Extreme Huntress - Christie Pisani

Christie Pisani-Extreme Huntress

Christie Pisani is an Australian hunter who is mixing it with the best in the world to put young Aussie hunters on the map, while promoting the benefits to communities everywhere of the hunting life.
“You vile, disgusting, despicable woman! How can you possibly put an arrow in a totally defenceless animal? You c***! I hope a lion eats you someday! One day somebody will sneak up and shoot you in the head with an arrow!”
I sit in the ‘diary room’ gobsmacked that these words are coming from sweet Olivia Opre’s mouth. Huh? I stunned into silence as I attempt to process what is happening, until I realise that this is a skills challenge, and my task is to respond the tirade of abuse in this simulated verbal anti-hunter attack.
This is just one of six skills challenges that make up forty percent of the overall score in the Extreme Huntress™ Contest, which is an international competition originating in the United States, but open to huntresses around the world. It is intended to give contestants the platform and opportunity to promote the outdoor adventure lifestyle, with the view that women are raising the next generation of hunters and outdoor lovers. The application process involved submitting a personal essay highlighting my achievements in hunting, both on and off the field. A major component of the selection criteria is the applicant’s involvement in promoting hunting, particularly for females, to the wider community. From a pool of hundreds of applicants, the top twenty semi-finalists were chosen, and invited to campaign for a position in the top six. We had one month to campaign. I was very fortunate that, being the only Australian semi-finalist, I had the entire Australian, and quite a bit of international support on my side. The month of May 2014 is one I will never forget. It was one of the most stressful times of my life, but made worthwhile when I received an email from the competition organiser on June 4th saying “Congratulations, you have made the top six finalists. We need to confirm that you can be at the 777 Ranch in Hondo Texas on the 9th to 14th July for the grand final hunt.”
The 777 Ranch has brought together over sixty species of native and exotic breeding herds from eighty countries and continents. So from the thirty-plus taxidermy-ed species plastering every spare piece of wall, every international huntress is catered for with more than a few natives from their home country. Well, except for me, as one of the huntresses asks “where is the kangaroo?” which prompts a conversation about the nature of conservation hunting in Australia, that unlike just about every other country in the world, we don’t hunt our native species.
The ranch works closely with “Conservation Force” and the US Fish and Wildlife for their scientific breeding and culling permits and possesses the type of permits that require 10% of the income received from these species to be returned to conservation projects in the indigenous country of that animal.
Over lunch, the huntresses chat about all things hunting, and quite a few things not. Some topics always ripe for discussion amongst female hunters include the poor availability of form fitting hunting apparel, attacks by anti-hunters, creepy facebook stalkers, and our take on the mascara in the field debate. Of course, with the camera up our noses the talk is initially conservative in its content, but as the days roll on our conversations extend to all important topics including ex-boyfriends, the difficulties in finding comfortable bras, and poohing in the bush.
I don’t know if it is luck or the delight of having the rare experience of being in the company of other like-minded women (maybe a bit of both), but the social chemistry is electric, and we are instant mates. The group consists of Margaret Botha, a Proffessional Hunter from South Africa, with a huge heart and personality to match, the bubbly socialite and local Texan Kasi Gerasi (prounounced kass~i, not Kay~sey as she has to correct us several times), Swedish Erika, fit and focussed (who proves to be deadly with any weapon); Amanda Cardwell, an accountant from Montana USA who is as beautiful as she is talented, and the quietly spoken but with nerves of steel, Nikita Dalke, from Canada.
We are acutely aware that we are in the presence of greatness here. Filmmaker, Tom Opre, and his wife, hunting consultant Olivia Nalos Opre are the brains behind this operation. For their film ‘Eye of the Hunter’, they travel from their Montana ranch in search of epic adventures all over the world, telling the real story of their intense, hard core hunting expeditions.  Olivia is also one of the judges for the EH contest, along with Jim Zumbo and Larry Weishuhn. As the 2003 Mrs. Nebraska, Olivia’s platform was to promote the importance of hunters as conservationists, humanitarians and stewards of renewable wildlife resources.
Tom Opre is the producer of the series and main camera man. He has travelled the world from Africa to Alaska to Argentina in the pursuit of big game. He has produced documentaries  for Shark Week on  Discovery Channel, directing and producing national TV commercial projects for Mathews Archery, Berkley, Sea Doo, Polaris ATV and Prois Hunting Apparel, also directing and producing extreme sports films.
Before becoming a writer, Jim Zumbo worked as a forester and wildlife biologist for fifteen years. He wrote his first article for Outdoor Life in 1962, and became a full-time employee of the magazine in 1978.  ithout knowing of his incredible upstanding in the hunting industry, one would think he is just a regular guy; approachable, humourous, supportive and with a gentle personality towards wildlife and people alike.
Larry Weishuhn is one of North America’s most recognised outdoor personalities. An extremely popular, knowledgeable man and an award winning outdoor writer and book author, Weishuhn has published more than 2,500 feature articles and written six books including “Trailing the Hunters Moon” and is known throughout the hunting world as “Mr. Whitetail”. Larry recently appeared as a guest with Eagle Eye Hunting Gear and Aussie Feral Game Hunters at the SSAA Shot Show in Sydney before heading to the Northern Territory for a successful buffalo trip with Dave Fent from Aussie Hunting Adventures.
Tom explains that  the Extreme Huntress winner will be decided by a combination of three methods; the judge’s scores of our hunts (incorporating fitness, tracking, stalking, shooting and communication), our scores in the various skills tests, and finally public voting. The entire week, including the hunts, skills challenges and even social activities will be filmed and televised in the United States, and available for online viewing in other countries.
The Skills Challenges
 1.    Rifle Skills. This test consists of zeroing and target shooting an unfamiliar scoped rifle and is time limited in nature.
 2.    Bow Test. Competitors are handed a recurve bow and shoot on targets without sights instinctively.
 3.    Large Calibre Rifle Test. Handling and effectively shooting a hard-recoiling .375 H&H rifle on moving animal targets.
 4.    Long Range Rifle Shooting. Engaging targets at 200, 300 and 400 yards, exercising wind reading and trajectory compensation skills.
 5.    Handling Prejudice and Criticism from Anti-Hunters. Timed rational and calm responses to aggressive, nasty harangues and nasty criticism.
 6.    Hunting Fitness. Distance running with a load and shooting effectively at intervals.

I am overjoyed to finish the skills components of the competition on a good note, as I feel that of the three scoring criteria for the overall contest, the skills stations would be my weakest. It had certainly been a tremendous learning curve, both in honing my skills with a rifle, and on a personal development level. Keeping calm under pressure in activities removing us far from our comfort zone all the while knowing that the whole world would later be watching, is something that takes some getting used to. However, I and the other contestants believe that the empowerment gained from it is something that will apply to all aspects of our lives for many years to come.
Authors note:
Due to contractual limitations, details of the hunts, and results of skills challenges cannot be publicised until the episodes have been completely released and winner announced at the Dallas Safari Club Convention in January 2015. Thus specific details of competition scores and species taken will not be written about here until conclusion of the competition. Please keep an eye on future editions of Sporting Shooter for further instalments, including an introduction to the other contestants, and details of the hunts and trophies taken.
Episodes are aired in October.  You can download the ‘Extreme Huntress’ app or check the website www.extremehuntress.com.au to keep up to date on the Extreme huntress 2015 competition.
The author is passion about encouraging and supporting Australian women to become further involved hunting and outdoor sports, and welcomes all hunters interested in support and advice in applying for the 2016 competition to contact her via christiepisani@gmail.com




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