by Johnny Mack
Hunting is hard. Flat out. It takes patience, courage, and grit. More often than not you are left with an unfilled tag in your pocket and a long walk back to the truck. So why do it? Why put in so much time, money and effort if percentages do not go in your favor? I know why I do it. I do it because the effort it takes to successfully harvest an animal is unlike any other feeling in life. Because with no risk there can be no reward. It is what makes hunting and harvesting your own meat so special.
Being new to hunting, I constantly second guess myself and have doubt about if I am doing the right thing, especially since I never had a mentor to bounce questions off of. It is my weakness. It is the internal battle that I struggle with when hunting. Have you ever had questions about what others would do in certain situations? Maybe you catch yourself not staying in the game mentally. I know I often do. I find myself double guessing a move or a plan of attack when I hunt. Whether you are new or experienced, hunting can be frustrating and defeating.
This series is meant to be a way to inspire, educate and motivate you when it comes to hunting. Hopefully the advice and insight shared by our guests can help you feel like you are not alone in your struggle against the wild, while you build confidence in your chase.
WBC: What is your name?
Lauren: Lauren Hill, well technically my married last name is Lesagonicz but I use my maiden name otherwise I would be constantly correcting people and no one would be able to email me!
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Lauren: I am from Poway, CA and is where I currently reside with my husband and 3 daughters. I grew up here and went back to Cleveland for my undergrad and to play basketball. Flip flops didn’t work so well with the snow so I moved back home after.
WBC: What is your day job?
Lauren: I am lucky. I work in an industry and a job I love. I am the Business Development Manager for Safari Club International. SCI is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt worldwide. It is an influential, pro-hunting and conservation organization with an office in Washington D.C. advocating for legal, regulated, and sustainable hunting. SCI has over 170 Chapters, full time policy experts, in-house legal counsel, and certified wildlife biologists.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Lauren: Sure do! I am married to a police officer and we have 3 daughters ages 12, 11 and 8. We also have a dog, cat, hamster, chinchilla and fish!
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Lauren: I was introduced to hunting at an early age. Well actually, not hunting in the traditional sense. Our family has a place in the Florida Keys and growing up we spent weeks down there every year. We dove for lobster and spear dived. This underwater hunting was what I loved doing. We searched, harvested and ate fresh food.
My father hunted locally and would bring home turkey, pheasant and mule deer. He wasn’t an International hunter until later in life, but we would always tag along and help after the hunt. When I was 16 we were fishing in Alaska and my Dad surprised me with a black bear hunt, which was my first big game animal. I liked it, however it really wasn’t until after college that I wanted to learn more and became much more actively involved.
WBC: Did you have a hunting mentor? What did you learn from them and or what did you want or wished to learn from them?
Lauren: My father was my hunting mentor, 100%. I live in Southern CA, so there really is no support system for these kinds of things. I was almost embarrassed as a young teenager because nobody else I knew liked to hunt, fish or shoot guns.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Lauren: My favorite and most memorable hunt has to be my first bowhunt. My Dad bought me a bow in 2015 and I have been hooked ever since. It’s much more acceptable to shoot your bow in your backyard vs shooting guns in San Diego.
In 2016 my Dad and I went hunting and I shot my first whitetail with my bow. I was so nervous, but all of the practice paid off!
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Lauren: Hands down, land access. I would love to hunt more often, but we live about an hour and a half away from where you could hunt and even that isn’t much area. This also makes scouting difficult. I would love to travel more to hunt, but I have 3 young daughters and a full time job with Safari Club International so my time (and time off) is limited.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Lauren: I always doubt myself. Am I prepared enough? Do I have the right equipment? Will someone else judge me if I mess up? I am always worried about wounding an animal. That’s probably top of the list.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Lauren: I am pretty flexible. I love having my own bow but any weapon I am familiar enough with, works. If I had to choose one, it’s probably my range finder. I am always striving for that clean, ethical shot and the rangefinder helps me do that.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Lauren: Anywhere there aren’t many snakes? Lol. I share a birthday with Indiana Jones and well, I. HATE. SNAKES as much as he does.
I love big game hunting. I enjoy all hunting, but there is nothing like hunting a big game animal. It’s in my blood. We process as a family too. Lots of Mom pride right there.
Terrain and location? I love the mountains but I don’t love the extreme cold. When bowhunting the cold can be a huge hurdle.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Lauren: You aren’t weird! Other women do it. I started a sportswomen’s group called ReelCamo Girl in 2015 to connect with other women who loved to do what I loved to do. Hunting is in our blood and should be celebrated. Unfortunately, anti-hunters love to find and tear into hunters, particularly women hunters. Resulting in young women sometimes being scared to share their hunt online. If we have safe online communities for them to share and be congratulated, they will do it again. Also, the hunting community can be just as bad. Often I see hunters tear each other apart. Bow vs Rifle, Self vs Guided, Free Range vs High Fence. To me it’s ALL hunting and should be celebrated as such. We have enough attacks from the antis…we certainly don’t need it from other hunters.
WBC: What is your favorite inspirational quote or verse?
Lauren: “You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life” – Paulo Coelho
WBC: Do you have a favorite social media page that inspires you to be a better outdoorsman?
Lauren: I have many…too many to list them all, but I will say that every single person I reached out to with a question, or asking advice always took the time to respond. That is one of the great things about this industry. The vast majority are truly great people.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Lauren: My personal pages are:
We want to thank Lauren for sharing her insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Lauren and what she does, be sure to follow along on her journey by checking out her social media accounts. Also don’t forget to check out SCI and everything they do for hunter’s rights.
If you enjoyed reading the article or can think of anyone that could benefit from the insight given, please share it with others. It is “OUR” job to continue the growth of the hunting and outdoor community. Be sure to invite someone to start hunting with you. You never know what type of impact it may have for them and their life. Remember, “Mentorship is Conservation” and you cannot out give good.
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