The Extreme Huntress Competition is about preserving the outdoor heritage. It continues to set the bar for serious outdoors women, while at the same time providing positive role models for women who are new to hunting, shooting, and other traditional outdoor sports. In this episode, host Bruce Hutcheon and co-host Meadow Kouffeld interview hunter and role model to the youth Jackie Gross-Guccini about her goals as an ultimate extreme huntress to create positive role models for women who want to participate in hunting. Who will be our Ultimate Extreme Huntress?
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Welcome to a very special Extreme Huntress episode with Jackie Gross-Guccini. Joining me is Meadow Kouffeld. She’s been my cohost before and Meadow was also a finalist in Extreme Huntress so I could think of no better person to interview Jackie than Meadow. They have a lot of history together as you’ll find out. Meadow and Jackie, welcome to the show.
I’m so happy to have Jackie on. Jackie is a spitfire. She is the lady full of energy and she’s driven but she’s also very real and a very kind person. I wanted to start off with the story. One of the things about Jackie that I love and have a lot of respect for is her ability to handle things under pressure. She does a lot of stuff very well under pressure. We did meet at the Extreme Huntress. We got to spend a full week together during that competition. She plays a supportive role since she won Extreme Huntress awhile back and has been at all of the competitions supporting the women and that project. She got to do the Ultimate Extreme Huntress, which is a pretty amazing thing and they can’t wait to know about it. Jackie, thank you.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it and I’m excited to answer some questions that you all have. I know some of the stuff I won’t be able to give you all the detail, but we can have another show and we could continue on to talk more about African and more about what some of the competitions were.
That’s the tough part there. I knew what happened last time. At this time, it’s going to be tough to span those episodes out because I am curious how things went. I want to tell you a quick story about Jackie. I was at the Extreme Huntress competition down in Texas with her. I was one of the contestants and I was pretty stressed out and it was the first animal I harvested while I was there. I was hanging the animal up and I’d already been in a stressful situation. I made a poor shot and felt pretty bad about it. I was putting the animal up on the gamble and raising it on a boat winch. I hadn’t had the backstop on the clicker and everyone’s standing around and the cameras on you and everyone’s telling you one thing or another. Jackie’s saying, “You’ve got to do this and do that.” I had my process in my mind and everyone’s jabbering.
At some point, I looked at Jackie and said, “Jackie, chill.” It was a quick response. I felt bad but I was trying to get things done. I thought, “I hope I didn’t burn a bridge there.” A couple of minutes later after I pulled down and I had taken care of my animal and put it away, I walked up and I approached Jackie and I apologized. I told her that I was under a lot of stress and I didn’t mean to come off sharp. Jackie didn’t even have a sharp tone or voice or anything along those lines. She quickly accepted the apology and we talked it out and we hugged. After that moment, I adored Jackie because she’s real enough to be able to go ahead and accept apologies and go forward even though I was out of line. That right there was for me a reflection of Jackie’s true personality.
Anything to add, Jackie?
Like Meadow said, the girls, I had to do it as well. We were under a lot of pressure and stress. You’re hunting every day and you’re competing in these various and strenuous competitions and you do get stressed. One of the biggest things where I’ve learned over the years that some of our girls that are the best of the best, they don’t do very well under stress. They call me Mama Bear. My job is to do is to make sure that I keep those girls and not necessarily in line, but make sure that they have somebody to go to for those types of situations. It’s seven days of lots of early mornings. You don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know what competitions you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re hunting. It was nice.
As far as Meadow, I always told her, “It takes a bigger person to go and apologize for something than it does just to clip it all.” It was nice that Meadow and I were able to talk about that type of situation. She still performed very well for the competition. Everybody are winners no matter what place you get. I’ve always envied a lot of things that Meadow gets to do in her real job and also in her hunting atmosphere because I don’t have those options all the time and the stuff that I do on a day-to-day basis. It was fun to be able to hunt with all the women. I hunted and got to be with over 36 women since I’ve been helping do this. We all have that one thing in common and it’s that passion for outdoors. It doesn’t matter, we’re all cranky at times. We just got to move forward and go from there.
I wanted to say that I appreciate that about you. You brought it home for me about who you are. It was a real treat. I’m not easy. Sometimes it takes a bit for me to trust people or let them in. That was one of those moments where I’m like, “Jackie’s real. I can trust Jackie.”
Yes, you can. I have that firsthand knowledge for her and TJ. Jackie, let’s go back to your first Extreme Huntress and then we can go forward to the Ultimate Extreme Huntress.
Back in 2011, I was looking for different options for me to go hunting. At that time in my life, I wasn’t able to afford these big hunts. I’ve seen the Extreme Huntress Competition. It mentioned your true passion for hunting. You submit an essay and then if you make the top ten, the world will vote. This competition started in ‘11. I won the competition in 2012 and I got to travel to Zimbabwe, Africa to hunt dangerous game. It was just something that I never thought that I would ever do in my lifetime back then. Once I’ve experienced Africa and experienced Extreme Huntress, it changed my life forever. I tell people, they’re like, “How did it change your life forever?”Success comes to those who never quit and never stop dreaming. Click To Tweet
That’s some of the questions that they ask, “What’s your journey been since you’ve been with Extreme Huntress?” Extreme Huntress changed my life so much that I name a little boy after my PH in Africa that I hunted with. I never realized we have our little bubble where we’re from and the hunting. Extreme Huntress helped me to reach out and look at the other aspects of hunting and wildlife conservation. I would have never known that if it wasn’t for the competition. A lot of people asked me, “Why do you keep supporting it? Sometimes there’s drama.” No matter what competition you have, if you’ve got six women together for a week, there’s always going to be something. No matter what you all doing, that’s how it is.”
The reason for Extreme Huntress is I get to meet people like Meadow and all the girls for all these years, 36 women. All of us share the same love for the game. We want to help wildlife conservation. We want to in tune our kids into being in the outdoors and we all have that same passion. For me, to be able to stay with the Extreme Huntress, that’s why I’ve supported it and help coordinate it over so many years because that’s us. We’re women. We’re the bad-asses of the outdoors. I feel Extreme Huntress helped me to learn more about myself and more about how I can protect our wildlife. I would have never ever known that if I would’ve never entered it. I’ve been supporting it for eight years. I’m in the Ultimate Extreme Huntress.
What’s the difference, Jackie?
For the Extreme Huntress, it was our tenth anniversary. We had ten previous winners. What they did was for the Ultimate Extreme Huntress, they had four girls. They sent out an email with all the girls to see who would be able to attend this trip for the Ultimate Extreme Hunters. Four of us were able to attend this trip and we competed against each other for the Ultimate Extreme Huntress competition for all of us to represent and have a different title instead of an additional Extreme Huntress. From this point forward, we’ll see if it’s the Ultimate Extreme Hunters or Extreme Huntress but all it is the finale of all of the ten previous winners and four that were chosen and competed against each other for the Ultimate Extreme Huntress competition.
I was curious about it just so our audience knew the difference between that. The ladies were prior winners. The competition was even steeper. One of the things that I’ve noticed about is that you guys are all very supportive of each other and it seems that’s a very genuine difference. The ladies have always been supportive but this time you guys are very positive towards each other which is great.
The crazy thing is that the three of us had never met each other and I only knew one of the girls. It was unique for us to not meet each other. We were together 22 days compared to six. Once you count travel time and whenever we were in Texas as well at the FTW Ranch. If you add up our travel days, that’s how long we were together. We created this bond that nobody will ever be able to take away and another bond that it will be so hard to explain our experiences because it was truly a great unique year. If you would ask me the difference between when I went to Zimbabwe in 2012 to when I went in 2019. It’s exactly the same except the people. I got to be around some amazing women and amazing outfitters and Desfountain Safaris who we hunted with. It was truly one of the best hunts that I can say that I’ve been on in the Save Conservancy. I also hunted in another area in Zimbabwe but this was truly a unique experience. Being in the bush for twelve days straight in Africa, not counting travel, but watching every sunrise and sunset was truly majestic that I couldn’t give you a visual until you start watching the episodes.
One of the things that a lot of people ask and one of those points of debate oftentimes about hunting and the future of hunting is the promotion of hunting to the general public. A lot of people’s exposure to hunting and the non-hunting public at least is through the TV and the internet. A lot of people that you do see aren’t necessarily the best representation. Sometimes they put a bad taste in people’s mouths. That’s one of the things that I appreciate about Extreme Huntress and then Tom and Olivia and how they put that project together. It’s a very good representation of hunters. I wanted to move into why it’s different than your average hunting show and what it is that makes it special in that regard.
For Extreme Huntress, they have various hunting shows and then they have the Extreme Huntress Show. For those of you who have watched hunting shows, you anticipate exactly what’s going to happen. You’re going to go, you’re going to arrive, you’re going to get there, you’re going to eat, you’re going to drink, and then next thing you’re going to be hunting. Extreme Huntress is more than that. It’s more of a bond between people who have a passion to make a change and to be leaders in the industry. We, as women, they don’t call Mother Nature for no particular reason. Mother Nature, it’s a priceless gift that we have as moms and we have as women in the industry and Extreme Huntress shares and elaborates on that.
They talk about divorce rates and how we as women are going to be leaders and you don’t necessarily see that in the other hunting shows or through social media. 90% of the time, it’s the men hunting or it’s a face of somebody that you may know like Eva Shockey for example. Eva Shockey is amazing but we know that that is her day-to-day job. She’s a mom, she’s going to have another baby and that is what she does. For us, it’s real girls that don’t have the big representation that other women have in the industry, I would say the famous hunting women. We are all the everyday usual girls. We do this, we love this and that’s why I think Extreme Huntress is a little bit different because it doesn’t always go well. It is a challenge and they share that we are not perfect by no means.
We are the ambassadors of the industry because if mom and dad go hunting, our kids will go hunting. We don’t always have to get the hunters on board. We as women can get other people on-board who were non-hunters and Extreme Huntress shares that as well. You don’t have to be a hunter to support hunting. You could be a not hunter but for women being the role models and the leaders of mother nature, Extreme Huntress captures that know for wildlife conservation and how to sustain our habitat. That’s why I think it’s different than most of the other shows.It takes a bigger person to go and apologize for something than it does just to clip it all. Click To Tweet
I think it’s great. Tom does an excellent job producing it and it has a different feel. If I was to ask that the general public had to see one representation of a hunting show or media, that is the number one I would give as an example because it is such a positive representation. It’s not our day job. There’s no Cabela’s or a large organization behind us that pays for our content or anything along those lines. We’re motivated because we love it and that’s what we do with our free time. Otherwise, we’re working.
You’re both in your offices.
I’ve never had the chance to meet your family and the same for you, but I love taking my daughter hunting. She’s six and I’ve got her riding a bike when I bird hunt. It’s tough because when the dog goes up point too far off the road, I got to try and drag her in there and carry them on my back. That’s one of the ways I’ve been bringing her into the outdoors. I know you’ve got Chap. What are you guys doing? I saw some photos on Instagram or Facebook.
There are different things. Chap got to experience his first bow hunt with me. It was my bow hunt but he thinks he was hunting. I was hunting turkey and it was a big challenge for me to take him hunting because he talked. He was like, “What are we doing? Why?” For those of you don’t know, my little boy turned three. He is a little bit younger than most. You got a little girl so you get it, but I feel I can sense an adrenaline rush, right before we’re fixing to do something. Before I made the shot on my turkey and I go to draw back my bow, he froze and was holding onto my leg. For that hunt, he did well. For me, I took him bear hunting with me.
We were scouting out for bear and I have these tiny Steiner Optics and they fit perfectly. They’re not too heavy and he loves them. He feels like he’s doing everything. If I get out, he gets out. He does every single thing that we do. He loves the outdoors. Do I think I could take them on an elk hunt yet for archery? Probably not because of the hiking. I have to pack unless I know where they’re coming in at. I have a sheep hunt for exotics and I also have rifle hunts. I do feel that I’ll be able to take him with me and we’ll see how it goes. I’ll let you know the outcome. Call me and I’ll let you know how he does. Like with you, I know your daughter could feel your energy and they could feel my energy and how exciting it is. I haven’t run into a lot of problems.
I could share a video with you guys and he thinks he’s hunting for deer because he has his little gun. I asked him, “What are you going to do if you kill a deer?” He goes, “Mommy, I’m going to put it in the freezer and eat it.” It’s the funniest thing ever because he’s three and that’s what he thinks. After we kill an animal, we harvest it and we put up all our own meat and stuff. He helps because he takes all the packages after we process everything and he puts it in the crate so we could take to the freezers. We just made him be a part of everything because that’s what he is. He’s my little boy.
That’s what I do. She always has a job or something to do, whether it’s carrying a bird or she’s in charge of the scrap pile when I’m butchering something. It’s great that you involve them just as much. Many people miss the boat when they don’t involve their children at a young age or they give up on things for a while. It’s a matter of taking them along and you’re not going to be able to take on everything. You can’t take them on a heavy elk hunt, but you can take them on a duck hunt or in a blind. It’s great that you’re doing that too. I didn’t expect any different. What do you think, Bruce? Is there something else you have on your mind?
I wanted to ask both of you to give advice. 30%, 40% of my audiences are women and I would assume some are married, some are not and some have kids. You gave some great advice. Let’s stay on that a little bit. How do you make the decision to take your kids? Chap is three and your daughter is six. How do you fit it all in?
Jackie’s separated from her family too by distance but I don’t have family nearby. I’m in Minnesota. My family’s in California. I don’t have anyone that can watch my kid. I have him most weekends. It turns out if you want to do what you love to do, you’ve got to take them. Unless the weather is bad and what I mean by bad is it’s wet, I’ll take her on snow and frozen days. It depends on the activity. I adjust my activity when I have her. Instead of maybe going on a death march through the brush, I pack her bike and let her ride the bike down the road. I work the dogs on the road for birds. For me, it’s making adjustments and then going all out when I don’t have her. For me, it’s whether or not I have her that makes that determination and I adjust accordingly. I don’t give up on what I want to do. I go fish, I go and hunt. I go and train dogs and she has her role, some form or manner in there. How about you, Jackie?
I would agree. I only have one biological child. I do have two stepdaughters that I’ve had at a very young age. For mothers with their first child and they’re big into hunting or outdoors, it’s that first day whenever they’re a year old and you take them to the grocery store and you’re like, “Are they going to scream? Are they going to kick? Are they going to grab everything?” You’re like, “It’s okay.” You leave the grocery store, you made it work, you figured it out and maybe you got to keep them strapped into their seat while you unload the groceries. You figure out those types of challenges. It’s the same thing with hunting, for Chap, he is three. The first time I took him, it was hard but I wasn’t prepared. Now I know I need to make sure I have snacks and drinks. I got him his own little binoculars. He feels like he’s participating and he doesn’t know anything different because he’s participating and he’s doing exactly what mommy’s doing. Mommy’s holding up her binoculars.In Extreme Huntress Competition, everybody is a winner no matter what place you get. Click To Tweet
I also learned, during elk season, I’ll let you all know how he does because I’ll be taking him on in my elk hunt and my exotic sheep hunt. Those are just the little roller coasters and you figure it out. Moms, figure it out. No matter what you do with the child, you figure it out and you entertain the child or you do something to make them feel like they fit in. As Meadow said, she tells her, “You’re helping.” The kids are fine with it. Mr. Bruce, you’ve got to meet Chap. He’s a firecracker. You make him be a part of it and as soon as he feels like he’s doing what all the rest of the people are doing, he doesn’t know any different. You’ve got to keep him entertained.
I’ll talk to about my step girls, Bracken and Ashland. I had them since they’ve been five and seven. We learned that doing a ten-hour a day glassing was probably not the right idea. We did a morning hunt with them. They learn how to hunt in the evening as they got older. We let them take their BB guns whenever we were elk hunting. We learned that they wanted to shoot everything with their BB guns. Those are challenges that you go through taking them and then the things that they like, you continue on with those. The things they don’t like, you take that out of the equation and just move forward.
The things they like, sometimes it’s picking agates, looking at mushrooms or catching insects. If you have to take a little break to do that. The other thing is gear. It’s hard to find good gear for kids but kids need gear like those Steiner Optics you have for them. Boots, optics, things like that make them feel they belong and they’re part of it. It’s not enjoyable if they don’t have the right gear. They’re cold, they’re wet or their shoes aren’t good enough for the activity. For example, I did a road trip from Minnesota to California for my mom out here and we got to the Badlands and I realized that I should’ve just packed up and bought my daughter a nice pair of hiking boots like I did last time. I ended up having to stop in Eastern North Dakota and buy her a pair. After that, we were fine. I even bought her a rock hammer and it’s not hunting, but we got to do things we wanted to do after that. We went fossil hunting and we hiked around and before with the wrong shoes, it was different. The other tip is to get the best gear you can afford for the kids within reason. It does help the experience if they’ve got their own equipment that they can use and feel like they’re part of it.
Let’s switch it back now to Extreme Huntress. Jackie, 25% of the total is popular vote. Is that correct?
They had the total that started for the previous voting that I was able to win that section. This second phase of voting will only be 3% for the final score. The other phase of voting was added in together. The previous voting has a percentage. The judge’s votes have a percentage. How we performed in the competition has a percentage, how well we hunted has a percentage. That’s added together for our total score. For the next three months, it’ll be the final 3% of our score.
I didn’t realize that. That’s critical because these four ladies are all world-class huntresses and great people. That’s going to make a huge difference. People need to vote, don’t they?
They need a vote. These votes count. I always tell everybody. I’d know with the election and stuff. They’re like, “Does this vote count?” Yes, these votes do count. The biggest thing that they found was there were over 2,000 votes last go around that was not confirmed. That could have affected who won first. I actually won the first place for voting, but you’ve got to make sure you confirm the vote. After you vote, if they send you an email, you confirm it. If you don’t confirm and your vote does not count. You may see in the phase that you’re higher up in voting there but once the finalization is complete and they close the voting, that’s going to tally up and your percentage may be different that those people who never confirmed.
Where do people vote?
You could go to the ExtremeHuntress.com and then they’ll have the Ultimate Extreme Huntress girls up there, the tab and then you scroll down and then they’ll have all of our names. There are four of us competing. You select the name, you enter your email address and then you’ll receive an email from Polldaddy and then you confirm your email.
You only can vote once. Is that correct?
Yes, but at least we have three months of voting. I’m going to think that they’re probably going to have some special weeks where they may be like, “How many people can we get to vote for such and such?” You can win something. I don’t know all that information yet until they announced it and then I’ll have more of an idea of all the different phases of voting, but so far it’s one vote per IP address.
Tom will announce some special things in November and December. We know that’s going to happen. We just don’t know what and when.
They’ll have an episode that will air once a week. There are going to be twenty-plus episodes and that’s going to go all the way out so at the end of December and the first week of January and the winner is going to be announced that Dallas Safari Club in January.
Why don’t you recap it and compartmentalize it so people can understand where to vote, when to vote and how to watch all twenty episodes?
In order to vote, you go to the ExtremeHuntress.com. Select the finalists, confirm your vote and then they’ll have 26 episodes, one episode per week. They are about fifteen to twenty minutes long. That way you can watch all the way to the end of December. The winners announced at Dallas Safari Club.If we lose our wildlife, then we lose everything. Click To Tweet
If you don’t have that down, go to ExtremeHuntress.com or if all else fails, send me an email WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com and I’ll get in touch with Jackie or I’ll send you the link because it’s important to all four ladies. They’re all world-class ladies that have hunted and they deserve your votes. 3% will make the difference in who wins and who loses. Meadows, your thoughts on voting since you were part of it?
As Jackie said, it’s going to be pretty close and voting is going to make a difference. The last time it got tight at the end. We were all very close at the end and it ended up the lady by coincidence that did have the most social support won. Not to say that it’s not based on her skill or anything along those lines but it did make a difference in the outcome. It’s very important that people go and make a point to vote and pick your favorite lady if you don’t know any of them personally and be sure to vote. The confirmation is huge. What happens is you vote on the website with your email address and then you receive an email most likely from Polldaddy but as Jackie said, it could be different. You have to click a link that confirmed that you are in fact a person, not just a robot in order for that vote to count and to be confirmed. That’s what she’s referring to.
Jackie, why don’t you summarize your speech? You’re standing at the Dallas Safari Club and you won Ultimate Extreme Huntress. What are you going to say to the crowd?
I feel that most hunters are ambassadors for the sport. I’m going to thank everybody for everything that they’ve done to support me. I’m going to let them know that I’ll be one of their leaders to be able to help get more women and children involved. I’m never going to change. Meadow mentioned that she knows me. I am the real deal and I will do everything I can to try to help inspire women, help empower them, teach them and get them the right connection so they can go out hunting and be in the outdoors and educate them so that way they can learn about wildlife conservation and how to sustain our habitat because that’s huge. If we lose that, then we lose everything. Our kids, grandkids will never be able to see wildlife. The speech would just be thanking everybody. I’ve worked hard and I feel like it’s well-earned and well-deserved. We are all amazing winners no matter who comes in first, but it would truly feel like I’ve put in six years for a reason because I believe in this and I’m never going to stop believing in this. It would be very exciting if I would win.
Meadow, what are your final thoughts?
She’s my Ultimate Extreme Huntress. She put the time in and she’s helped a lot of women get through that competition and made a lot of connections with ladies over the years. I definitely have a big spot in my heart for Jackie. I can’t say enough about how great she is and I can’t wait to see the episodes air, Jackie.
With that, we’re going to end this episode with Jackie Gross-Guccini on Extreme Huntress. We’ll be having more. I have offered all the four finalists for them to be on the show. I do have one other person’s coming up, Ulrika. Hopefully, all four of them join in, and in my corner of the world support Extreme Huntress for Tom and Olivia. Having said that, ladies, you’re amazing. I know you’re amazing before, Jackie but I’m not going to gush anymore about you hosting me. Meadow, it’s always a pleasure to be around you, to talk with you and you’re an ambassador full-time for women will hunt. I’m going to give a little plug for K.J. Houtman’s book, Why Women Hunt. Meadow is in that book. It’s a great book. There are eighteen ladies from around the country that had been spotlighted and written about. It’s a coffee table book. It’s something that can have out forever. Who’s the publisher of that, Meadow?
I want to say it’s Wild River Press.
It’s published by Wild River, the publisher is Tom Pero. The author is K.J. Houtman from Minnesota. Get the book because it will give you an insight into eighteen different women of which four have been on the show, Brenda Valentine, Nancy Jo Adams, Mia Anstine and Meadow Kouffeld.
Thank you so much, Mr. Bruce, for having me. I appreciate it. Meadow, I appreciate it. That’s the whole thing, guys. If it would have never been for Extreme Huntress, none of us would be having these. Meadow, I’m going to go hunt with you. I want you to come hunt with me. That’s the bonds and the relationships you established. That’s why it’s so important to keep us having women in the outdoors because we truly love it. No matter how big our trophies are.
I look forward to talking to Jackie. I’m looking forward to hearing about her elk stories and I’ll be getting back from a black and hunt with my dad so we’ll have some things to share.
Thank you, ladies.
- Extreme Huntress
- Jackie Gross-Guccini
- Meadow Kouffeld
- FTW Ranch
- Desfountain Safaris
- Save Conservancy
- Eva Shockey
- Steiner Optics
- Dallas Safari Club
- Ulrika – Ulrika Karlsson-Arne
- Why Women Hunt
- Wild River Press
- Brenda Valentine – Past episode
- Nancy Jo Adams – Past episode
- Mia Anstine – Past episode
- Meadow Kouffeld – Past episode
About Jackie Gross-Guccini
I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a role model to the youth, an outdoorswoman, a angler, and a hunter. I also work in the Oilfield and sometimes can be a pain in the butt (joking) as the Director of Safety. Nothing personal guys its my job to keep us all safe.
Here is a little bit about the competition.
7 years ago, I competed in the Extreme Huntress Contest but this time it’s a finale for the Ultimate Extreme Huntress.
Well, I am at it again for another Worldwide Competition and reality show. We will be hunting in Zimbabwe this summer. It’s a change up in the contest that will be a reality show discussing the importance of, Wildlife Conservation, restoring our habitat, educating folks on hunting and angling. If we don’t start taking care of our environment, we may lose it. I am competing against 3 other women, one from Montana, Idaho, & Sweden. I am from Louisiana but work in Colorado.
One of the biggest reasons I feel that this is so important is because the struggle that I went thru growing up. My family was always humble and wanted us to go after anything that we wanted, and we just had to believe in ourselves by never giving up. I worked hard to chase my dreams and want to share that message to the World. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how wealthy you are, it’s just really about believing in something.