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Who or what got you into shooting?
After I won the title of Miss NC USA I had an offer to film a hunt for Wildgame Nation. My dad had a well stocked gun safe but I had not had much experience with firearms. I practiced daily to prepare for my TX trip & ultimately landed a buck with a CVA .06 at 200yd. I fell in love with the sport & have been blessed to travel all over the country pursuing my next big game conquest. I have a real passion for this sport & a desire to grow it!
Do you shoot handguns, shotguns, rifles or all of the above?
I have accustomed myself to a variety of other firearms, including handguns, shotguns, rifles and compound bow.
Why are you involved with the NRA or how do you support their efforts?
I am a supporter of the NRA because they protect our increasingly threatened right to bear arms. It is appalling how the people in DC are trying to restrict our gun rights, even after studies have been done showing that areas with increased gun control actually have increased incidences of gun violence.
Tell us about the first gun you owned or your favorite gun.
I absolutely love shooting a bolt action 30.06. Savage has been a reliable brand for me and at a great price. I'm also quite fond of my Savage 20 gauge rifle barreled shotgun I use during whitetail gun season in Illinois.
What's your current go-to gun?
I usually go for our AR-15 .223. It's just a fun gun to shoot and is incredibly reliable at long distances. Coyotes beware!
What's your favorite shooting range or place to hunt?
Fortunately we have a few land leases between Charleston and Illinois, so we are able to sustain all of our hunting and shooting range needs with our own properties. I even have a little bow range in my garage that I can practice in to stay in tip top shape!
Do you have a favorite accessory or clothing item you won't go shooting or hunting without? What makes it so important?
My sleeping bag! With how brutally cold this winter was while hunting in Illinois, it was impossible to stay warm. I spent many miserably freezing days sitting in a deer stand with negative wind chills until I discovered my sleeping bag was a great addition to my hunting wardrobe! Thanks to North Face, I was able to sit long enough to harvest a mature 150" buck during the first shotgun season. We now call him the "Sleeping Bag Buck.”
What's your most unusual gun-related item?
Probably my sleeping bag! Possibly my bow as well. Even if I'm gun hunting, I always bring my Bowtech with plenty of judos and broadheads in case a stray varmint comes across my path. I harvested a beautiful female coyote in full winter coat last season while I was deer hunting, and the deer around me were none-the-wiser since my bow is so quiet.
What's your best or most memorable moment as it relates to firearms?
It would have to be when I killed my first mule deer in Utah. We had been doing spot & stalk for hours the last day of my hunt. By mid-afternoon we were about to head to camp when a large 4x4 muley skylined on top of a ridge. I only had seconds to assess the range & fire. My heart was pounding but I stayed steady & made an excellent double lung shot from 330y. I was more excited about how well I reacted under pressure than the caliber of muley.
I own a gun because:
It is my duty to preserve my rights as well as protect myself and those around me. I am responsible for passing on the idea of ethical and sustainable hunting as well as responsible gun handling to future generations.
Tell us the best (or worst) gun advice you've ever been given.
I have had proper gun safety and handling so heavily instilled in my mind that I don't even have to think about it-it's a natural reaction. This allows me, and those around me, to feel comfortable and in control no matter what the weapon or situation may be.
What's your easiest gun to handle and shoot? Hardest?
I'm so much more partial to rifles that I had a hard time getting accustomed to handguns. Even with a smaller frame, I can shoot any caliber rifle without being too affected by the kickback; however, improving my accuracy with handguns took A LOT more work and time.
What would be your recommendation for best entry-level gun?
I learned to shoot using a .270. For me, this was the perfect rifle to start out with because it gave me a good feel for for the weight and recoil of the gun without being too much for me to handle. I think as long as the gun is manageable for the abilities of the person shooting and sighted in for accuracy, it will build confidence rather than cause discomfort.
Your ideal shopping trip: the mall or an outdoor outfitter?
I think we try to buy out Bass Pro and Cabela's every time we go there!
What do you think is the best home defense — firing or fleeing?
Firing. If someone is coming after me with the intention of doing either myself or my family harm, the last thing I am going to do is give them my back. I would rather incapacitate the attacker and protect my household. By firing you also prevent any potential future incidents by this person since it is common knowledge that violent offenders are typically repeat offenders.
Who or what inspires you?
My dad. He is the hardest working and most supportive man that I know. He has brought himself up from absolutely nothing to being the successful man that he is today. Even when my family struggled to make ends meet, he did everything he could to provide me with the best lifestyle possible, even if that meant he had to go without. I have never met someone more selfless than him. Everything I do, I do to make him proud. You're my hero, Dad!
What's your favorite holiday? Why?
Christmas! This is my and my dad's favorite time of the year. The season is filled with traditions from decorating the house to making fudge for all of our family and neighbors. We use this time of the year to really focus on doing for other people and making sure that those around us have everything they need to enjoy the holiday as well. It's all about sharing the Word and making sure those around you are in good spirits too!
What do you do to relax and unwind — watch TV, listen to music, go to movies, catch a game, exercise, something else?
Our days are usually filled with some sort of outdoor activity whether its fishing, hunting, shooting skeet, kayaking-you name it. TV is rarely on because we're typically outside, but when it is, it's dialed in on the outdoor channels. Last night we watched NRA All Access and their coverage of the NRA 500, Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild, and Crush with Lee and Tiffany. As you can see, there is no room for "Real Housewives" around here!
Your greatest accomplishment?
I graduated from a Research Level I University with 2 Biology degrees & a Minor in Animal Science. That knowledge combined with winning Miss NC USA has given me the poise & ability to travel the world & ultimately become the head of Business Development for 2 large companies at such a young age. Fortunately for me, the recognition I have received is starting to turn my passion for hunting into my career!