Lori Craft, “Wild TVs” Miss Huntfest 2011, Bags National Competition
By Jim Lavoie
When Lori Craft was made aware that “Wild TV”, a specialty television channel, was hosting an on-line national competition to crown the inaugural “Miss Huntfest 2011” she decided to enter. Little did she know that less than a month later she would be the proud recipient of the title.
The contest was conducted via the “Wild TV” website and anyone interested had to provide a photograph, a biography, and all personal involvement or accomplishments in the outdoors. These were then placed on a group page and open to the general public to cast their vote (one vote per person).The entry requirements were simple but not the competition as 31 women, from eastern Nova Scotia to British Columbia, took aim at the title. 2 weeks later the list was pared down to the final 4 top vote getters with New Brunswick’s Lori Craft claiming the title of “Miss Huntfest 2011.”
“It was a pleasure being able to represent my province in this contest”, an elated Craft stated. “What a great honor to win this contest open only to Canadian women involved in the outdoors.”
Equally proud of her title was Terry Fullerton, Owner of Bet-ter Buy Sports (Saint John and Moncton) where Craft works part time. “It is great to see Lori win the title as she truly knows her stuff, and has great poise and people skills with her interactions with our customers.” Said Fullerton. “We have only opened recently and she is a great asset to my store and if she is so inclined, I can see her doing major things in this type of business or line of work.”
Jim had the chance to discuss the contest and the title, with Lori Craft recently.
Jim: How important was it to you that this contest not be some kind of stereotypical put-down of women as serious outdoors people?
Lori: I am a serious and trained hunter, and in fact I am a guide for both fishing and hunting. This contest was not a Babes in Bikinis with Guns farce but the chance to show that women are an important component of the hunting fraternity.
Women in the outdoors in North America are the largest growing demographic in the continent. In prior times, women out hunting was a taboo type thing, whether it be the “tom boy” persona, “women aren’t welcome” or hunting is a ‘mans job”. I am thrilled to see more women being liberated to get out there, enjoy our resources, and harvesting animals in a responsible manner, be it alone, with their family or friends.
I dedicate a good portion of my life to the outdoors, hunting, fishing, volunteering on the board of directors for the Hammond River Angling Association, member in good standing of The Atlantic Salmon Federation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Delta Waterfowl.
It was excellent to see so many women in the outdoors in Ontario and Alberta, and spanning across North America. It liberates me to know I am not alone in my passion for nature and conservation.
Jim: So when did you get started in hunting and fishing and why? What do you enjoy most about fishing/hunting?
Lori: I was about 7 or 8 years old and it started off with me tagging along with my older brother Roy for grouse and rabbits. Being underage I couldn’t partake in the harvesting of animals, but was interested in the sport. Roy would always answer juvenile questions that I would ask over and over again out of curiosity. I can vividly remember my first fishing trip to a Beaver Pond close to my home in Prince of Wales and the large Musquash watershed. I very rarely caught any fish, but I was in my glory just being outside watching the wildlife and environment around me. The bond that it created with my brother and I; that is still present 20 years later.
Jim: You won “Miss Huntfest 2011” recently. You were notified you had won the title so, what happened next?
Lori: I was notified live via online face book page, and of course by phone officially after the voting ended. I was then provided details on the two conventions/exhibitions I would be attending courtesy of Wild TV as “Miss Huntfest.”
I was flown to Toronto Ontario, July 21-24th where Ontario Huntfest was held at the Orangeville Agriculture Association in Orangeville, Ontario. Ontario was in the middle of a record breaking heat wave that week, exceeding humidex temperatures of 48 C. There I had the pleasure of personally meeting, Tim Wells of the US based TV show “Relentless Pursuit” and Jason Peterson of the show “Hunting Canada and Beyond”. I was invited by Mr. Wells to be part of his 2012 show season in Illinois. I had the pleasure to make lots of great like minded friends, and industry contacts that I still talk to on a regular basis.
From August 4th-9th, I was once again part of a Huntfest Exhibition only this time in Edmonton, Alberta. This was the same type of show but in a much larger venue. I met many more hunting celebrities, including the Beasley Brothers of “Canada in the Rough”, Helgie Edymunson, Ryan Kohler, and Scott Stirling of “The Edge” and the whole Alberta based crew from “The Real Canadian Joes” who delighted me when I learned they included a female on their hunting staff!
I was humbled to have the experience of autographing a compilation photo put together by the staff of “Wild TV” for the Edmonton Huntfest due to the interest gained about me in Ontario. I was also invited on stage partaking in interactive presentations by the guest speakers at both venues. During this time, much to my surprise, I was informed that I was to be a guest star on “Wild TV” hit television show “The Edge” hunting show.”
Jim: You work in a sporting goods store Bet-ter Buy in Saint John, so this keeps you in the loop on equipment/events. You mentioned something about someone coming up for a hunt from the US. Do you intend to expand on your guiding and certainly winning this title would be an excellent promotional tool?
Lori: I work at “Bet-ter Buy Sports” part time, we have been open for 4 months now, and what a great response to the store. I enjoy interacting with local like-minded outdoors enthusiasts, of all ages and genders. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of conservation and listening to hunting and angling stories no matter how far-fetched they may be.
I have a few friends planning to hunt with me this season; most recent would be Bryan Hughes of Backwater Outdoors and “RollinBones” TV to do a filmed Bow Bear hunt in the Musquash area. Also the crew from “The Real Canadian Joes” television show is coming up for a late season sea duck hunt on the Bay of Fundy.
I do have my guide’s license, but do not plan on expanding on any professional service. I enjoy the outdoors, and plan on being out as much as I can, but also enjoy introducing non-residents and youth to our forests and marshes, but do this simply for pleasure and not for hire.