#PowerHunters: An Interview with Olivia Nalos

#PowerHunters: An Interview with Olivia Nalos

When I first came across Olivia Nalos, I was immediately impressed with her passion for the sport she loves and she was not afraid to share it.  I first discovered Olivia on Facebook and on Twitter and knew I wanted to share her travels and hunting adventures with our readers.

At what age did you start hunting and fishing?

Olivia Nalos: I began fishing when I was about 7 years old in British Columbia. My family would always take a summer vacation on a quiet beach which allowed me to explore and fall in love with wildlife and the outdoors. Surprisingly I didn’t start hunting until I was 16 years old.

 Who had the greatest influence on getting you into hunting and fishing?

Olivia Nalos:A neighbor boy! We’d shoot bb guns at pop-cans, street signs and bunnies until he asked me if I’d like to join him in getting our Hunter’s Safety certification. It all snowballed quickly from there!

What is the single most important issue you see facing outdoor sportsman?

Olivia Nalos: The threat of losing our outdoor heritage. It’s critical to get both women and children involved. Children is a must, but don’t discredit the woman –she is usually the mother/teach/nurturer and helps to guide children in making life-decisions.

 

How do you use social media in your business?

Olivia Nalos:Most of our business is repeat business or referrals, but the future of the hunting industry is definitely social media!  Because the Global Hunting Network wants to gain exposure I am constantly utilizing the web through our company website, http;//www.theglobalhuntingnetwork.com Twitter, Facebook and my blog on www.versus.com    

To date, we have had many leads generated through these social media networks.

How has social media allowed you to interact with your viewers and has it helped grow your brand recognition.

Olivia Nalos:Absolutely social media allows me to interact with many individuals –be they outfitters, hunters, those in pursuit of a unique hunting experience, etc.  They’ll see a blog I’ve written or a photograph posted, and will reach out with questions.  Brand recognition is the most critical element in a business when trying to reach new customers. Constantly being in the face of your future-clientele is critical when they finally make a decision to book a hunt –they think to themselves “what was the name of that company again? Oh yeah, it was the one with the cool globe and red and yellow lettering… The Global Hunting Network!”  It works! And the internet is allowing our company to branch out even more.  I like it also because it’s free advertising! I don’t have to pay for an ad in a magazine or sponsor a TV show, which can be extremely pricey!

What is the Extreme Huntress Contest?

Olivia Nalos: Primal Adventures Extreme Huntress Contest panel of celebrity judges has selected ten (10) of the finest huntresses from around the world.  All applicants submitted a 500 word essay that reveals why each woman deems themselves the most extreme huntress.  To see what myself and the other extreme huntresses wrote, go to: http://www.tahoefilms.com/poll.php?poll_id=6  and don’t forget to vote for me!

How often do you get to hunt or fish?

Olivia Nalos: I hunt every weekend –if not for deer, dove or turkey, I’ll hunt predators or vermin. Fishing is rare for me –I’ll fish roughly 1 every six months.

What advice would you offer to women who are thinking about going on a hunting trip for the first time.

Olivia Nalos: As women in the outdoors we will be amongst men. They will look at us suspiciously. They will watch our every move with eyes of steel. They will question us with stupid questions like “so, what sort of a scope do you have on your shotgun to hunt dove?”  They will try to push our buttons to see if we belong.  How you react will set the pace for the rest of your hunt.

Even if you haven’t hunted much, be confident in yourself. If they ask you how long you’ve been hunting or what you’ve killed before, be honest.  You won’t know it all… but neither do the guys. You’ll likely be surprised that some of the guys will be encouraging and supportive and want to teach you everything they know.

Familiarizing yourself with your weapon and the specie you are hunting is enough to impress those guys. At least you’ve studied in advance! But keep your cool and don’t worry if they look at you funny.  They’ll expect you to sleep in, take two hours to put your makeup on, use up all of the hot water, complain about the weather, and only eat a salad for dinner.  But if you get up at 4:00am (allowing yourself the time you need to get ready, which it’s okay to be pretty), work hard and spend time in the field, they’ll absolutely howl when you come in with the biggest buck!

Get yourself geared up with the right clothes for your hunt… if you can’t talk the part, at least you’ll look the part and you’ll be able to endure the weather.  Talk with your hunting partner, outfitter or look at weather charts; knowing this will help you to assemble the best gear. Today we have so many clothing options. Camo specific to the region you’ll be hunting in will help you to blend in. Also, with the weather in mind, make sure you get a product that can handle rain, snow or sweat.

If it’s one of your first hunts, select a caliber that doesn’t rock your world. Begin shooting a .22-250 for practice, then move up to the .270 (and you can likely stick with this caliber for many species) but if the animal you’re hunting is larger-bodied (like an elk), graduate to the .30-06, 7mm or .300 -any of these three calibers will allow you to hunt the world (unless you’re hunting Cape buffalo, lion, rhino, hippo and elephant).

As a woman hunter, don’t be intimidated to ask questions –that’s the only way you’re going to learn.

 What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Olivia Nalos: Hunting! Of course!

How were your parents influential?

Olivia Nalos: They gave me wings to fly… in other words I had to be responsible, take care of the things I was given (so they’d last) understand the value of a dollar and ultimately learn independence.  

How do you feel about the reintroduction of the Grey Wolf?

Olivia Nalos: It’s not easy to have a predator re-introduced as so much is affected.  I know the ranchers are really feeling the impact as wolves are known to be sport killers and guess what’s affected –cattle, sheep and other livestock.  To be forthright in answering your questions, I’m mixed –it was once their territory, yes, but they need to be kept under control and I’m not talking about birth control pills! I’m talking about lead pills.  If an animal is a threat to someone’s way of life and causing havoc with local wildlife then monitor the numbers and allocate hunting permits.  

What is your favorite quote?

Olivia Nalos:I like a few of them… “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, I won’t be laid a hand upon, I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” -John Wayne from “The Shootist” // “Most men, regardless of cause or need, blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull the trigger. I won’t.” -John Wayne from “The Shootist”  // “You can go to hell –as for me, I’m going to Texas!” –Davy Crockett “You can go to hell –as for me I’m going to Texas.” -Davy Crockett

How important is our second amendment?

Olivia Nalos:In talking with a Spanish hunting outfitter he reminded me how lucky we American’s are for having such ingenious forefathers. He has no rights in Spain with regards to bearing arms and neither do many other country-citizens. It is critical that we remember this –we have the right to bear arms and must fight to keep this right and respect this priveledge.

At what age do you recommend getting kids involved in hunting or fishing?

Olivia Nalos: As soon as possible! I don’t suggest giving your 7 year old a .375 and shooting an elephant thought! Just getting them out in the field to fish or hunt is enough! It’s creating bonds, establishing relationships and ultimately teaching that child the importance of hunting to conservation, wildlife preservation and what the life of an animal means –food on the table!

What is your favorite animal to hunt?

Olivia Nalos: I’m torn between two animals; where the Cape Buffalo is an adrenaline-rush like no other and always scares the heck out of me, I love the excitement of hunting Whitetail Deer. Whitetail hunting is addictive and something I look forward to each year because they’re extremely difficult to anticipate and you never know when one will walk out.

Why do you hunt? In other words what do you gain out of hunting that makes your life better?

Olivia Nalos: I hunt for the love of wildlife, people and adventure. My travels have allowed me to see places seldom-few knew existed and spend time with various tribes or nomadic people and observer wildlife in their home. For me hunting is a way of life… not just for me but for all that it affects. Because of the hunter, jobs are created for indigenous people such as camp staff/trackers/skinners. Because of the hunter, wildlife biologists can observe how the wildlife are flourishing and allocate quota/tags based on species proliferation. Because of the hunter, game scouts are employed to ensure that poachers are out of work and that the precious wildlife is protected. Because of the hunter, water wells are drilled for both local people and wildlife. Because of the hunter, medical supplies and care are provided, schools are built, homes are built, clothes are provided and nourishing meat is provided.  I hunt because of the good it does for wildlife, habitat and people.

What is your greatest passion associated with hunting?

Olivia Nalos: Because I am already involved with wildlife conservation and habitat preservation as a hunter (and everything else I mentioned above), my goal is to educate others and get the voice of the hunter heard –such individuals (whatever age they are) are the future of our industry. I aspire to educate such individuals (kids, women, whomever) about all of the critical roles we hunters play in the circle of life so they too are equipped and capable of sharing the importance of hunting with the same conviction, knowledge and passion.

Apart from America, which countries have you hunted?

Olivia Nalos: Outside of Canada, Alaska, the “Lower 48” States, & Mexico, I have hunted in Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mongolia and New Zealand.

How does hunting make you a better woman?

Olivia Nalos: Hunting brings me back to the basics of life; through persistence, perseverance and determination I will be successful whether I take an animal or not. It’s simply the reward of being one with nature and growing ever-closer to my Maker.  In hunting dangerous game, it forces me to be brave and focused; there are times that I find myself intimidated by the dangerous animal I seek, but if I focus and remain confident in my abilities I will push myself beyond my own personal expectations and often surprise myself.

You were Mrs. Nebraska and hunt around the world. Has it ever been a problem for you?

Olivia Nalos: I competed for the title of Mrs. Nebraska America with a platform or purpose to educate people about the important role hunter’s play in wildlife conservation and the preservation of habitat.  Embracing such a controversial platform was certainly a shock to the pageant world, but I was pleased that many people were excited about my passion to speak about hunting.  The most interesting encounter with my “pro-hunting” stance was with my roommate while competing for the title of Mrs. America. She was absolutely darling, and I was glad to have been matched with her for two weeks.  We were almost inseparable for the duration of the pageant, and needless to say, had a lot of time to get to know one another. She asked me numerous questions about my love for the outdoors and about the role of the hunter.  I was delighted to talk about hunting and felt that she understood my perspective.  I spoke to her of the many pressing issues facing wildlife conservation, and the importance of hunting.  Many of the topics we discussed are typically very difficult to digest, but with no inhibitions, I spoke with conviction and great enthusiasm. I believe it was day three when she informed me that she was a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) – PETA is a hunter’s greatest nemesis! Astonished, I apologized if I had offended her, but she made it clear that she had learned a lot from me, and, until I came along, didn’t understand that there is indeed a difference between hunting and poaching.  I had educated her, and she was thrilled to finally know the truth.

What would you tell women who hesitates in taking the first step to hunt?

Olivia Nalos: Hunting is not about just killing an animal. It is about the beauty of the land, the wonder of seeing your first buck in the wild take a breath in the early morning hours, his majestic grunt call with the steam coming from his nose, the bird soaring in the air, the fresh smell of the dew on the grass, the serenity of the wild and the absolute magical experience of being a part of nature.  For those women who hesitate to take the first step, consider this; hunting allows you to bond with your husband or boyfriend, friends, and children – it’s getting back to the basics, the fundamentals of nature, and an opportunity for camaraderie.  It doesn’t have to start out big. Begin by joining a ladies shooting group or showing an interest by joining your spouse, but you must begin slowly – shoot at clay targets, soda cans, but familiarize yourself with the weapon.  Then determine if it’s something you think you would like. I also suggest starting with birds or a whitetail doe.  Don’t doubt yourself and never be discouraged; women are some of the most amazing marksmen (shooters) and I know you have what it takes to be an exceptional huntress. We all begin somewhere – I started with rabbits and dove. I missed many and still do, but I try and try again, and quite frankly enjoy just being in the wild regardless if I never see an animal to hunt.

To be honest, I am for the humane or ethical treatment of animals –I don’t kick dogs, kill kitties, or abandon horses to starve in a dirt field. I am an animal lover; I appreciate the clever abilities of a cat and hope to mimic their hunting style; I think there’s nothing more beautiful to watch than a dog working a field in pursuit of pheasant or retrieving a duck from the chilly river waters, and without that durable packhorse, just how on earth would I get to my hunting camps?

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from professional hunters of grown men shedding a tear when they end the life of an animal; after all, this beast has taken them on a journey and helped them to grow as a hunter. I’ve even witnessed hunters weeping when they’ve wounded an animal –they hate that they’ve caused that animal to suffer; they wanted it to be killed quickly and cleanly. Of course these tears are either hidden or never spoken of –it’s sort of a quiet understanding shared between hunters.

So when someone asks me “let me get this straight, you claim to be an animal lover, but you kill them? Why?” My response is that I understand the circle of life and that wildlife needs to be managed; not doing so can have negative impacts on flora and fauna alike. Case in point: elephants. If they’re not managed, they can eat every other resident animal out of house and home and bring these species to the brink of extinction. Additionally, the money we pay to hunt goes back into wildlife conservation, taking animal censuses, conduction biological studies, anti-poaching efforts, drilling water wells for man and animal alike, feeding the indigenous people and the list goes on.  So as humane animal lovers it is our responsibility to ensure all wildlife has the opportunity to flourish; managing is ultimately how we love animals.

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