Name: Beka Garris
Beka is the founder of Wilderness Babe Productions. Her already “sold out” calendar of women hunters is designed to profile female hunters and encourage the sport of hunting. She is also in the process of launching a website featuring hunting apparel for women. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Beka is an accomplished hunter who finds solace and personal rejuvenation in “treestand therapy.” Meet Beka.
1. Why is adventure important in your life and what does it mean to you?
For me as a huntress, I feel that every time I head to the woods is an adventure. You never know what could happen, good or bad, and I think that its the not knowing that makes people feel alive
2. You’re an avid hunter. How did you get introduced to the sport?
My dad took me out for the first time on my 7th birthday. My birthday is in April, so we went turkey calling. I was pretty little, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was hooked. My dad continued to take me along on hunting trips, and I started hunting for the first time when I was 10, which is the legal age in jersey.
3. How old were you when you got your first kill?
I was 11. It was youth day firearm for whitetail deer. I was hunting with my dad and 10 year old brother and a button buck came by. I was using my great grandfather’s double barrel 20 gauge, so it made it even more special.
4. Who was your childhood role model (fictional or real-life) and why?
Probably my dad. He taught me what it was like to be out there in the woods, and to respect what you kill. He showed me that there's more to hunting than just killing a deer or turkey, its about enjoying the woods and wildlife, and everything around you. And it’s a great way to spend quality time with family.
5. What continues to attract you to the sport?
I enjoy the time out there, either in a blind or a treestand. I love to hunt other states, see how each place is different to hunt, and how challenging it can be to take a trophy whitetail with a bow. Its something I will never get tired of, and something that hopefully I will share with my kids someday.
6. Guns or a bow? Which do you prefer?
Definitely the bow. I actually didn't' start bow hunting until I was 16, I'm not really sure why. But then someone my dad worked with gave him a women's bow. He brought it home, I shot it, and I found my true passion.
7. As a young woman, do you ever get nervous going into the woods alone to hunt?
I never have been. I grew up running around in the woods with my siblings, and learned that the woods and wildlife are generally a pretty safe place to be. We don't really have any dangerous animals around except black bears, and they're generally pretty harmless unless they're cornered. The only thing that could make me feel nervous in the woods would be another human, but I haven't had any bad experiences with anyone in the woods yet.
8. Tell us about “Treestand Therapy”?
There have been several times in my life where everything just seems to go wrong. For me, sitting in my treestand and watching the sun rise or sun set is relaxing and helps me to unwind. The treestand is a great place to think, and you never know if you will get the chance to shoot that big buck and make your day. Last year I was going through an extremely tough time, and ended up shooting my biggest buck to date...it really cheered me up!
9. You talk about justifying/balancing your priorities on your blog. Do feel pressure to do laundry and dishes over hunting? For example, a guy may never think twice about finishing mundane household chores in hunting season.
Well, I live by myself so I don't really feel pressure to do these things BEFORE hunting...I prefer to put hunting first, and do these things later. I know that there will be a time in my life when I have a family and won't be able to put hunting first, so I feel as if I should take advantage of this time now.
10. Tell us about Wilderness Babe Productions. How did it get started?
I actually didn't plan it. I make camo shoes, purses, clothing, etc. and started selling some of it online. Someone gave me the nickname Wilderness Babe, and I took it and decided to use it for my lines of clothing. Then, I started thinking maybe I could do more, such as have a website where women who hunt could share stories about themselves and their opinions on things to do with hunting. So, our website is now under construction, and hopefully we will start growing our fan base.
11. You just came out the 2011 Wilderness Babe Calendar. Why a calendar?
That wasn't planned either. Several friends told me that I should put together a calendar, but I didn't really want to do a calendar on myself. So, I was talking to a few people one day and I came up with the idea of creating a calendar featuring hardcore women hunters, who were both pretty and knew how to hunt. Most calendars out there that have to do with "hunting" and "women", feature models in bikinis posing with animals that they didn't kill. I wanted to put something totally different together, where both men and women would want to buy the calendar.
12. Do you hope to encourage women to pursue outdoor activities with the calendar, especially hunting?
Yes, I do. When you look at our calendar and see all the beautiful, happy women with their deer, turkey, elk, etc. you can't help but wonder of the story behind it, and I think it might make someone who doesn't hunt, wonder what it would be like.
13. Who appears on the calendar and how were the women selected?
We had online entry submissions, so there are women from all over North America, including a girl from Canada. We tried to get a variety of game animals/birds to feature in the calendar, and pair the months with what would be in season. The photos were selected by quality and tastefulness (No blood on the animal, good backdrop, etc.)
14. What goals do you have for Wilderness Babe Productions in the next year?
Hopefully our website will be up and running soon, and we are hoping to get a few sponsors and start selling some clothing. We would also like to sponsor some hunts, and feature some contests with great prizes. We are also working on printing another calendar featuring kids in the outdoors, which will be out for sale next week.
15. What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
To be considerate of others, and to not forget God created us, we didn't create ourselves.
16. What is your motto in life?
Never give up, do what makes you happy, and above all just be yourself.
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