Editor’s note: This exclusive OutdoorHub interview is the first of many that will focus on the amazing females who are driving positive changes in the outdoors. Julie McQueen was one of three diehard hunters featured in CarbonTV’s “Women Who Hunt” online special. This original “Women Who“ series shares the stories of women who have the outdoors in their blood. Whether it’s hunting, shooting or farming, these women make no apology for who they are and aim to inspire the same passion in others. Be sure to check in often to CarbonTV.com for more “Women Who” originals.
OHUB: Julie, you worked in the fashion industry, obtained a pilot’s license by age 24, and even played poker professionally. How did you get started hunting and fishing?
Julie: Yes, I’ve had some interesting careers and accomplished some big goals in life so far! I began fishing at a pretty young age, but I’m not from a hunting family. I learned about hunting when I was late in my teens, and I’m mostly self-taught. I read a lot of books and magazine articles about hunting, and then I went into the field and tried to figure it out on my own. I credit that as the reason why I’m so passionate about passing our hunting heritage down to future generation now; I didn’t have anyone to teach me, so I know how crucial it is.
OHUB: You take pride in harvesting wild game for the table. In your opinion, what is the best-tasting wild game?
Julie: I always say that if your wild game doesn’t taste good, don’t blame it on the animal! Some people try wild game for the first time, and because of the preparation they think all game tastes bad. There are a lot of great ways to prepare meat from the animals that we harvest, and one of my favorites is elk. I’ve been known to put an elk roast in the slow cooker and add veggies and broth before we go out into the field hunting for a day. By the time we get back to camp, we have a perfectly prepared elk shoulder. This is especially good when it’s cold outside and we’ve been in the field working all day. Who wouldn’t want to come home to that?
OHUB: As you know, conservation and wildlife management are keys to ensuring hunting’s future. What can we hunters do to better communicate these messages to the non-hunting public?
Julie: I think that we need to let the facts do most of the talking, and we also need to keep in mind that some people will be very emotional when they are against us on this topic. I’ve learned that many anti-hunters, or even non-hunters, feel passionately about animals that they believe are being mistreated. By having empathy for the non-hunters, I can stand my ground in a respectful way and help them to understand the facts about conservation, population numbers, and the devastation that would occur if we did not use hunting as a tool for conservation. Hunters need to remember that when they speak to the people who do not hunt, they are representing all hunters as a group. Speak with respect and knowledge, educate yourself ahead of time, and remember that they feel as passionately about their argument as you do about yours.
OHUB: Which model Mathews bow do you shoot? Draw length and weight? And assuming you get a new bow each year, what do you do with your previous one?
Julie: This year I’m shooting a Mathews Halon 6. I am a 27-inch draw, and I pull around 50 pounds for big-game season. It’s by far the best bow I’ve ever shot, and that’s saying a lot because I really loved the Mathews Jewel I used last season. I typically get a new bow every year, and I like that because it challenges me to sight it in and get it exactly the way I want it. I typically sell my bow after I’m done using it. Right now I’m selling my Mathews Jewel and I’m giving 100 percent of the proceeds to Wishes For Warriors. Wishes is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps our veterans with life after combat. They take wounded veterans on therapeutic outdoor adventures, which is crucial to regaining and living out their passions in life.
OHUB: Sticking with the archery theme: As a co-host of CarbonTV’s “Till Death Do Us Part,” there must be pressure at times to “get a show.” How do you resist the urge to attempt a bow shot that might be outside of your comfort zone?
Julie: Unlike a lot of other outdoor shows, we like to air our misses, mistakes, and misfortunes. I enjoy telling a true story, so even if I don’t fill a tag, or if I miss an animal in the field, we still have a show. Some of my favorite episodes have been the ones that didn’t include any filled tags. Those stories are crucial for people to see because it reminds the world that we are all hunters that go home empty-handed sometimes. I hope I never get to the point where I’m just doing something to “get a show”. My stories revolve around the entire hunting process instead of just harvesting the animal.
OHUB: Who came up with the name, “Till Death Do Us Part”?
Julie: My husband, Daniel Lee Martin, came up with the name. He’s a creative soul, and he has a great sense of humor, so he’s always coming up with great ideas like that.
OHUB: Your blog is outstanding, and one story we especially enjoyed is titled, “Passing the Buck,” which details you passing a trophy buck in Texas so your husband could shoot him. Has Daniel returned the favor?
Julie: That episode of “Till Death Do Us Part” actually just aired recently, and I think it’s a brilliant story about making sacrifices for people you love. I did pass on a beautiful Texas buck – twice – and I let Daniel tag it instead. I enjoyed seeing the happiness and joy it brought to him! He is always making sacrifices for me in the field. He will call in a turkey for me, or film me hunting out west, and he never complains about it. Technically, that could be looked at the other way around. I probably owed him a favor after all of the sacrifices he has made for me.
OHUB: Do you have a concealed carry permit? If so, what is your carry handgun (brand and caliber) of choice?
Julie: I do have my concealed carry permit. I can remember being a teenager and promising my dad that I would carry a gun as often as possible. My dad was a police officer, so he’s very protective. I typically carry a .380 because of its small size. I have .380s in Kel-Tec, Ruger, and Remington that all look similar, and I typically have one of them concealed on my person.
OHUB: In addition to hunting and shooting, you love to fish, especially from a kayak. What is your biggest kayak catch?
Julie: I do love fishing from my Hobie kayak! There is something so peaceful about being out on the water, even when I’m not catching anything. I haven’t caught a lot of large fish from my kayak, but I’ve taken it in some pretty fun waters. My husband hooked up on a large shark in his, and it actually towed him almost 2 miles offshore before he cut the line. My biggest catch in my Hobie is probably just a large redfish.
OHUB: You were recently featured in CarbonTV’s “Women Who Hunt” series (video below) along with your friends Jana Waller and Kristy Titus. Do you see yourself as a role model for other females who are interested in the outdoors? And what was it like working with Jana and Kristy?
Julie: I believe that there are a lot of women who are role models to the younger generation, even if they don’t realize it. Young people, who are impressionable, can watch us through social media and other platforms at any given time. We have to keep in mind that we are constantly being observed, and that we need to make decisions that will have a positive influence on the younger minds that watch us. I do see myself as a role model, simply because I know that my actions are being observed and my words are heard by young girls who admire my line of work.
I’m fortunate to have Jana and Kristy as my close friends. We all lead similar lives, and we have similar interests and goals. All three of us are animal lovers and strive to be true conservationists. Jana, Kristy and I always get along really well, so working with them on this project was a lot of fun. We laugh nonstop, and we all really respect each other. It’s an honor to be a part of any project with two women for whom I have so much respect.
OHUB: Final question: If you could take part in only one more outdoor adventure, where would you go, what would you do, and who would join you?
Julie: If I knew that I could only take one more outdoor adventure, I would choose to go mule deer hunting in the late season in Arizona with my husband. I love that state, and I really enjoy the late-season hunt. I’ve always felt like my heart is out west, and I like the challenge of spot and stalk hunting out there. People are always surprised that this is what I choose as my favorite hunt. I’ve never been successful on that specific hunt, but I still love it the most. The entire experience fills me with so much happiness that I don’t mind the fact that I never fill my tag. I soak in the beauty, I enjoy every second of it, and I would choose that as my final outdoor adventure because I always leave there feeling like my heart and soul are at peace.
Images courtesy of Julie McQueen