situation only deteriorated when Riaan’s wife, Charmaine, took us to a local crèche (or day care) for the children of local tobacco farm workers.  These toddlers were without diapers, or in diapers several days old.  They were covered in filth.  When their clothes became too small, or too soiled, the were simply “cut to fit” (i.e., pants legs and sleeves would be shortened, or the toes of shoes cut out).  Each child’s eyes and nose were crusted over.  Their faces and arms were covered with open sores.   A flurry of flies hovered close by.

As a parent, my heart sank with each new encounter.  My eyes filled with tears to the point that I had to keep my sunglasses on, even indoors.  I dared not let these children know I was crying for them… I was crying for humanity.  Why, when we live in a country of prosperity and hope, did these small children have to endure such conditions?

We had prepared a simple meal of sandwiches and fruit for the children to share.  Little did I know that this one meal would change the rest of my life.  From that moment I realized I could not go forward without doing more for these children.  After all, they were my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I did not dare turn my back on them!

Our hunt with Shingani Safaris was successful.  Between my husband and I we harvested cape buffalo, warthog, blesbok, springbok, black wildebeest, and a jackal.  Despite the expense of our hunt, Todd and I left our remaining travel budget with Riaan and Charmaine to ensure the children at the crèche would receive another decent meal.  I left knowing I needed to do something more.  Had it not been for our hunt, my eyes would not have been opened.

* * *

It wasn’t long before Todd and I were planning our next trip back to the Dark Continent in 2009.  This time we chose to hunt with our good friends at Crusader Safaris. Todd and I have had the opportunity to bird hunt and fish for winter steelhead with co-owner Chris Broster here in Oregon.  It was our turn to pay Chris a visit in South Africa.

Prior to our travels, I arranged with Chris’ wife, Melinda, to sponsor five local children.  Melinda gathered the clothing sizes, ages, and gender for the children, while Todd and I set to raising funds from our friends and co-workers.  We gathered a few hundred dollars and hit the bargain bins.  Before I knew it we had packed an entire suitcase for the children.

Upon our arrival to Chris and Melinda’s home, we hosted a party for the kids and provided them a Christmas in July.  The children arrived in tattered clothes and barefoot in the cold winter weather.  Todd and I made certain each child received several new outfits of warm clothing, a new hat and gloves, a toy, and a warm wool blanket all for their own.  

I will never forget the smiles on those young faces.  They warmed my heart!  Todd and I spent our remaining funds and purchased a space heater for the childrens’ school room to keep their tiny bodies warm.  Many American’s have the misconception that South Africa has a warm climate.  We do not realize it’s winters can be quite cold.  In fact, it snowed on us the first five days of our trip!

As our trip was winding up, Todd suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized.  We ended up spending several unplanned months in South Africa while he recovered.  (That’s a story for another day!)  While Todd was recovering, however, we were blessed to meet his hospital roommate, Mike Layard, and his wife Rose.  To this day we remain very good friends.

Mike and Rose had funded a mission which they started in the Addo Township of Valencia, a community just north of Port Elizabeth.  Days before Todd was finally able to fly home, Mike and Rose took us out to the Addo Faith Mission for a visit.  The visit to Addo opened my eyes and my heart even more.  I finally found my mission in life, and knew great things were to come.  (To be continued….)