Tara Andvik

Salute! A Service Woman

I was born in South Dakota and raised in North Dakota. Growing up my interests were primarily music, before joining the military, the only weapon I had experience with was a H2O gun...something my drill sergeants & I had a quite a bit of fun laughing about. I know my way around military rifles and had some of the best experiences while in the service. I left the Army, after 6 years active duty, as an E5 SGT (Sergeant).

Following my honorable discharge I moved back home and met my husband Matt on a blind date.  Matt & I have now been married for 7 years and have two beautiful children. It only took him nearly 8 years of asking for me to give hunting a try before I gave in.

I took up archery in the Summer of 2009 and began hunting with Matt in the Fall. My first month out (November 2009) I was able to harvest a doe and a buck, both taken with a Bear Truth 2 Young Gun. In August 2010 I was able to harvest my first black bear, taken with a PSE Vendetta XS. We took up shooting in 3D tournaments this year and have found them to be incredibly helpful & a wonderful way to improve shooting skills for hunting (I even placed 1st in three of them!).

My hobbies include raising our children & Muskie fishing (when we have time to get on the water) and music, if I get a quiet moment to play. I wish I would've listened 8 years ago, but don't tell Matt that! I'm proof that even though I'm a city-gal at heart - who has been caught many times texting in the treestand - I can keep up with the boys!


1.What branch of the service were you in and what was your position/rank?
I was in the Army(active duty) for 6 years, ended up as an e5 SGT (Sergeant).

2. Is the military a different experience for women than men?
I believe so, yes.  There are certain MOS's (jobs) women are just not allowed to have (such as artillery).  I think women have a unique opportunity to prove they can "keep up" with the guys physically.

3. Would you recommend it to other women?
Oh, I would definitely recommend it to both men and women.  It is a terrific experience, allows you to really grow as an individual

4. What was the biggest surprise about being in the military?
There were so many surprises about being in the military - I was amazed how little I actually knew and how much I could accomplish (repelling, shooting
rifles, leadership, etc).

5. What is the downside?
The only downside I felt about joining the military was missing my family - they were in North Dakota and I was in South Carolina, Virginia, & Texas. 

6. What is the upside?
I met so many new and interesting people and some of my best friends while in the military!  I'm very grateful for each and every person I met, they all
taught me something!

7. Sum up the experience in one word:
Freedom -- I got to see what so many soldiers endure for us as a country to continue to have the freedoms/rights so many of us take for granted.

8. What are you doing now?
Household Coordination Specialist - I am a mother to two beautiful children.

9. You are a champion archer. How did you get started?
I don't know if I'd say a champion archer, thank you though!  My husband has been a bow hunter for years, he finally convinced me to try it, and I became addicted!

10. What do you enjoy about archery?
There are so many things I love about archery - it takes a lot of discipline.  So many things have to be right with your body (form) because inconsistency can (and usually does) make you miss.  I can't quite explain it - it is something that just gets into your blood, it can be very empowering.  It's one of the few sports where men & women can be on a level playing field.  I'm 5'5, so for me to be able to keep up with a 6' tall man who has a much stronger build than me feels great!

11. What are your biggest accomplishments’ as an archer?
Oh gosh - for me personally, I think it'd be taking two deer in one month (after I'd been shooting for a few months).  I won three local 3D tournaments my first year shooting, that was pretty neat.

12. Tell us about your most amazing shot to date?
My most amazing shot would probably be the pigeon shots I've tried - they are legal to shoot up here - I got one at 50 yards and one at 60 yards.  They are pretty tiny that far away! The BEST hunt I've been on was my skunk hunt though, that was an incredible rush, our dog had pointed the skunk out earlier in the day, so I decided I'd go try a little spot/stalk on him.  snuck up to 10 yards away, waited patiently-about 10 minutes passed and he made an appearance.  I drew back, but had a 'hood malfunction' on my sweatshirt (it went over my eyes) so I had to let my arrow back down, quickly rip off my hood, redraw & shoot (all in about 5 seconds)!  

Now, this is an animal that I didn't want to mess around with too much!  I shot, then it occurred to me that IF I had missed, the skunk could come after me & probably spray (which I would never hear the end of it from my husband had that happened!)  Luckily, I didn't miss.  I DID make my husband come out & take a photo with me holding the skunk though!  Poor guy!  He even skinned it out for me (he does taxidermy as a hobby).  Nothing says "I love you" like skinning out a skunk! 

13. What are your archery goals?
My goals for archery are honestly just to keep enjoying it.  I am having a blast with it now - as long as I love it I will keep doing it.  Life is too short to spend time on things you don't love.  Luckily my children are showing a LOT of interest in it already too, they both love to shoot!

14. What is your favorite type of adventure?
Anything with my family.  My husband & I recently went on an elk hunt with my father-in-law and a friend of ours, that was a lot of fun!  But I enjoy mini adventures with my children looking for frogs too!

15. What scares you?
SPIDERS.  I have mini panic attacks when I need to kill one....I just cannot handle them.

16. What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
My children - they are my everything!

17. Who is your favorite woman role-model?
There are so many strong women I admire, it would take me forever to list them all! I admire women who are not afraid to stick up for themselves and get out there and DO things instead of waiting for someone to hand it to them!

18. What is the best advice you ever received?
To always be true to yourself.  I try hard to be a woman that especially my daughter can be proud of.  I've had other parents tell me I'm a wonderful
role-model for their daughters, and that is the BIGGEST compliment of all!

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