After shooting only six arrows from her brand new compound bow at the target range, Chantelle Bartsch’s husband told her she was a natural. She tagged along on the next hunting trip and fell in love.
Not only does she feel strong and capable of taking care of herself, she feels she is caring for the environment and contributing to society. Bartsch never harvests an animal that she doesn’t need, even taking a moment to thank the animal after she has brought it down. She uses everything she can from the animal, filling freezers of single moms when she can.
“Hunting is something that has really made me who I am,” she said.
Right now Bartsch is competing with 21 other women for the chance to pursue the title of Extreme Huntress.
The competition is the basis for a 26 episode web series and is now in it’s eighth year.
“The Extreme Huntress Competition is about preserving our outdoor heritage,” reads the website. “Our goal is to create positive role models for women who want to participate in hunting.”
At the moment their are 21 contestants and the public is voting for their favourites. The six women with the most votes by June 1 will travel to 777 Ranch in Texas in July. There they will compete in a hunt as well as a skills competition, all the while being filmed for the web series.
The series will be aired online in August, with one episode being posted a week for 26 weeks. During that time the public will vote for their favourite huntress.
The finalists will gather in Dallas in January to find out the winner of the competition. Their scores are a combination of marks from celebrity judges on their hunt and skills competition as well as the online vote.
The website warns that the hunt will be difficult, but Bartsch is determined.
“I’m always trying to find things to keep my competitive edge to encourage myself to move forward,” she said.
In 2009 Bartsch competed on the TV series the Ultimate Sportsman. Despite having a broken ankle, and the option to sit out, she completed, and won, the turkey hunt challenge, cast and crutches and all.
“I decided no, I wanted to go forward and hunt, just thinking about all of the people that would absolutely love to be in my shoes and have the opportunities that I have had,” she said.
Bartsch is most looking forward to learning from and spending time with women who are as extreme and hard core as she is.
“It’s not that I am not inviting men on the hunt, that’s not what it’s about,” she said. “I feel that women can sometimes offer to other women something maybe that a man cannot…Basically just a bunch of hardcore girls getting together and sharing stories, hunting together, camaraderie, just a real good she-hunt.”
To vote for Bartsch go online to http://www.extremehuntress.com/main/chantelle-bartsch/