With interest of continuing to profile active outdoorsmen/women in the field, today we share a recent conversation with Beka Garris, aka “Wilderness Babe”.
Austin: Tell us a little bit about yourself: who is Beka Garris?
Beka: I was born and raised in northern New Jersey and spent most of my childhood fishing, catching frogs and playing in the mud. I was always a bit of a tomboy and was shooting guns at an early age and was hunting at age ten. As I got older I became even more involved in the outdoors and spent all of my spare time in the woods either with a bow, a gun, or my camera.
In high school I received an award for outstanding achievement in environmental science and I later went on to get an associate’s degree in photography. For years I worked on farms and hunting clubs (I currently work on a farm) and enjoy the outside work.
Austin: Tell us a little bit about your outdoors hobbies: hunting, fishing, trucks, etc…
Beka: My hobbies in the outdoors include but are not limited to: hunting; fishing, bow fishing, my truck, photography, filming hunts, painting, creating camo clothing, and cooking. I particularly love cooking wild game.
Austin: What are some of your earliest memories involved with all that?
Beka: The earliest memories I have of the outdoors is when I was about 3 years old and my parents took my brothers and I fishing. I remember I had a tiny red fishing rod and I caught my first sunfish that day.
One of the memories that stands out the most was my seventh birthday. My dad took me out turkey calling since my birthday is in mid-April. My dad let me try out one of his push-button box calls and we did see and hear several birds. That day I was hooked.
Austin: How did you become such an outdoors-oriented woman? In your opinion, who or what has influenced your outdoors lifestyle the most?
Beka: Without my dad I probably wouldn’t be doing half of what I do. He took the time to teach myself and my siblings how to hunt and fish and all sorts of outdoor skills. Those are the kinds of things you don’t forget, and spending time with family in the outdoors only helps to form stronger bonds.
Austin: Would you consider yourself an experienced huntress?
Beka: I’m not sure I would consider myself an experienced huntress…knowledgeable maybe, but in the outdoor and hunting world there is always something new to see and learn. I’ve hunted many different states and different species of animals but it seems like every time I go out I learn something new, and I think it’s important that people stay open to learning new things.
Austin: If you had to pick one or two animal species to target, which would you prefer and why?
Beka: If I had to choose one species to hunt I would pick whitetail. Out of everything I’ve hunted they continue to be my favorite thing to hunt, preferably with my bow. There is absolutely nothing like an early morning hunt mid-November and having a monster buck come running in. It’s absolutely the best adrenaline rush.
Austin: Have you ever or do you regularly attend any outdoors conventions or shows?
Beka: I like to attend as many hunting shows as possible, some are local and some are far away. I’ve met a ton of people and made some great new friends that way.
Beka: I started painting feathers a few years ago after I saw someone selling them. Most people sell them for $100+ and since I couldn’t afford that I decided why not paint my own?
Austin: Where can we see your work?
Beka: You can find examples of my work on my face book page or on my blog at http://wildernessbabe.blogspot.com/.
Austin: Your Facebook page clearly shows you as a very fashionable outdoors woman. What’s it like in the women’s clothing marketplace these days?
Beka: I love to create my own camo clothing since there really isn’t a whole lot of quality casual camo clothing that fits well and is affordable. I’ve bought camo from a lot of different brands and not all of it is made very well, especially the camo women’s hunting clothing.
Austin: Are there any suggestions for or additions you would make to the overall women’s outdoor apparel world?
Beka: There is nothing more frustrating to me than having to wear pants that are 2 sizes too big and are extremely uncomfortable. There are several top-of-the-line brands of women’s clothing out there, the biggest problem I have is that as an average single women who doesn’t make a lot of money, it’s hard to afford good camo. I would love to see some that’s slightly more affordable in the future.
Austin: In “my day” it was practically unheard of for women to be active hunters in the field. Today women in the outdoors may very well be the fastest growing segment of new people in the fold. Why do you think hunting and fishing have become so popular with modern women?
Beka: There are a ton of women coming into the outdoor industry and I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that there are now so many great role models out there both on and off TV that love the sport. They truly love what they do and make other women want to try it, and it also can be something to do with a spouse significant other that will bring you closer together.
Austin: Do you have female friends in your general age that share your passion and interests in the outdoors?
Beka: I only know a few girls my age personally that have the same drive and obsession that I do for the outdoors. I definitely love meeting other women who do hunt, and also enjoy guiding beginners of any age.
Austin: Are there any new things you’d like to try or experience in the outdoors?
Beka: There are so many things I haven’t done, I can’t even begin to list them all. I would love to take some dangerous animals, such as bear, wolf, cougar with my bow. My dream is to someday be on the cover of a hunting magazine, and maybe set a few new records. I’d also like to try noodling for catfish, and hunting wild hogs with a knife.
Austin: If you could give words of advice to newer, upcoming outdoorswomen, what would they be?
Beka: My advice to any women in the hunting industry, young or old, is to stay true to yourself. Don’t try to be something you are not, stay real and above all take time to enjoy what you are doing!
Beka, thank you for taking the time to share with us a little bit about yourself. Hopefully we’ll see much more of your outdoor exploits in the future to come! Check out http://moderntrapper.com/ for more articles on hunting, trapping and active outdoorsmen and women today.