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Extreme Huntress Jamie Belknap Embraces Challenges and Inspires through Hunting

There are a few things you should know about Jamie Belknap: she is an accomplished hunter, champion archer, avid duck caller, and active board member of her local sportsman club. She lives and breathes hunting and conservation. She is dedicated to sharing her passion for the outdoors with other women. For the second year, she’s also a semi-finalist for Extreme Huntress.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the Extreme Huntress competition, it is a female-centered competition aimed at “persevering our outdoor heritage” and to create “positive role models for women who want to participate in hunting and the outdoor lifestyle.” The show’s goal is inspire the next generation and to continue the legacy of stewardship and responsible management of wildlife and habitat.

The competition challenges the women’s hunting and firearm skills. The women grow together as they are faced with physical challenges, and support each other to overcome emotional hurdles. The women go through rigorous SAAM–Sportsman’s All-Weather All-Terrain Marksmanship–training exercises to help them prepare for hunting game around the globe. The training and competition truly teaches these women how to be ethical and knowledgeable hunters so they may share lessons learned with other women and young girls who want to be a part of this amazing community.

Lifelong Hunter Becomes an Extreme Huntress

 

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We had a chance to catch up with Jamie between her day job as a teacher, goose hunts in North Dakota, and elk hunts in the Idaho backcountry. We asked her about her triumphs and hardships as a female hunter.

No matter how steep the climb or how cold the weather — Jamie is sure to have a smile on her face.

Midland USA: You’ve been hunting your whole life. Tell us about your first hunt?

Jamie: My first hunt was a goose hunt when I was 8 years old. I had just passed hunters education and was finally able to hold a gun in the pit. I will never forget when my dad said to my brother “okay, Tommy, this single coming in is Jamie’s.” I do not even remember a specific time that I fell in love with hunting – it was just what we did. I learned how to read reading the hunter ed manual.

Midland USA: After hunting for nearly two decades, do you have a favorite hunting memory?

Jamie: Being dropped off from the bush plane off the coast of Saint Augustine Volcano in Alaska with my dad when I was 19. We were at a drop camp for 12 days with only the items that my father, I, and the guide brought. I shot my bear on the 3rd day of the hunt.

 

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Midland USA: You mentioned that your favorite wild game to eat is caribou or elk. Do you have a favorite game to hunt or a favorite season?

Jamie: Waterfowl has to be my favorite season. I love ducks. I love the beauty of all of the different ducks we have here in the Pacific Flyway. I love hunting ducks over water because that is what I grew up doing with my dad and brother. I also love communicating with animals through calls and watching the ducks turn and fly in because they believed my calling was a real duck.

I love goose hunting in dry fields. There is something about getting to the field 2 hours before sunrise, setting decoys and brushing in blinds.

With that being said I love archery elk hunting. The main reason I love elk hunting is the communication. There is nothing like hiking for miles and bugling into basin after basin until you finally hear a bugle in the deepest, nastiest country. It makes you fall in love every time you put your boots on.

Midland USA: You have hunted across the country and even Africa. What’s the most unique hunt you’ve been on?

Jamie: I would have to say that my most unique hunt was last year on Extreme Huntress when we got the opportunity to hunt at the Legendary YO ranch. Where I harvested a beautiful Axis buck, axis doe, and Corsican ram with Larry Weishuhn next to me.

 

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Midland USA: You are a hunter of many talents. You hunt rifle and archery seasons across the country – plus, you’re a champion archer. What’s your weapon of choice?

Jamie: I love archery elk hunting because I love being yards away from a screaming bull elk. However, I grew up rifle hunting and shooting with my dad. He is the reason for my passion of the outdoors. He’s taught me everything I know. My weapon of choice is a rifle – I love target shooting and long range shooting.


Hunting Advocate and Passionate Conservationist

 

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Jamie is always at outdoor and sportsman events representing women in hunting. She’s also an active member and on the board for your local hunter conservation club – Northwest Sportsman. Over the years, she has been involved with projects that help those with disabilities get outdoors and hunt. From annual disabled shooter events at the Miller Ranch to her most recent project that gave away two all-terrain tracked wheelchairs.

We were inspired to learn more about her conservation efforts.

Midland USA: With urban development and shrinking wildlife habitats, conservation cannot exist without wildlife management. What role do you believe hunters play in conservation efforts of both habitat and wildlife?

Jamie: Hunters play a HUGE role in conservation efforts for both habitat and wildlife. Hunters bring in over $821 million a year from licenses and permits and another $813 million from firearm taxes – contributing $1.65 billion to wildlife conservation. Aside from the money generated for conservation efforts, hunters play a critical role in managing population. Hunters help with predator control in hopes of maintaining a healthy population of big game animals.

Midland USA: You are heavily involved with the hunting community – how do you lead by example when it comes to promoting conservation?

Jamie: There are a lot of things that I do to promote conservation. First, I purchase hunting and fishing licenses in both Washington and Idaho. A percentage of those fees go back into conservation efforts. I am also a board member and soon-to-be Vice President of  the Northwest Sportsmans Club — a local nonprofit. As a club, we promote conservation through projects and events. We have taken part in activities such as habitat restoration, making of bird houses, and wood duck boxes just to name a few.


Embracing Femininity through the Hunt

 

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Midland USA: Would you share one of your more difficult or challenging hunting experiences?

Jamie: My most difficult hunt or experience would have to be this archery elk season. I was previously married to my archery elk hunting partner. He taught me everything I know about archery elk hunting and this year I had to hunt alone or with friends. This season was difficult for me because when I did go alone and I was not sure what would happen if I was successful. My ex was also the caller. Yes, I do know how to call elk, but I am not as good as he was. I tried my best but, man, was it humbling and a huge change for me.

Midland USA: What is your proudest moment in your hunting career?

Jamie: My proudest moment in my hunting career was harvesting my axis buck in Texas on Extreme Huntress the first year. I was told that I could not hunt without my father and I was fake and should not apply for Extreme Huntress. I proved them wrong when I first saw that axis buck in Texas. From that moment on I have gained the confidence and courage to hunt alone — I was that missing before.

Midland USA: What’s are some of the unexpected benefits and challenges of being a female hunter?

Jamie: An unexpected benefit of being a female hunter is the feeling when you get another female into the sport. I love being able to share my passion of the outdoors with others.

There is only one unexpected challenge I face being a female hunter is not being respected or taken seriously. Not speaking only from my own experiences but also my friends experiences on this particular topic. There are a lot of female hunters out there who hunt for the wrong reasons. A lot of people, men and women are hunting simply for the hopes of being Insta-famous or ‘free things.” They set a stereotype for female hunters that we must prove to be wrong.

Midland USA: What message would you like to share with young girls that want to hunt?

Jamie: The message that I would like to share with young girls is you have the same capabilities of being a hunter as any man. You are just as smart, capable, brave, strong and tough as any man.


Life Lessons

 

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Midland USA: Hunting can be a polarizing topic, how do you handle negative comments?

Jamie: I am faced with a lot of backlash on social media. When I see negative comments I just ignore them. Ignorant people who are willing to go out of their way to “wish us to be dead instead of the animal” would not listen to a word I say if there was to be a rebuttal.

When faced with negative comments in person or on a more personal level, I simply feed them facts. You can not hide the amount of money hunters bring in for conservation efforts. You can not hide the nutritional facts in wild game.

Midland USA: What lessons have hunting taught you that you have carried over into your daily life?

Jamie: Some lessons I have learned hunting that I carry into my daily life is to never give up. I have had some successful hunts in the 4th quarter and i have had plans fall through. But never once has giving up been an option, hunting and in life.

Another lesson I have learned is to be grateful. Taking the life of an animal is not an easy thing to do. We must have gratitude and be thankful for every successful hunt.

Midland USA: What has being a finalist on The Extreme Huntress taught you?

Jamie: Being a finalist on the Extreme Huntress has taught me that I can do anything i set my mind to. The first year was emotionally hard. I was having issues back home that nobody knew about and was emotional and in my own head, preventing myself from competing to the best of my ability. The first year taught me that I am in control of my own happiness and I am capable of anything.

The second year taught me to ask myself “why not” more often. We only have one life to live and we need to live our lives to our full potential. I applied for Extreme Huntress again because I knew I was not myself the first go round. I worked hard to give myself that second chance.


Final Thoughts

Women like Jamie are shaping the future of hunting and conservation. In the face of challenges, whether in her daily life or from social media trolls, Jamie continues on. She chases her passion without apology, preserving our hunting heritage, and paving the way for other women. She is a force and inspiration. We look forward to following her journey and rooting for her on this season of Extreme Huntress!

Tune in to Extreme Huntress–new episodes airing now–to watch Jamie go head to head with 3 other competitors! You can vote for your favorite huntress at ExtremeHuntress.com!