Episode 026 I’m Jessica Entel, also known as Huntress Jess

Listen to the podcast here:

Huntress Jess
Huntress Jess

Welcome to another episode of Whitetail Rendezvous. With us today, is Jess Entel. She’s out of Wyoming. She’s also known, or aka, as Huntress Jess. Jess, say hello to the folks.

Jess: Hello!

Interviewer: Jess, why don’t you just start right off and give us your background in hunting.

Jess: Well, I’ve been hunting for the last 12 years. And it ranges from anywhere to antelope, neo deer, white tail deer, pheasant hunting, and dove hunting. If I can get a tag for it, I’m hunting it.

Interviewer: Where did this all come from? I mean, where did this tradition develop in you?

Jess: Well, my family had a hunting store, and so hunting was always something that…it was my norm. And when I was about three years old, I wanted to learn archery. And so my uncle took the time to show me the basics of archery and then he would take me out fishing. Archery and fishing, it was a huge family thing. Everyone’s thing was to go to archery clubs. And my mom was there, my grandparents, my aunt, uncle, cousins. We’d all shoot together. And fishing was the same thing. It was big family get-together s going fishing. And then, my family moved and we all dispersed. And when I was about 12, I went on my first hunting trip. And then I took a break because as a kid growing up, I really didn’t have someone to take me hunting at that point. But I still wanted to go hunting, so at that point, when I was 16, I started reading books, researching online, and taught myself at that point.

Interviewer: Just name a couple of either sites you go on on the web, or some of the books you read, or magazines.

Jess: One of the books that I read over time, that has been really influential, is Back country Bowhunting by Cameron Hanes. It really puts a really good perspective on hunting in the back country. Because that’s where I live, is in Wyoming, and it’s unpredictable terrain all the time. And it was definitely one of the books that was really influential in sculpting my hunting ability. And the web site, social media was a huge part of it, too. Just listening to other people, talking to other people from all over the world really helps in my hunting ability, as well.

Interviewer: Two things. Cameron Hanes is sort of from your country up there, isn’t he?

Jess: He’s actually from Oregon.

Interviewer: Okay.

Jess: But he’s a backcountry bowhunter, and I know he has hunted in Wyoming.

Interviewer: When you said social networking, as I say, let’s unpack that a little bit. Let’s talk about how you used that, one, to brand yourself, two, gain information, and three, build your own community. Let’s talk about those three things, and take a few minutes and let’s expand upon that.

Jess: Okay. Well, when I first started social media, of course, I never expected it to end up being the way it is, when I first got on Facebook. Because growing up as a girl and hunting and enjoying hunting, there wasn’t a whole lot of my friends that did that. It was just the guys that did that. Then I get on social media, and it was like, “Holy cow, there’s lots women out there that actually do enjoy hunting and have a lot of advise.” And so just following their pages, and then there were things that I wanted to add. And I would add on their pages and it was like, “Why don’t I just start my own page?” and looked into it. Because I do have a lot of experience and I do have some advise. And so that’s pretty much where it developed with me wanting to be more involved and starting my own social media page.

Interviewer: And what sites are you on social media?

Jess: I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with Pinterest, as well.

Interviewer: Let’s start with Facebook. How many friends? What kind of audience do you have?

Jess: Well, one, my Facebook page, the audience range is so diverse. I have equal parts male and female, and I have some people on there that don’t hunt but find the whole culture of hunting and the pursuit of hunting fascinating. And then, I have die-hard hunters that just love sharing their stories with me, and me sharing my stories with them and my influences. And currently on Facebook, I have, I believe, 3,300 Facebook followers on Facebook. And then I have well over 2,000 on Twitter.

Interviewer: That’s pretty good.

Jess: Yeah.

Interviewer: Tell me, where does that put you in the Facebook world? I’m looking at your page now and you’ve got 324 people like your site, Jessica Entel, Huntress Jess, and you’re listed as an athlete. Talk to me about that.

Jess: First, I had it as a – I’m trying to remember what they call it on there – public figure. And to me, that sounds so formal. And as a backcountry hunter, I get tested a lot with my endurance, and it’s more athletic. And I have to prepare all year round as if I was an athlete, to be able to hunt in the fall. So I decided, “Well, I’m more of an athlete than a public figure,” and so I changed it.

Interviewer: Good for you. I like that. I think that reminds everybody, especially if you go into the backcountry and you might use horses or llamas or whatever to pack in. But you’re out there and there’s no roads, there is no easy trails, and you just gotta go make your own way, find the elk, find the deer, whatever you’re hunting. Some people never get that experience. Let’s share that backcountry experience that you do well.

Jess: Well, for me, all the hunting I do is spot and stalk. So I am always on my feet, always walking. Because I hunt from the ground blind and I usually get up at about 4 a.m. But if I’m going to spot and stalk and go hiking, we actually get up a little bit earlier so that we can get out there and walk. We pick up off the land. We know where the deer are, because my husband and I, we spend a lot of time just outside, all year round. And so we know where some good hunting holes are, just by stumbling upon them with our kids. We make a game plan opening day, and we walk out there, find the tracks, and we follow the tracks. Just this last year, we ended up having to follow the tracks three miles and then we stumbled upon the deer. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when we stumbled upon the deer.

Interviewer: Wow. What kind of terrain was it?

Jess: Oh, it’s rough. It goes from really steep grades and it will be sloping. It’s very rarely flat for more than a minute. And then on top of it, the elevation is much higher in the mountains, so it definitely makes it a lot harder of a workout. So after having kids, I wasn’t fully ready for that. I thought, “Well, I’ll bounce right back,” and no. That’s when I realized, “Well, I’m gonna to have to workout all year-round and train all year-round for hunting so that I can handle it.”

Interviewer: Let’s talk about your preparation year long. Just a sample week workout, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday?

Jess: Well, during the week I always [inaudible 00:09:55] in my belt, and I don’t really call that a workout. [inaudible 00:09:58] practice, and I always try to challenge myself to raise my weight on my evo [SP] than the weight I can pull. But on Mondays and Fridays, I do core workout. And Tuesdays, I do an upper arm, and then I also incorporate yoga, because yoga brings great balance and stability to your body. And so I’ve found yoga to actually be quite helpful. Then I also do a leg day and work on my lower half of my…

Interviewer: And you do that all year-round?

Jess: All year-round. I work out 16…

Interviewer: Does your husband join you in these workouts?

Jess: Sometimes. With his crazy schedule, he does a lot of weight training, and lifting weights is his major thing that he loves to do. So sometimes, when he’s home with me, he does it with me, but when’s he not home, he does his own thing.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about spot and stalk. You mentioned that’s one of your techniques that you use quite a bit. Let’s talk about that technique and how you make it work for you.

Jess: For me, with spot and stalk hunting, was at times really difficult. Because at times, it’s unpredictable. You don’t know if you’re going to see anything, and then when you do, it’s about closing in on that distance without being seen. And in Wyoming, in certain areas, it’s unpredictable. You go from mountains, and then it’ll be completely flat and you won’t see anything. That tends to be where the antelope are. It’s where it’s completely flat. And I have yet to get an antelope with my bow, but it’s my goal this year. It’s just trying to close that distance but I think that, at times, that it’s actually more rewarding than when I hunt from the ground blind. Because to me, it’s like you’re really out there, you’re hunting for it. You see it, you spot it, and you follow it. You’re trying to be like an FBI agent or a CIA agent, and totally go unseen. And you have to be real sneaky and real quiet, and it’s kind of freaking difficult with your gear, too.

Interviewer: Now, you mentioned antelope. Have you taken elk and mule deer with your bow, or white tails?

Jess: I’ve actually taken white tail with my gear, but I haven’t taken a mule or an elk with my bow yet. And I’m planning on doing all that this year. I was able to get a really nice bow this last year, so I’m really excited to be able to use this bow, and hunting this year.

Interviewer: Well, tell us about your bow.

Jess: I have the Bowtech Carbon Rose. Bowtech Carbon Rose is my bow.

Interviewer: And are you on their [inaudible 00:13:32]?

Jess: I am not. I am not, but I was very fortunate, I entered a contest on Facebook and just explained what I love about the bow. And that was the bow I was planning on purchasing, and I ended up winning it on Bowtech Facebook page.

Interviewer: Get outta here?

Jess: Yeah, I was flabbergasted. I was shocked.

Interviewer: Out of how many people? I mean, they had to have thousands of people do that.

Jess: Out of thousands. I believe there were a couple thousand that entered for the Carbon Rose.

Interviewer: Good for you!

Jess: Yeah, I was shocked. Because I never enter those kind of things, and I was like, “Well, why not?”

Interviewer: Let’s spend a couple of minutes talking about women in the outdoors, why that is the fasting growing segment in the hunting industry right now.

Jess. Well, I think a lot of why more women are wanting to become more involved in the outdoors, is a lot of women are looking for something that they can do with their family and do with their husbands. And be able, at the same time, to provide for their family. Women have this instinct, especially with their kids, we want to be able to protect our kids. We also want to be able to provide our kids, just like men do, and like my husband does. It’s really empowering for women to be able to go out into the woods, or the backcountry, and harvest an animal, bring it home, and then cook it up for your family. I think a lot more women are seeing that and how empowering it is.

Interviewer: I bet we could throw in it helps women to be more “self-efficient, confident, self-aware and attuned,” as you are, with what your body needs, so you can preform as a hunter, as a huntress.

Jess: Yes.

Interviewer: Would you agree to that?

Jess: Definitely. Definitely.

Interviewer: So for all the ladies listening out there, let’s talk about that a little bit, the importance of those attributes that I just discussed in women today.

Jess: Well, I know for me, I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence through hunting and to be able to be out in the great outdoors. Whether my husband is with me or not, to be able to know I have the potential to harvest an animal and to be able to have my family eat what I have harvested. I mean, right on my Facebook page, just the other day, I posted, “Well, some people get their meat from the grocery store. I’m not those kind of people.” And for a woman to be able to say, “Well, I’m a hunter. I don’t need to go to the grocery store to get my meat,” it’s not only you get second looks from people, but it’s also an empowering feeling when you get “That’s awesome. That’s so cool,” or “I wish my wife would hunt,” or “I wish I knew another girl that hunted,” or “I do know some women that hunt. I think it’s awesome.” I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had more positive reinforcement that comes back to me from total strangers and friends, from being a female hunter. And I know that even if I was to get negative feedback, I have too much love for it to not even let it bring me down at this point.

Interviewer: Why do you think there is some pushback or negativity towards hunting, male, female, hunting in general? Why do you think that is?

Jess: You know, I think a lot of it is people look at it like times are changing. We’re not cave men anymore. We don’t need to hunt for our food. I get that a lot on Twitter. On Twitter, I get targeted quite often from PETA members and animal rights activist groups. And the way I see it is, yeah, we’re not cave men anymore, however, it’s a tradition. And because you’re cutting down a Christmas tree, and the Christmas tree is going to die, would you eliminate having a Christmas tree at Christmas? No. I’ve grown up hunting and I knew I wanted my kids to grow up hunting. And I wanted my kids to grow up having involvement in the outdoors. And whether they choose to continue it or not in their adult life, is up to them and I support them whether they want to or not. But it’s a tradition in our family, and as much as my kids love it, I know it’ll still be a tradition in theirs. But then on the other spectrum, I get the, “Well, there’s other things that you can do with your children, and other things you can do with your husband to bond.”

And yeah, there is, but nothing like hunting. Nothing like being in the outdoors can bring your family closer together, especially when you’re out hunting and you’re tired from all the walking, and then you finally see your deer and then you shoot the deer. Then you get the deer and it’s just this rush of adrenaline and a rush of pride. To see it on my husband’s face, when my husband gets to see it on my face, it brings you closer together because there were times that you just wanted to give up and say, “Y’all let’s just give up for the day.” And you are so thankful that you didn’t. Just those memories that you make. I really don’t think you can get those anywhere else, because you’ve got to go through the blood, sweat and tears side-by-side with your friends and family. There’s not a lot of things out there in this world that you have the opportunity to be able to do that.

Interviewer: Good stuff, Huntress Jess, good stuff. What advise would you give ladies from suburbia, from cities, from large communities, that don’t have the background you do in the hunting tradition? What advise would you share with them on how to get into the out-of-doors?

Jess: What I would give them for advise, would be to look on social media. That was a big part of gathering tips and tricks for hunting, for me. And then also to take the time, go to your local gun store, go to your local hunting store and talk to some guys down there. I know it can be really intimidating for a woman to go into the hunting store and ask men about hunting. Some of them might laugh at you, but have the confidence. If this is something you really want to look into and want to pursue, you have to leave your comfort zone and ask questions. You can never ask too many questions and you can never be too knowledgeable. Ask anyone and everyone you can.

And then, also, I would look on your local, your state game and fish websites, figure out public land areas, also. And then, of course, talk to other guys at the hunting store, figure out if you want to do rifle hunting, figure out what you need. If you want to do archery hunting, figure out what you need. But a lot of it is just go in there and be confident, and know, “This is what I want to do.” They’ll support you. When I went in there, I was more intimidated because of what I thought could happen, and the “what if.” And it was silly. And they were so knowledgeable, so helpful, and so patient. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. They let me know that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you really don’t know, ask, and it’s totally fine.

Interviewer: Thank you for sharing that. I’m taking notes. I hope our listeners are taking notes, also. Let’s talk about how clothing for women has changed over the last few years. We’re not talking a long time, last five years. Let’s talk about when you were growing up and what opportunities or what choices you have now. What’s the difference?

Jess: When I was growing up, I had to wear a pair of… We had a hunting store, so of course, I was able to get clothes that were close to my size. It was more like wearing a camo colored gunny [SP] sack. And now, it’s fitted and it fits well. The material is phenomenal, and it’s completely night and day in just the last few years, that they’ve been able to say, “Well, this is the cut and style. Women don’t like to feel like you’re wearing big bags when you go into the woods.” A lot of it, too, when it comes to the women’s clothing, we’re still women. We still want to look good. We want to feel good but we also want to be able to get the job done and go hunt. And I’m so thrilled that there’s more clothing out there that are for women and for their fit, for their body shape, and for their style, too. It’s just awesome.

Interviewer: Any brands that you like, or know of, or think are pretty good?

Jess: I love the Prois line.

Interviewer: I laugh. I gotta laugh. I gotta laugh. Kirstie Pike is a personal friend of mine.

Jess: I love her clothes. I just absolutely love it.

Interviewer: That’s great.

Jess: I think she’s an upland game bird hunter, and that’s something that still isn’t out there very much for women, is upland game bird clothing apparel, unless you go to Prois. And you will find phenomenal upland game clothes. And I just love how diverse they are. If you’re looking for something, whether you’re hunting white tail and from a tree stand, to hunting elk in the mountains, to you’re shooting pheasant on a habitat, it doesn’t matter, they have it. It’s just phenomenal. I love Prois.

Interviewer: Okay. Let’s get technical. Why do you like Prois? Ladies are out there, they have a lot of choices today, more choices than ever before. Let’s talk about the cut, the zippers, anything you want to talk about.

Jess: Well, I love the cut. The material is great. And even their jackets for warmth aren’t heavy. So many jackets that I’ve tried on and seen, if you want warmth, it gets heavier, which is understandable. But hunting and being in the backcountry for hours and hours and walking miles and miles and miles, after a while, you don’t want that heaviness. And their winter clothes are really light, and they’re moveable and breathable. You’re able to really move around in it but still be warm, which is really key for being in Wyoming. The weather is moody. It’s so unpredictable. And so you have to be able to strip off, and what you strip off can’t be heavy. And when you put it on, you can’t feel heavy and weighted. Prois just makes it really easy for women, where you don’t have to really think about it a whole lot. You’re just like, “Oh, well, this is willka [SP].”

Sorry, let me start over just for a quick second. Prois makes it more like an “aha” for women. Like, “Ah, there you’ve been. Been looking for you” kind of thing when it comes to their clothing, because there’s nothing else out there like it. There’s things similar but nothing quite like Prois.

Interviewer: Listeners, Kirstie was an emergency room nurse, probably five years ago. And she had this idea right in Gundersen Regional Hospital, there in Gundersen. And she was a nurse. Her whole family hunts. I mean, they’ve been hunting forever. And she got sick and tired of wearing men’s clothes. Flat out. And she got with some pretty smart people, designed some stuff, got some samples made, and tested it out. Kept going. Kept going. And now, if not the best, she’s right there in the industry. The other thing about Prois, for the listener, especially for the women, it’s a community, just like Jess is talking about. It’s a community that you can go and ask any questions, and you’re going to get straight answers. And you can do that with any good women’s clothier. They’re going to help you gain the confidence, all the things that Jess talked about, to experience the out-of-doors. Because I’m sure you’d echo this, Jess. There’s no other experience in North America today, than you watching the sun come up or the sun go down after harvesting an animal.

Jess: I agree. I fully agree. Honestly, aside from being able to make the memories in the field, there’s nothing greater than being in the outdoors when the sun comes up and you get to watch the world come alive in front of you. And it’s just amazing.

Interviewer: Jess, our time rapidly gone by because you’re good at talking and sharing who you are, what you stand for. So now’s the time for the open mic, and please, give people your Facebook, how to get a hold of you on Facebook, again. Your Twitter account, and say it slow so people like me can write it down, your Instagram account, and I think you said pin interest account?

Jess: Pinterest.

Interviewer: Pinterest. Okay. So start with Facebook and we’ll go from there.

Jess: Okay. My Facebook account is @HuntressJess, H-U-N-T-R-E-S-S, J-E-S-S. And then my Twitter account is @_HuntressJess. And then my Instragram and Pinterest are @HuntressJess.

Interviewer: Okay. I’m writing that down, and I hope all the listeners have done that. And shout outs for, we’ve already talked about Prois. We’ve already talked about your bow. How about your boots? Your arrows? Who you’re on Pro-Staff? Share that information, please.

Jess: I am proudly on the Pro-Staff for Her Non Scents and U-Slide Bow Holder. Phenomenal products if you’re looking for scent free hair conditioner and shampoo that doesn’t dry and damage out your hair. Her Non Scents is amazing. I use Her Non Scents year-round, not just in hunting season. And it’s definite salon quality. And then U-Slide Bow Holder is great, whether you’re target practicing or if you’re setting up your groundline or your tree stand. You don’t want to hold your bow the whole entire time, and U-Slide has your back. Just phenomenal, awesome product. And then I’m also on the shooting staff for Black Eagle Arrows. They are the best arrows I have shot. Ever. And I’ve been shooting since I was three years old. For 21 years, I’ve been shooting archery, and they are the best arrows I have ever shot.

Interviewer: Carbon, or aluminum, or both?

Jess: I use carbon. But I’d have to look more in to the line of their arrows. But they are carbon arrows, what I have. I have the Outlaws, is what I shoot.

Interviewer: Broad heads?

Jess: Carnivores, excuse me. Carnivores is what I shoot. They are Outlaws that are designed for women. But I shoot the Carnivores from Black Eagle Arrows.

Interviewer: Okay. And how about your broad heads?

Jess: I don’t actually have a specific brand that I use. I love Muzzy [SP], is what I use, some Muzzy broad heads. But being in a small town, our hunting store is very small. It’s very, very small, so I tend to shoot broad heads whatever they have available. But I absolutely love using Muzzy for broad heads.

Interviewer: In closing, anything that you want to say to the women listening to the show that you haven’t already covered?

Jess: My advice to you would be don’t hesitate in trying something new and live outside your comfort zone, because that’s where great things happen. And you’d be surprised the part of you that’s been kind of hiding, until you become a hunter and until you try. And just ask questions. Don’t be afraid.

Interviewer: Huntress Jess, thank you. Thank you, thank you for being on the show, Whitetail Rendezvous, and sharing with our community. You’re a member of our community now, and I look forward to having you on the show couple times a year, if you’re so willing.

Jess: Of course. Thank you so much for having me.

Interviewer: The things you’ve shared are meaningful, not only to the ladies but to the men. Because if you listen to what Jess is saying, the next time you see your girlfriend, your wife, you can say, “Wait a minute. Why aren’t I taking her with me?” Maybe you haven’t thought about that. But as Jess said, the bond she feels with her husband is pretty awesome.

Jess: Oh, definitely. It has made us closer. No question about it.

Interviewer: You’re awesome, Jess. And again, thank you, Whitetail Hunts Community, for listening in. Until the next time, may all your hunts be great ones. Thanks again, Jess.

Jess: Thank you.