Shannon Lansdowne is a female hunter, hunting guide, Outfitters Daughter, an outdoors woman, a conservationist, an advocate for all hunters, and a mentor. She is a finalist in the Extreme Huntress competition and we enjoyed the opportunity to interview her. http://extremehuntress.com/2016-semi-finalists/
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
PATIENCE, I am an antsy person, and I feel when hunting there are times I should stay in one place just a little longer but I can help but move to another spot to “see what is over there“ I am sure this has spoiled some opportunities for me in the past. Also Patience when shooting, when you spot and animal and your adrenaline is pumping it is hard to be patient in order to get the best opportunity to harvest an animal. I sometimes find myself taking a shot just seconds before I should, even though it is still successful, I feel practicing a little more patience could help me be a better hunter.
How were you introduced to hunting?
I can’t say I was “introduced” to hunting. Hunting has always been in my life from my earliest memories. I simply don’t know life without Hunting in it. My father owned an Outfitting business on the Central Coast of British Columbia and my childhood memories consist of guests in our home talking about the days hunt or the plan for tomorrow. In our home there were always friends stopping in and telling hunting stories, planning the upcoming season or stopping in to see the latest harvest. As an Outfitting family, on the off season I would join my dad down south as exhibitors in conventions such as SCI, Dallas Safari Club, Wild Sheep Foundation and many other outdoors shows from Vancouver to Mississippi. Since we were very busy guiding during hunting season, I didn’t get the chance to go harvest a big game animal till I had graduated high school. But ever since I have hunted as many days in the year as I possibly can. My husband and I plan our life around our next hunting trip, we are very fortunate to be able to commit so much time in the field; hunting and harvesting game to fill our freezers. Hunting in my family is an adventure, a priority and a chance to develop our skills and make memories.
Who were the influencers in your life that helped you get into hunting?
I have had a number of people in my life who have influenced me into a life of hunting. But my two biggest influences and role models would be my Dad and my Husband. During all of my hunts I have been lucky enough to have one of them with me. My father being an Outfitter most of my life always engraved in me the importance of hunting, providing, conservation, firearm handling and taught me the most important skills of being respectful as a hunter; to hold respect for your harvest, the environment and fellow hunters. When I met my husband I met an addition to our hunting family. We met while I was preparing for the arrival of our Spring Black Bear hunters in 2010. He has developed my skills in a way I may not have known was possible without his influence. He teaches me every day something new about hunting, hunting gear, and new techniques to use in the field. I have seen more hunting territory while with him than I did in my first 20 years of hunting. In addition to advancing my skills he has been a major supporter in encouraging me to push myself to the edge, to advance my abilities as an independent woman in the field and to always make life an adventure.
What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
Don’t hold any reservations, get out and try it. It is ok if you don’t know everything there is to know about hunting, knowledge comes from experiences and can only be achieved with time. Go on your first hunt with someone who is patient, supportive, and you are comfortable with; this will help you be relaxed and enjoy each moment. Hunting can be stressful and is always a rush, having a good partner is important. When deciding what animal you intend on hunting on your first hunt, make it an achievable goal. Hunting can be discouraging and as a beginner you don’t want to be discouraged from hunting because once you are successful you will “be hooked”.
What species would you most like to hunt?
I have a bucket list when it comes to hunting. But I must say, I don’t feel it is about the size of the animal in which I wish to harvest, I base this list on the challenge I will face trying to achieve the goal.
I would love to go to New Zealand for Tahr. I intend on doing it without Helicopter, hiking is a passion of mine; it pushes me harder than any other sport I participate in and I feel that a Tahr hunt would push me to my limit.
The most recent animals I have added to my bucket list are Fallow Deer, Black Buck and Axis Deer. I hold an enormous amount of respect for these animals as they are extremely smart, aware and I know they will challenge me while hunting.
Most of my other hunts are hunts I want to do in British Columbia. Growing up we had hunters harvest Mountain Goats each year, and every hunter said the same thing, that was one of the hardest hunts I have ever done. My goal is to do this hunt the hard way by doing it on the Coast of British Columbia. The coast holds some of the biggest Mountain Goats in the world, and it is also the toughest hunt as the terrain is unforgiving and the goats hold up in some of the most difficult places to access. As British Columbia residents we are so fortunate to have the chance to harvest some world renown animals. Other animals I have on my list are Roosevelt Elk on Vancouver Island, Stone and Dall Sheep, Mule and Whitetail Deer.
What gear do you carry that you could not live without?
A list of the gear I carry with me when hunting are : My Havalon Knife, rope, Granola Bar, A lighter, fire starter, game bags, Range finder, GPS, my Binos, a lens cleaner and a first aid pack.
What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?
My husband recently surprised me with a Kimber Adirondack 7mm-08 Rem with an 18 inch barrel. It is an amazing rifle for a Women, it is short, light and has very little recoil. I am super impressed and feel very confident with it. We put a Swarovski 3.5×18 Z5 series scope on it and it is the perfect combo. First day at the range I sighted it in with Nosler Trophy Grade 140 grain and at 500 yards I had 1 inch grouping. Very Impressed with this rifle, scope and ammo combo; I highly recommend it to any women or youth as their go to rifle for big game.
What five pieces of gear do you carry with you on every hunt that you could not live without?
I always have some rope; both for safety and to assist me once I have Harvested an animal. My Havalon Knife with extra blades; this knife has proven time and time again to be a great tool for hunting; it saves time and the hassle of ever having a dull blade. A lighter and fire starter in a Ziplock baggy, hunting in BC you are usually wet from rain or soaked on the inside from sweating, if you are ever in a situation that you must overnight in the field, a lighter could save your life. Lastly an extra layer of clothing, we hike and then sit, hike and then sit a lot when we are hunting so I find when I am sitting I get a chill, I am always prepared to put on an extra layer while sitting and taking it off while hiking, this eliminates the chance of getting a chill and possibly cutting the hunt short or unable to make an accurate shot.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
Patience! Patience is a very important skill you must master when hunting. For many reasons, whether it is sitting still in the same place for hours waiting for an animal to appear. Hunting for days and days, with early mornings can be draining and create irritability but if you practice patience you will eliminate these emotions.
Do you feel any need to overcompensate or overachieve in the hunting/shooting industry because you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?
I do not feel I have to act any different than any other hunter out there, male or female. As hunters we all work hard to achieve the same goal and at the end of the day; male or female we are all taking with us experiences and adventures all of which we learn from and take with us on our next hunt. Some females hold more knowledge and experience than males who are new to hunting; this should not have an effect on how we go about hunting or the goal we wish to achieve. Women hunters should hold a major sense of accomplishment to be able to pass on knowledge to our next generation; in the past this was generally knowledge a father would pass onto a son, now a mother can pass it down to her son or daughter.
Have you ever experienced any discrimination (or on the flip side, any benefit) because you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?
I feel there is no need to have this segregation in our industry. I was never treated different growing up in the industry because I am female. Many people admired that I was involved in the family business as a female but at no point did I feel as an outsider in the hunting community. Being a female hunter has contributed to my self-esteem, confidence and I hold a great level of respect to the women who have always been part of this industry.
How do you feel media portrays women in the hunting/shooting industry? Do you feel there is a double standard?
It is hard to sum up how the media portrays women in this industry, as there are various levels of experience and talent within these hunters. The media groups who are Pro Hunting portray the women with high levels of respect and admiration. I feel it is great for our industry to gain the media attention for all hunters; it creates awareness and attracts people who may not have known the truthful facts about conservation and respectful hunting ethics. I feel the only double standard in our media about hunting is from the anti-hunting groups who are targeting females in our industry as they feel they will be weak and less abrasive in their response. I feel they are mistaken on this fact as women hold just as much passion and dedication to this industry as the males do and are just as willing to stand up for our hunting privileges.
When it comes to hunting gear, how do you feel about gear specifically designed for women (guns, clothing, packs, etc.)?
As a female with a small frame I often find it challenging to find a pack, clothes or gun that I feel 100% comfortable in. However, there are products out there for us we just have to take some extra time to find the right fit. I personally just found the perfect gun for my frame that fits my type of hunts. When I am on a hunt it is usually a lot of hiking so a light weight gun is a major benefit to ensure I do not run low on energy and allows me to pack additional weight once the animal is harvested. I am currently looking for an appropriate pack, while doing this I am researching products which have a lot of adjustable options. This will save my back while packing heavy weight.
As for clothing, there are a great deal of companies in the hunting industry that are focusing on the female hunter, I personally wear a lot of Under Armour for mild day hunts, I have a very heavy set of gear from SHE for late season hunts where I may be doing a lot of sitting. I also have Kuiu (mens) in a small size for my upcoming multi day fly in sheep hunt. So there are options out there for us it is just a matter of time to find the right fit for you.
Have you been personally been attacked by anti-hunters and how has this influenced you? Where do you believe such hate comes from and why do you think it is aimed at you in particular? What do you feel is the most appropriate response to such personal attacks?
Yes, I have personally been “attacked” by anti- hunters, in fact I recently had an anti-hunter interrupt my Spring Black Bear hunt on the coast of British Columbia. The area in which I was hunting was my Fathers guide territory from 1979- 2004. The bay in which I was hunting was in fact the bay I guided my first bear hunters in 2002. My family holds a great deal of history on the BC Coast as Outfitters. This anti hunter was very familiar with whom we were and her intentions were to stop an active legal hunt. This interaction only fueled my passion and dedication to hunting. It showed me that if we do not stand up for our hunting privileges; these anti groups will go as far as breaking the law to take them away. It is our job as Hunters and Conservationists to ensure our hunting privileges are here and plentiful for our next generation of hunters.
I feel my time is better spent strengthening a foundation for our future hunters then it would be trying to understand why anti hunters hold the hate they do for us. I know one thing is for sure, they will create story lines for their followers that are straight out lies. They will create drama in a non-dramatic situation and they hold no shame in lying to their uninformed followers. When the headlines read something negative about a hunter, I do not respond, I do not spend my energy trying to understand why the anti-hunters say what they say, I believe the appropriate response to these attacks are to ignore them and focus on what you know, what you believe in, and go hunting. This reaction benefits you and only leaves the antis with less drama to feed off of.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?
I am just a hunter, no different from any other hunter out there. I hold the same dedication, passion and goals as most other hunters. I am extremely fortunate to have been raised in a family where hunting is just what we do, it is a way of life. I hold a great deal of respect for the pioneers of our hunting industry and I am extremely thankful that I am in a place where I can carry and teach this family tradition to our next generation.