LWCF Story Challenge Results!

Artemis threw the gauntlet down and you picked it up!

For our LWCF Story Challenge, we asked you to tell a hunting or fishing story that took place on LWCF land. We asked you for a story that would make people stop for a second and see how LWCF – a landmark conservation act – impacts their lives. What we got were stories that moved us – sometimes to tears – about relationships built, lives changed, hearts healed, lessons  learned, beauty encountered, and sportswomen empowered on LWCF lands and water from Florida to Alaska. After much deliberation, we have chosen the top three stories. However, we are proud to share all of the stories  because each and every one represents an Artemis Sportswoman who has taken action to advocate for her lands, waters, and wildlife. We are humbled, inspired, and grateful. Thank you!

Click here if you want to do more to advocate for LWCF!

1st Place Winner – Kristy Filbin

We liked Kristy’s story so much, we asked her to change it into an op ed. Read Kristy’s letter here. Congratulations, Kristy, and thanks!

One of the most successful conservation programs over the last 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is set to expire at the end of this month. Honestly, I had no idea this program even existed until a few weeks ago – and now it’s going to go away?! We can’t let that happen.

2nd Place – Ashley Beyer

My LWCF story is about a successful hunt, not a successful harvest. Last year I was lucky enough to successfully draw an elk tag in the Gila National Forest. I was over the moon excited. After I calmed my excitement a bit, I realized this hunt would test my mind and body.

3rd Place – Christie Holmes

Opening day of archery season is almost here!! 🏹 I was born and raised in Downeast Maine, but I didn’t grow up hunting nor fishing. My family just doesn’t do it. I’m the black sheep.

Honorable Mention – Maddie Collins

This photo was taken at the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. This was the first time I went fly fishing with my very first fly rod! It was a really cold winter day and I was really doubting myself and ability to catch a fish, I was mostly just out there to practice my casting.

Thank you to all the amazing sportswomen who took the time

to share their stories!

The air hung thick on opening morning in East Tennessee. Fitted with my one-year anniversary present, I sat by my husband in our two-tree setup. I recently completed my hunter safety course and was officially experiencing my first day in a stand.

I took this photo last week as I stepped out of my tent in the Washakie Wilderness to get the coffee and woodstove going. I was mildly surprised by the snow and awesomely struck by the beauty of the moonlight on it.

When I pulled the rainbow trout into the boat, my 4-year-old niece sobbed. On shore, she stopped long enough to grab my wrist and give an ultimatum: “Aunt Jenny, say Thank You to the fish.” We gave our thanks.

My daughter had been fishing with us since she was born but usually that consisted of just playing in the water as we fished. This was the first trip where she did all of her own casting, setting and landing.

I was born and raised in Montana and I grew up hiking, fishing, hunting and traveling to National Parks. My family has always ventured out into the wilderness on public lands for their idea of adventure.

Like little camo-colored torpedos, ruffed grouse burst from the foliage in early senescence. Bending around the trees with freakish agility, my 20-gauge barely gets to my shoulder and the forest has already quieted and gone still following the covey’s departure.

I’m crouched in an awkward position behind an outcropping of boulders, rifle resting on a large rock. 150 yards away hides a 2×3 buck with his does. I’m looking through my scope at a blank grey slate.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has provided a lifetime of nurturing my love for the outdoors. For this reason my story cannot be made up of one single moment.

The Colorado morning was crisp and the mountain grass was tipped with frost when we set out on that days hunt. Bellies full of hot oats and a rough cup of coffee sustained us as our boots hit the ground in the vast San Juan range.

A few years ago, having just moved to Kansas from the big “public land state” of California, I was unsure about finding the wilderness, solitude, and ruggedness I’d taken for granted working on two National Wildlife Refuges in my old home state.

Traveling into the unknown this past weekend was so fun. I had a brook trout slip through my fingers twice, we stumbled upon a cougar skull, had a bugle interrupt breakfast, put the stalk on a couple dink bucks and jumped a big old bull.

I can’t pick just one LWCF funded place in Oregon, the number of places I don’t have memories of are far less than those that I do. I wasn’t raised a fisherwoman or a huntress.

My dad will be 78 years old this September. He would be the first to tell you that he was a creek rat. He spent his teens, and most of his twenties either canoeing down, or camping next to, Sugar Creek. He taught my brothers and I how to fish in Sugar Creek

Story telling time! When I was in middle school I was bullied and harassed by two of my peers, who had convinced some other students in my class to join in the fun and bully me too.

After 4 long hours of non stop spin fishing I was ready to give up and stop because of Colorado’s fall weather and cold bitter winds, until I hooked into something I thought was a big rainbow.

Have you heard of the LWCF? LWCF Stands for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I want to share why LWCF is so important to me as a hunter.

I feel the mortar and pestle of gravel beneath my boots as I wearily step out of the truck. Sleeping two of the last twenty-four hours has left me exhausted but the crisp mountain air refreshes my spirit.

October 15, 2017 my husband and I were hunting in Payette National Forest down an old Forest Service road. About a month prior I purchased by first bow, and made a promise to myself to only hunt big game with my boy until I had successfully harvested something with it. After several unsuccessful trips my hopes of harvesting anything with my bow started to die; after all, it was no longer the short-range weapon only season.

As a Colorado native, my dad made sure to get us out camping, fishing, or hiking.  I’ll admit that I didn’t love those long hikes, but at 14, he nudged me right into the deep end with all the expectations elk hunting requires of you. Suddenly, it was like he let me in on a secret world, and I found a way to truly connect with him for the first time.

I walked up the hill, my headlamp casting shadows on the young regenerating lodgepole pines. Before reaching my morning sit spot I turned off my light and let the darkness settle in. In a world seemingly void of light and sound I crept the last few yards to the place I hoped to sit and wait for a whitetail buck to cross my path.

“Crank one, babe” he whispered, motioning toward the sprawling valley below us. Our
shed hunt had quickly turned into a wild turkey stalk, leading us up a drainage and across the
pine-covered ridge. With each beginner’s attempt at my mouth call, an enthusiastic gobble erupted in reply.

My name is Rhonda Gomez and as a sportswoman, I am very thankful to have access to LWCF land. I hunt and fish in the great state of New Mexico. To me, hunting and especially fishing is more than just a sport.

It was November 29th, 2012 and it had snowed almost 8 inches overnight. I was hunting with my husband and his father in law that day. The three of us were dropped off separately on small beaches that were relatively close to each other but far enough apart that we each had our own area to hunt in.

Just two weeks ago, I had the trip of a lifetime to the Kenai peninsula in Alaska. We left for the airport at 0700, arrived in Anchorage at 1400, and were fishing on the Kenai river at Centennial campground by 1800.

My outdoors passion was born on LWCF land in the Sierra Nevada’s of California. I couldn’t get enough of hiking through the wilderness. After I moved back to a Northern California valley I found myself pushing myself further and becoming aware of my natural resources.

Having a big family of five kids and still being able to hunt and fish and to show our kids that it’s an honor to hunt for our own food. I’am beyond blessed that I, as a full time mom and all the support from my family I’m able to do all of this.

have been most fortunate to be able to access public land supported by the #lwcf . On 12/3/17 I went to public land in Kansas with a hunting buddy to get outside and get my mind off of the departure of my boyfriend for US Navy basic training.