This month, we interviewed Haley Heath, host of Yeti's Ultimate Hunt on the Sportsman Channel. Haley was the first woman to ever receive "Viewer Favorite Personality" at the 2008 Sportsman Awards; Haley has participated in many outdoors and hunting programs. In 2006, she competed for ESPN's Ultimate Outdoorsman Search, coming in 2nd only due to her pregnancy.
Mother of two, Haley has always tried to share her knowledge and passion for outdoors and hunting with others. In fact this was the reason behind her involvement in TV. Her first show, "Family Traditions with Haley Heath," available exclusively on The Sportsman Channel, premiered in 2008.
Recognized for her passion and conservation, in magazines and new papers like AJC, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Washington Times, Haley plans to turn a sport once viewed as a privilege for the elite into an activity every member of the family can enjoy.
Huntress View: As a mother of 2 and host of Yeti’s Ultimate Hunt on the Sportsman Channel I’m sure you stay very busy! How do you balance work & family life?
Haley: Working in the outdoor industry for over 9 years, each year my roles and jobs seem to change! This year is no different! I am still hosting Yeti's Ultimate Hunt and now added two new positions. I am a partner/spokeswoman for a new company called Monster Buck Scents and a member of the Women of Weatherby. It is challenging at times to balance it all but I have and always will put my children's needs first. I schedule hunts and events around them and most of the time take them with me!! Luckily at this point in my career, I have more flexibility and it allows me to really be a hands on mother and have a job that I love! http://www.womenofweatherby.com/
HV: I see you are also an ambassador for the Sportsman Channel’s Hunt.Fish.Feed SM. Tell us a little about that and your role as ambassador.
Haley: I travel all over the US and Canada hunting and fishing and instead of bringing home the meat, I have always donated the meat to local families, churches or homeless shelters. With The Sportsman Channel Hunt.Fish.Feed program I can not only donate the meat to those in need but in many cases I go to the homeless shelter, prepare and serve the food. It is a great experience to know that my hard work can feed hundreds of people and I can be there to see them smile.
HV: You are a big advocate for introducing children and women to the outdoors. What do you feel is the best way to go about introducing someone to hunting?
Haley: Since I was a little girl I have always taken others hunting and fishing with me, because I felt and still feel like most people don't get the chance to see if they enjoy it. I grew up on my family's farm and most of the people I went to school with lived in neighborhoods and members of fancy Country Clubs. Girls/women have always found my love for the outdoors either fascinating or weird but luckily I was able to help many of them understand the outdoors! Once I became a mother I realized how important it was to keep the tradition alive and teach my children about the outdoors. Both my mother and father took me hunting and fishing growing up and taught me the love and respect for the outdoors that I have today.
The best way to introduce someone into hunting, in my opinion, is to invite them along to sit with you one day and just enjoy the outdoors and time together. Especially when taking a child for the first time, don't take the hunt too serious. Remember that a novice hunter doesn't know the non-scent shower/spray down routine, or staying extra quiet, or being very still routine that us long time hunters swear by! Make it fun and if you see something great but if not just enjoy your time while teaching them but be willing to not shoot if the newbie hunter isn't ready to witness that. Also, be ready to leave when they are ready even if it means at the "perfect time". The worst thing you can do is fuss at a new hunter or make them stay and be miserable in the stand.
HV: Do you enjoy seeing your children harvest an animal more so than harvesting one yourself?
Haley: I love seeing anybody I'm with get their animal but I especially love when my kids do! I would rather them be the hunter/huntress and me just be there as a witness in making a great memory! I have killed many of trophies in my career but my children, husband and friends getting theirs and me being a part of it is far more rewarding!
HV: Everyone has a good “first deer” story. What’s yours?
Haley: I started going hunting with my mom and dad at a very young age. I loved getting up and going to sit/sleep in the blind and see the mornings wake up. I really wanted to be the one hunting though so my dad taught me to shoot. I loved it and at the age of 6 years old with my dad and babydoll dressed in camo beside me, I shot my first deer, a basket rack 7 pointer and dropped him in his tracks!! And I haven't slowed down since!!
HV: Do you feel that, as a woman in the hunting industry, you face more criticism?
Haley: I'm not sure criticism is the correct word for it. I feel like half the industry is in full support of the rise in female hunters while the other is trailing behind seeing females as sex symbols and good marketing tools if they are "modeling" the products well. I have recently become a member of the Women of Weatherby which is a new group created to encourage, help with questions, product selection and so much more for the female hunters by real female hunters! It's wonderful companies and groups like these that are the true leaders in this industry to be the best not only male hunters but for female and youth hunters.
HV: It seems the question that women hunters are asked the most is “Why do you hunt?” Do you get asked this question a lot too, and if so, what would you consider the #1 reason that you hunt?
Haley: I do get that question from time to time. The number one reason I hunt is to enjoy God's greatest artwork in the sunrises and sunsets in each place I hunt. Seeing and hearing a morning wake up just as the sun is breaking, or enjoying the stillness, as most of creatures calm down for the night, as the sun sets. Getting the animal is just an awesome bonus!
HV: -Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview! We are honored to have you featured on our blog and admire you for being a great spokesperson for women hunters and always standing up for what you believe is right!