Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

544-Pound Mako Shark Landed In Southern California

After a hooked shark collided with a swimmer in Manhattan Beach early this month, another shark made the rounds in Southern California, namely a 544-pound mako shark caught near Catalina Island by Wisconsin-based outfitter Patrick Egerk, who used a bow to take this massive fish.

From the Wausau Daily Herald:

Patrick Eger, host of Big E TV and owner of Big E Outfitters in the Cedar Creek Mall, said the record-breaking shark was taken on June 15 off of Catalina Island and the adventure will be featured on an upcoming television show.

The 47-year-old Eger said that when the 10 1/2-foot shark arrived on scene, it immediately made its presence known.

“The mako is a very aggressive shark,” Eger said. “They are not afraid of anything. He came in to where the chum is coming from and starts hitting the boat, ramming the boat, sizing up the boat.”

With cameras rolling from several angles, Eger drew and released a single arrow from his bow, sending a broadhead into the shark swimming below him. That broadhead was attached to a steel leader, which was connected to a 200-pound monofilament line, which ran to a rod and reel wielded by Eger, who battled the big fish for more than two hours.

 “Unlike a lot of ocean fishing, there’s no chair and you’re not strapped into anything,” Eger said. “I stood the entire time, and the only thing I was strapped to was the pole. If the shark pulls anything in, he’s pulling the pole and myself in.”

Since Eger caught the fish with a bow, it’s believed to be a new world record landing a mako in that manner.

 

We’ll have more from Eger’s catch in the September issue of California Sportsman. 

 

 

 

 

CDFW, NOAA Team Up For Central Valley Ecosystem Project

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are teaming up to help restore dwindling populations of king salmon and steelhead in the drought-plagued Central Valley.

 

Chinook salmon are among the priorities for a joint restoration project between the CDFW and NOAA. (DAN COX/USFWS)

Chinook salmon are among the priorities for a joint restoration project between the CDFW and NOAA. (DAN COX/USFWS)

Here’s the CDFW press release:

noaa cdfw logos

SACRAMENO, Calif. – NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries’ Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan and CDFW’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) Conservation Strategy.

The two plans are complementary in that CDFW’s conservation strategy presents a broader framework for restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Central Valley, while the federal recovery plan focuses on the recovery of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

A shared goal of both plans is to remove these species from federal and state lists of endangered and threatened species. The recovery plan provides a detailed road map for how to reach that goal. It lays out a science-based strategy for recovery and identifies the actions necessary to restore healthy salmon and steelhead populations to the Central Valley.

“Establishing clear priority watersheds, fish populations and actions is essential to achieve recovery,” said Maria Rea, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Regional Administrator for California’s Central Valley Office. “Implementation of this plan will depend on many parties working collaboratively to pool resources, expertise and programs to recover Chinook salmon and steelhead populations that are part of California’s natural heritage.“

Recovery plans required by the Endangered Species Act are guidance documents, not regulatory requirements, and their implementation depends on the voluntary cooperation of multiple stakeholders at the local, regional, state and national levels.

“The Sacramento Valley joins together a world-renowned mosaic of natural abundance: productive farmlands, meandering rivers that provide habitat and feed salmon and steelhead, wildlife refuges and managed wetlands, and cities and rural communities,” said David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association. “The recovery plan is a positive step forward–through efficient management of the region’s water resources, water suppliers throughout the Sacramento Valley will continue to work with our conservation partners to help implement the recovery plan and improve ecological conditions in the Sacramento River for multiple species and habitat values.”

The ERP conservation strategy was developed by CDFW collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to help guide environmental restoration and establish adaptive management to improve restoration success in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed. The approach of conservation strategy is to restore or mimic ecological processes and to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitats to support stable, self-sustaining populations of diverse and valuable species.

“It is critical we make strategic investments in our natural resources,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The funding of these high-priority restoration projects is not only an example of the coordinated effort between state and federal governments, but an example of California’s continued efforts to minimize the effects of drought on fish and wildlife. Central Valley salmon and steelhead deserve nothing less.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s 2014-15 budget provided CDFW with $38 million to implement enhanced salmon monitoring, restore sensitive habitat, improve water infrastructure for wildlife refuges, expand the fisheries restoration grant program, and remove barriers for fish passage. Some of that money will be used on projects recommended by the federal recovery plan.

Dick Pool of the Golden Gate Salmon Association said, “We thank and congratulate the scientists of NOAA Fisheries for their outstanding work in developing the Central Valley Recovery Plan. GGSA and the salmon industry particularly appreciate the fact that the plan includes both short range and long range actions that can reverse the serious salmon and steelhead population declines. GGSA has identified a number of the same projects as needing priority action. We also commend the agency for its diligent efforts to engage the other fishery agencies, the water agencies and the salmon stakeholders in the process. We look forward to assisting in finding ways to get the critical projects implemented.”

The federal recovery plan and state conservation strategy work together as a blueprint of how at-risk species can be restored to sustainable levels.Restoring healthy, viable salmon and steelhead runs will preserve and enhance the commercial, recreational and cultural opportunities for future generations. As the fish populations grow and recover, so too will the economic benefits and long-term fishing opportunities for everyone.

“The Recovery Plan provides a clear framework to better coordinate and align restoration projects in the Delta, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries to achieve greater conservation outcomes,” said Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy. “We are pleased to see the integration of multiple habitat values in the Plan including the importance of expanding lateral river movements to enhance floodplain habitat and recognition of the importance of variable flow regimes to benefit multiple species.”

The development of a recovery plan is an important part in the successful rebuilding of a species because it incorporates information from a multitude of interested parties including scientific researchers, stakeholders and the general public. Since 2007, NOAA Fisheries has held 14 public workshops, produced a draft for public comment, and met with strategic stakeholders to guide the plan’s development and ensure a comprehensive and useful document.

CDFW will be investing considerable resources in improving water conservation on public wildlife refuges in the Central Valley and protecting important salmon stocks that contribute to the state’s fishery. The department has also recently released a restoration grant solicitation which includes salmon and steelhead watersheds in the Central Valley. The solicitation can be found here. Applications are being accepted until August 12, 2014.

More on the NOAA Fisheries Recovery Plan and the CDFW Ecosystem Restoration Program

 

Large Caples Lake Rainbow

We’ll have a full update on Sierra fishery Caples Lake in the August issue of California Sportsman, but here’s a sneak preview of how productive the trout fishing has been:

Caples Lake Resort guest Jennifer Donnelly of Palo Alto rented one of our 12-foot Gregor fishing boats today.She was floating near Woods Creek using Power Eggs about 25 feet down when she caught this 16-inch 2-pound rainbow trout.

IMG_2341 (1)

Photo by Caples Lake Resort 

 

 

Deer Tag Quota Filled In Zone D6

 

A mule deer at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

A mule deer at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (USFWS)

 

This is not surprising, considering the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reduced the number of deer hunt tags from 10,000 to 6,000 in Zone D6 (parts of Stanislaus, Mariposa and Tuoloumne Counties). The tags are now sold out, per today’s CDFW press release:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is notifying hunters that tags are no longer available in the D6 Zone for the 2014 deer season. The California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) finalized big-game tag quotas at its April 15 meeting in Ventura. Notable changes from the 2013 hunting season included a reduction in the D6 Zone general season tag quota from 10,000 to 6,000.

Other zones are getting close to selling out. CDFW urges hunters to act early for the best possible chance to get a tag in the zone they want. For those hunters who did not apply for or receive a tag through the annual big-game drawing process, CDFW has provided a list (updated daily) of available deer tags atwww.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/biggame/.

In the summer of 2013, the Rim Fire burned approximately 257,000 acres in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service subsequently issued Rim Fire Closure Order 2014-01, which closed the burned area through Nov. 18, 2014. This closure encompasses approximately 175,000 acres of public and private land, including popular deer hunting locations in the D6 Zone such as Cherry Lake, Kibbie Ridge and Crocker Ridge in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties.

CDFW usually issues 10,000 tags per season for the D6 Zone. If the deer tag quota had remained at that level this season, CDFW anticipated a significant increase in hunting pressure on the remaining open areas. Such crowded hunting conditions could have led to an overharvest of the accessible herds, dropping buck-to-doe ratios below management objectivesDue to the reduction in quality hunting opportunities and potential negative biological impacts, CDFW recommended the decrease from 10,000 to 6,000 for the 2014 hunting season, which the FGC approved as part of its changes to this year’s Mammal Hunting Regulations at its April meeting.

Hunters seeking to pursue deer in the Sierra Nevada still have several options in zones D3-5, D7 (which filled last year in early August) and D8. CDFW posts available tags by hunt zone at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/biggame/. Hunters who received a D6, A21, G37 or J15 tag can monitor forest closure information on the Stanislaus National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus/.

 

Collins Lake Update

Bo Fritz with a 10-pound, 4-ounce catfish.

Bo Fritz with a 10-pound, 4-ounce catfish.

 

A fishing report from Collins Lake Resort:

The most popular bait used this week is a TIE between PowerBait or nightcrawlers! Almost every fish caught this past week, whether it was trout or catfish was caught on worms or PowerBait.

Cameron Tucker and Sara Aitchison

Cameron Tucker and Sara Aitchison

Cameron Tucker and Sara Aitchison from Yuba City started the week off with two limits of trout they caught trolling about 35-feet down at the south end of the lake near the dam. They trolled with a Dodger and a nightcrawler. Cameron fished two days later with his buddy Josh Burlow and they too LIMITED on trout with the same setup.

Just yesterday Gavin & Tyy Hansen fished with orange PowerBait and caught 5 rainbows, their biggest was 2 pounds, 8 ounces. Hal Smith has a “favorite spot” in the Open Area where he always finds the “hungry trout”. It can’t be luck because he or Ramona ALWAYS catch trout when they come, Hal caught 4 Rainbows this week on various colors of PowerBait.

The “Buck Brothers” (Tanner & Ty) each caught a trout while camping by the dam and fishing the shoreline using chartreuse PowerBait.

 

Kayla and Olivia with catfish

Kayla and Olivia with catfish

It took both Kayla & Olivia to hold up their 5-pound. catfish which they caught on worms. Bo Fritz had no problem holding up his 10-pound, 4-ounce catfish, he used Berkeley Power Minnows for bait, fishing from a boat in the middle of the lake. Gene Cliff and Joey & Logan Weitz brought up a limit of trout for their photo shoot! They fished near the dam and used chartreuse PowerBait.

Sam Provenzano from Oregon House caught three trout on PowerBait and Nick from Antioch fished from the dock using worms and he too caught a trout.

Anthony Contreras & Cruz Del Conte fished by a cove near the marina and caught two catfish while baiting up with worms.

– Kathy Hess

Angler Who Hooked Shark In Manhattan Beach Won’t Be Cited

Photo by David Burdick/NOAA

Photo by David Burdick/NOAA

 

Yesterday, we told you about the ban on fishing off the Manhattan Beach Pier due to the incident involving a swimmer and a great white shark that was hooked by a angler.

Of course, it’s illegal to fish specifically for great whites, which are protected. But like the story of California Sportsman story subject Jeff Fangman, who last winter had an incidental catch and release of a 14-foot great white,  it’s hard to fault an angler fishing off a pier with plenty of different fish around and whose bait gets bitten by any species. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed, and the angler who hooked the shark that resulted in the swimmer being injured will not be cited. 

From the CDFW:

An investigation including evidence from videos, social media and personal interviews did not provide proof there was intent by the angler to target white sharks.

It is legal to fish for the many species of sharks, rays and other fish that frequent the waters surrounding the pier using the same techniques used that day. Facebook posts and interviews resulted in evidence that showed the angler was targeting bat rays, but admitted to catching sharks including white sharks.

This is a legal activity and consistent with numerous other fishing practices in waters where similar tackle is used to catch a variety of fish species. Incidentally caught species that are not legal to keep must immediately be released. In this case, the line was cut before the fish was landed.

Although this was a very unfortunate incident where a person was injured, criminal prosecution requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. Unless additional evidence is discovered, no charges will be pursued by CDFW in this case.

 

Shark Attack Forces Manhattan Beach Fishing Shutdown

Photo by Wayne Hoggard, NOAA

Photo by Wayne Hoggard, NOAA

 

Sharks are in the news, and unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. For some reason, the SyFy TV “event” Sharknado became a thing via social media, again proving our downfall as rational human beings. And now get ready for Sharknado 2 (catch the trailer here, if you have a minute-and-a-half of your life you won’t mind giving up to watch this; but give it up to top-billed stars and Sharknado veterans Ian Ziering and Tara Reid for finding a niche again and striking while the iron is hot).

On a more serious note, the recent shark attack in Manhattan Beach has prompted the popular Southern California coastal community to extend a fishing ban on the popular pier.

From NBC Los Angeles:

The fishing ban at the Manhattan Beach Pier is expected to last 60 days, the maximum allowed time under the California Coastal Act. A newly posted sign at the pier says that fishing will be banned until Sept. 7.

“For the protection of all beachgoers, we did a time out to investigate what happened,” Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Powell said. “Maybe it’s separating swimmers and surfers from the fishing activity. Maybe it’s banning the type of bait, we don’t know yet.” 

A juvenile 7-foot white shark bit 50-year-old swimmer Steve Robles at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday as it was fighting to free itself from a fishing line cast from the pier.

Check your local listings on the Sharknado 2 thing.

Free Fishing Saturday Highlights Holiday Weekend

Kids enjoying the fishing pond at the Raahauge Shooting Fair last month. (RACHEL ALEXANDER)

Kids enjoying the fishing pond at the Raahauge Shooting Fair last month. (RACHEL ALEXANDER)

Happy Fourth of July, Cal Sportsman readers. Looking for something to this holiday weekend?

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since John Muir. July 5 and September 6 should be circled on your calendar, as a California fishing license will not be required for anyone 16 and over to grab a rod and reel and dunk a line in the American River, Lake Nacimiento, the Salton Sea or San Luis Reservoir.

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since Sutter’s Mill. It’s important to get non-fishermen involved in the sport. Take your kids who have never experienced pulling in a rainbow trout from Irvine Lake or landing a striper off Rio Vista in the San Joaquin Delta. Even if you don’t catch anything, the quality time you spend with your family will want you asking to go back.

Editor's note

(FEISTY FISH GUIDE SERVICE)

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since Google and Yahoo. We have a lot of options to tell you about in this month’s issue where fish are biting: Luke Kelly’s reports on the anticipated July 16 king salmon openers on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers; Scott Haugen dishing on San Francisco Bay sharks; Mike Stevens on Eastern Sierra lure techniques, Bill Schaefer with the best way to cast for trophy bass at San Diego’s Otay Lake.

Free Fishing Days: the best thing to happen to California since California Chrome. Remember, per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, if you’re fishing on one of the two no license-needed days for abalone, steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster or salmon in the Smith or Klamath-Trinity River Systems, you must purchase the proper report card for those species (dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/fishdescrip.html/#ReportCards).

Free Fishing days: the best thing to happen to California since Carl’s Jr. I remember my earliest experiences throwing marshmallows baited with salmon eggs at Lake Merced in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before I was begging my dad to take me out again, and then another time, then another.

Free Fishing days: (Maybe) the best thing to happen to you and your family this month.

Stampede Reservoir Update

In our July issue of California Sportsman, we chatted with Rick Kennedy of Grass Valley-based Tight Lines Guide Service (888-975-0990; fishtightlines.com), who told us about some underrated kokanee fishing at Stampede Reservoir near Truckee.

Kennedy had this Stampede report from earlier today:

We had a great day on Stampede today. Ben Stern took his two sons Cole and Luke on their first fishing trip. The bite was a little slower than it has been. The best part of this trip was the fact Ben was making this a learning trip for the boys. Not just about fishing but how to respect the outdoors. They learned only to keep what they were going to eat; Ben explained the whole circle of life in the outdoors to the boys. They watched a Osprey take a fish for lunch, the Seagull’s eat the carcasses of the fileted Kokanee. We also talked about the life cycle of a Kokanee. Ben plans to bring them to one of this years egg takes. They ended up keeping seven for dinner tonight. Our fish were all caught once again on Copper Sep’s Side Kicks and Radical Glow Pink Tubes tipped with pink Pautzke Fire Corn.

www.fishtightlines.com

Ben Stern and sons Cole and Luke after a great day at Stampede Reservoir. (TIGHT LINES GUIDE SERVICE)

Ben Stern and sons Cole and Luke after a great day at Stampede Reservoir. (TIGHT LINES GUIDE SERVICE)

 

A Chat With Girls With Guns Moguls

IMG_4219.1

 

Editor’s note: This story is running in the June issue of California Sportsman 

Photos courtesy of Girls With Guns

GRADUATING FROM THE GARAGE

HOW TWO FRIENDS FROM RED BLUFF

By Chris Cocoles

There’s nothing quite like summer in Red Bluff – if you love triple-digit temperatures on almost a daily basis there – in the Sacramento River valley off Interstate 5 in Tehama County.

But here were friends Jenifer Adams and Norissa Harman, in the latter’s two- car garage, living out a dream, albeit a sweltering dream in the summer of 2008. The then 20-somethings wanted to combine their love of the outdoors with a sense of a fashion and creativity to produce a line of apparel for sportswomen. Born from this blending of ideas was a company they called Girls With Guns (gwgclothing.com).

“We pulled out all the vehicles and we had box fans (running),” Harman says. “Of course, it was summertime when we were pumping out our products. And around here, we’ll have 118-degree weather, and we would be sitting here in shorts and tank tops, not in any high fashion whatsoever. But that’s what we were doing and it was fun.”

Five-plus years later, a fun and harmless idea between friends is now a growing enterprise. Girls With Guns has graduated from the carport to an actual office space, then a larger one, and continued to get bigger until the company began sending out products from a 5,000-square-foot warehouse. Besides being able to buy from the website, Girls With Guns apparel is available in multiple states’ local outlets and chains like Scheels All Sports and Sportsman’s Warehouse. They have partnered with Montana Silversmiths with their jewelry line. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wore GWG apparel on her outdoors reality show and sported their belt buckle on her appearance with Jimmy Fallon. The girls also are selling accessories like luggage, and The Sportsman Channel is currently filming a TV show, Universal Huntress, where Adams and Norissa will get to hunt and explore the world (it’ll debut in 2015).

Their friendship has made them “love each other like sisters,” Adams says, and they will be soon sister-in-laws; Jen is engaged to Norissa’s brother.

“We were family long before that happened years ago,” Adams says with a laugh.

The girls behind Girls With Guns, just back from a hunting adventure in New Zealand, chatted with us about their journey:

NZ April '14-63 (1)

CHRIS COCOLES So how did this idea get off the ground?

JENIFER ADAMS We started working together at my real estate office, and we did a fundraiser that was called Shoot For Purpose and it was for breast cancer awareness. The first year I was the secretary-treasurer, and Norissa was the vice president. We raised $15,000 in one event in one day. And through that Norissa al- ready had this plan in place for a name – Girls With Guns. And she kind of just said, ‘I’m not really sure how to go about this on my own; I have an idea. What do you think?’ And I’m a business-minded person. That’s what I do and that’s what I love. And I already had a real estate business going. So I told her I’d help her out for a year and we’ll see it how it goes. And by August (our apparel) was in Scheels and they were asking for more. We were working 12 to 14 hours doing our day job and then at night I’d go to her house. We’d work out of her garage filling orders and doing designs. Eventually we got to the point where we built enough revenue that we could jump on an airplane and flew to China. We started learning about manufacturing and import-export and all those things.

NORISSA HARMAN I started an embroidery business when I was 21 years old, so I kind of had all the means and the access to get shirts and hats and all that stuff. I already knew that market, how to get it and that was a little bit of a jumpstart for us. I had the name already trademarked. Jen had the same love and passion for shooting as I did. She was the famous sales agent here in Tehama County and she was very savvy at sales and marketing. We kind of had the same drive and vision toward business and shooting sports. At the time, we never imagined that we’d be here today. To see where the company’s evolved, from my garage and my home office where we fworked every night on everything, it’s kind of amazing. It’s been fun to see where it’s going. When we started with little money, it’s really taken off.

 

CC How did both of you grow to love the outdoors so much?

JA I grew up in the real, real, Northern California in Modoc County (Adin; population: 272) in the mountains. I graduated high school with 15 people in my graduating class. I lived on a small cattle ranch with my family. So I was a total country girl. We had alfalfa, chickens, goats, sheep; we had everything. I was a cowgirl who did rodeo. That’s how I grew up. It was really outdoorsy. My dad did a lot of hunting, but I didn’t get involved in hunting. I’d go with him but it was usually my dad and brother’s thing. But when I was 29 and we started the company, I’d always been a shooter but never hunted anything. I got my hunter’s ed and my license. I started on birds the first year and by the next year I was killing my first buck. And then I was on my way to (hunting in) New Zealand. And I’ve been addicted ever since.

NH I grew up in Nevada and my family then moved here to (Red Bluff). I never hunted growing up because that’s not what my dad was into. My dad was a fisherman and he would trek his kids all over. We would camp and we would fish for hours and hours and hours. It was fun; that’s what we did. The older I got and started dating my husband, that’s how I started getting into hunting. He hunted a lot and traveled with his family, so if I wanted to spend any good quality time with him that would be the way to get his attention. After I shot my first buck and a couple of pigs, I thought, “This is kind of fun.” I love it now. When we got back from New Zealand I messaged him and said how I get it, and I don’t know why.

Impala-8 (1)

CC Did you both have expectations and high hopes it would be successful?

JA You know, I will have to say at first I just thought it was just something fun I was doing with my best friend. My business was my real estate company. I made good money and a good living. But my passion, my intrigue was with Girls With Guns. I’m kind of a tomboy and it got me a little more involved in the fashion world. It was something that I was able to put my own spin on, and Norissa had her own style. Right now I’m our operations director and she’s our creative director. Those are the

roles that we fell into. As best friends we were able to work together and started taking the things we were good at, and that’s what we did at our jobs.

 

CC Lots of hard work went into this, no doubt.

NH What kept us so involved and engaged in this. Jen and I were just talking about working and the hours we put in working two jobs; we’d work all day and then come back and work until 12, 1 or 2 a.m. I’m not sure how we made that be- cause even now I get extremely exhausted. And I feel like there’s someone always watching over us or to help us achieve our goals.

 

CC So did it help make this a seamless process that you were such good friends. What’s the old adage: Never get into business or a project with a close friend? It sounds like you two meshed right away.

JA I can’t say it helped. But Norissa and I just stayed three weeks together at this woman’s house in New Zealand where we hunted. And she said to me, “I’ve never seen two people fit better together like two pieces of a puzzle. You two just complement each other.” We’ve heard that a lot, but just the way she said it and put it was definitely awesome. We’re totally different personalities, but with different strengths and weaknesses, and I think that’s what makes it work. When she’s on I’m off, and vice versa. But we’re a team and that’s how we treat it. That’s how we treat our entire team at GWG headquarters. They’re growing with us.

NZ April '14-66

CC Was there a single moment when you collectively thought something was brewing with this project? NH It’s funny when people tell us we’re moving up, and Jen and I just take every day as we can. I think we’re still in denial and that we’re still a small company. We still have that small-town mentality and we still don’t realize how big it’s gotten until we’re across the country or in another country when someone says they follow us or greet us by our name. That’s when we realize how big it is.

JA I think it was when we moved into the warehouse. We all had offices, and we had a part-time crew with two part-time employees. And I realized that we needed a team. And within three or four months we had a staff of five, including Norissa and I.

I had let go of my real estate business, and we brought on three more people. It was almost like an overnight thing, though it seemed to happen about a year ago. It was always growing with new stores. But now it’s growing so quickly with the popularity, and how women are so excited about the outdoors. It’s really awesome, because women are truly gearing up for the outdoors.

 

CC So how did you get from Norissa’s garage to this spacious warehouse?

JA We actually did a few baby steps. My broker at the time had a 600-square-foot little building and he gave up six months of free rent. It was one of those cool, “I’m in your court” and “here you go”(situations), and after that we started paying rent. And then because Scheels wanted to come on and we got our manufacturing underway, we ended up going into the space next door, which was 900 square feet. And then we ended up occupying a place across the street, which was 1,800 square feet, and we were renting from (the original real estate broker) at that time. We just had some amazing people along the way who have stopped to help us. That allowed us to do that jump, and then, finally, we realized we had to get into a real warehouse. Right now we have eight full-time employees, not including all of your independents like our design team and such. We have anywhere from 10 to 20 temps that come in twice a year for our seasons when our shipments come in. It was pretty surreal.

CC How did your relationship with Sarah Palin blossom?

JA She’s actually somebody Norissa and I both look up to as a role model. People may have their different views on what they feel about her politically. But what she’s done for being a voice of women is huge. We never asked her to wear our clothes. She spoke in Anderson at a logging conference and we attended. We gave her a bag full of goodies that were hand-pressed in the garage by me and embroidered by Norissa. We’d only been in business for about a year and four months. We ended up giving it to her, and that following December we got an email; it was surreal. She was going to wear us on the show. One time would have just been amazing. Now, we sent her a box of clothes for her and (Palin’s daughters). We receive hand-written notes back from them. We’ve seen Bristol wearing us on her show, and we’ve seen (Sarah Palin) all over wearing our stuff. She actually buys our stuff. We were recently asked to outfit her, so we went and met her and (husband) Todd and spent the day with them. It was pretty amazing.

NH I’m not sure if she realizes how important and special it was to us.

 

CC From what I’ve gathered, you two are very different personalities, right?

NH think that’s why our company has be- come what it’s become; I think I have some great ideas and I wasn’t much of a risk taker. From the beginning our friendship has been like that. I think that’s why it works for us, and I think why the show’s going to be great. You’ll see in the show there’s one of us that’s more of adrenaline junkie, and I’m the scaredy-cat.

JA I’m very much a risk taker; and she’s very conservative. I’m kind of a go with the flow and a planner both at the same time. Norissa and I work together day-in and day- out, and we’re very like-minded even with our opposite personalities.

CC So what was New Zealand like?

NH The first time we went we were stag hunting, and it was only the second time we’d been out of the country ever. It was pretty eye-opening for us. To go back this year we realized how the terrain is different. And it’s an outdoor mecca; people train there for triathlons; running, biking and kayaking. There is good food and good wine. There’s an energy that you can feel when you’re outside. I just love it; it’s a spiritual place.

DSC_8061 danny rush edit

CC You’ll be soon traveling all over the world filming the show, but where do you get away in California for your outdoor fixes?

JA I do a lot of hunting in Modoc County where I grew up. I just went and hunted with my dad and future brother-in-law last fall and took my first mule deer. Duck hunting up here is huge in my family; my cousins, my fiancé and my brother are duck-hunting addicts. I love it now too. We actually just put our dog in training; he’s an amazing 9-month-old Lab. So next year is going to be awesome. When I want to get away, I go to Modoc County because there are so many open spaces.

 

CC I’m looking forward to watching your Universal Huntress show. Just talking to both of you it looks like this will be fun.

NH The show is basically going to be real time; we’re not going to re-enact anything. We’re just going to out there and being real. I’m not going to profess that I’m perfect by any means. I get to learn about different countries and different animals. We’re growing up on TV; the friends and the family who get to see us every day, we get to share that with them. I hope everybody loves that, so we’ll see.

JA It’s just going to be us. When we met our producer and he pitched for us to come out and fly to South Africa and see how we did hunting with him, he said, “All I want you to do is be yourselves because that’s what your fans love.” So we’re going to be Norissa and I being Norissa and I; we’re going to be goofy, but we’re going to be serious about our hunts and fun. We’re going to see the world and you’ll see it through our eyes.

 

CC Give me a short description on what you think your products represent?

JA It’s not really too hard for me to describe because it’s really mine and Norissa’s lifestyles combined: it’s a little bit of redneck, a little bit of fashion. We love the outdoors, period. And we love guns, so it’s not just about guns of the outdoors; it’s a universal brand and it’s about the women who love to wakeboard, who love to snowboard or work out or shoot. We want women to love our brand because it’s all about the out- doors and empowering women.

CC Where do you see this company going?

NH Of course we’d love to keep building the brand, and that’s been our goal. We want to make outdoor fashion fun and trendy for everybody. I don’t know how it’s going to go. We’re just enjoying our journey and hoping people are picking up our brand in the homes of every country girl.

 

CC I get the feeling no matter how successful you are, you’ll always be just down- to-earth Jen and Norissa from small-town Northern California.

JA Oh, yeah. Just because our company is doing well doesn’t change the person that I am. That’s very important to me to stay the same person. We’re just normal girls.

NH What you see is what you get. I’m not any different than I was four years ago; I’m not changing. I think I’m a down-to-earth person. Hopefully that shows; sometimes we’re big dorks, and we love to just laugh and have fun.

CC This last question I think is the most important one: Do you hope you are role models for women who want to be involved in not just an outdoors apparel company in what’s been a male-dominated genre, but any kind of business venture?

NH We have people approach us and tell us they want to take a chance and a leap to try something new in their life. And also we like to see young girls coming up with their own business ideas, either in the same industry as ours, or in a whole different industry. They’ve followed us so much and thinking, “If they can do it, we can do it.”

JA You know what’s funny? I have people tell us now we have been an inspiration because they see us working so many days and into the wee hours of the morning trying to build our company. And just now this year, we’re finally able to relax a little and enjoy this. Norissa and I up until last July were doing this on our own. So it is really awesome to show that hard work does pay off, and that’s the American Dream. That’s really important because that’s what Girls With Guns is all about. As for what’s male-dominated, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Women are taking over the hunting world. I’m excited about it.