Ambushed by Police-Car Moths at 10,800′

Last summer I giggled when someone told me that they thought butterflies and moths were going extinct. All you need to do is get outdoors and look around is what I told her. Lo and behold, this summer I’m finding the moths at home, which is at about 6,500′ elevation and in the mountains while at 10,800′!

 Each summer we scout for elk, get the horses in shape, and check to see if trails are clear of downed beetle-kill trees. No matter how many times I’m in the outdoors, be it flowers, bugs, mushrooms, wildlife, I’m always amazed at what I see. On a recent trip to the high country there were thousands of Police-Car Moths (Gnophaela vermiculata).

The moths were huddled all over, eating, the leaves of the the yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot flowers. The moths would take flight, ambushing us, as our horses or the dogs knocked the plants. It’s an amazing sight; one that is so admired, people actually pay for “farmed” butterflies to release during their wedding ceremonies. If you’ve ever seen that, it’s not nearly as spectacular as the flight of moths or butterflies in nature.

The Police-Car Moth, also known as the green lattice, is black with white patches amid the black veins. They are commonly found throughout most of Canada (from British Colombia to Manitoba), down into the western United States. In these areas the moths prefer damp, open, wooded areas located at mid- to high-elevations. They are slow flyers as they roam from flower to flower taking nectar.

Moths and butterflies are pollinators, but because of their long, thin legs, they’re less efficient than bees.

Differences in moths and butterflies:

  • Moths tend to rest with their wings open, and butterflies rest with their wings closed together .
  • Moths have fuzzy antennae while butterflies have long, thin antennae.
  • Although these moths are actively feeding during the day, most moths feed at night. Butterflies feed during the day.

What moths or butterflies have you spied this summer?

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What to do with Leftover Elk Steak | Elk Steak Quesadilla

I grew up with a respect for everything I received, and that meant that we didn’t waste anything. Over the years it’s been a challenge to get the family to eat leftovers. Not wanting anything to spoil, I learned to improvise.

In college I worked at a grocery store in San Diego. I worked in a lot of departments, and I learned about health codes. I’ll have you know, health codes are not respected everywhere. Today I still live by many of the rules, and that means that food items in the refrigerator have an expiration.

Something else I learned, way before college and San Diego, is that the best tasting game meat is dependent on how you place your shot and how you take care of the animal after it’s down. Watch the YouTube video below to learn more about those details.

Hunting is hard work, and the real work happens after an animal is down and the hunting license is notched. There is an amazing sense of accomplishment when we work hard for something. More people should learn about this concept these days. We hand too much to our children (and others).

After preparing, working out, camping, hiking, spotting, stalking, making the shot, field dressing, cooling down the meat, packing it out, packing camp out, getting the meat into the walk in cooler, cleaning our selves up, unpacking gear, cleaning gear, tending to horses, cutting meat, sealing meat, labeling meat, freezing meat… The list goes on.

Hunting for your own food is a lot of work. I don’t want an ounce of it to go to waste.

Back to the left overs.

When the daughter headed off to college, the number of mouths to feed obviously became smaller. That meant learning how to cook like a single mom again. It also meant that some of the meat we’d packaged, planning on more mouths, would be too much for two people.

You can’t unthaw only half of a package. I had to defrost the sealed bags as we’d prepared them. I also had to plan meals around them but without left overs.

You’d think with an empty nest, we’d have a lot of time on our hands. That isn’t the case. We became busier than ever. At times I had one meal cooked and another planned for the next day, but we wouldn’t make it home before dark. We’d eat on the run, and the plan would change, and food would spoil.

I became better!

Here’s the deal. Yes, the next animal I tagged I packaged differently, but I also cooked differently. I made the regular size batches of pazole, tortilla soup, carnitas, steaks, and so on. I learned to freeze the left overs and use them when we were in a pinch for a dinner idea when it’s too hot out or when we didn’t feel like cooking.

Cook up your meal, serve enough for your family members, and after it’s cool freeze the remainder in applicable sized portions.


You’ve created your own TV dinners. I’ve done this with all sorts of meals and with the fixings for them. If you’re making fajitas, cut up all of the bell peppers and onions. Use only what you need for who’s there. Freeze the rest in a zippered freezer bag (peppers all in one bag, onions in another). If you have leftover steak, do the same thing. Slice it, dice it, or chop it, and put it in a freezer bag. The next time you’re thinking, “We don’t have anything to eat” you’ll be able to grab, dump, season and go.

I know that sometimes the meat isn’t the “proper cut” for the meal, but HEY! We spend too much time working on perfection. (This coming from a perfectionist! Oh my — Perfectly imperfect, I am!) If you don’t have the strips you’re “supposed to have” for fajitas, it’s okay.

If that’s not okay with you, here’s another quick and easy recipe, whick may have been the first thing I learned how to cook.

ELK STEAK QUESADILLA (Using leftovers)

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Serves: 2


2 – 12″ Flour tortillas
2 – 1/2 Cup shredded Mexican cheese
1 – 8 oz. elk steak, cooked and diced (Thawed)
1 – Small avocado
2 – Tablespoons salsa
1 – Pat of butter
Dash of salt


Add half of a pat of butter to and preheat a comal (flat cast iron skillet) on medium heat. After the pan is hot and the butter is melted, lay one tortilla on the pan. sprinkle half of your cheese on that tortilla making sure to get as close to the edges without spilling over the side. Spread your diced steak on top of the cheese. Leave this to heat and go peal and dice your avocado. Sprinkle the avocado on top of the cheese and meat. Use a spoon to sprinkle the salsa around on top of the other ingredients, then sprinkle the remainder of the cheese. Again, take care to get the ingredients evenly distributed and as close to the edge as you can. Place the second tortilla on top of your stack of ingredients. Press it down and then spread the remaining portion of butter on top of that tortilla. Sprinkle it with salt. Check the bottom tortilla. When it’s turning golden-brown, flip your entire quesadilla over. Sprinkle the top with salt. Allow it to cook until the now bottom tortilla turns golden brown. Use a a chef’s knife to cut the quesadilla into pizza-shaped slices. Serve the slices while they’re hot.

Note: I always encourage people to make recipes their own and one of the good things about a quesadilla is just about anything goes. Some ideas of things you can add are beans, lettuce, sour cream, shrimp, mushrooms… Hey! You can throw you fajitas in there. Add what you love.

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Special Needs Horseback Rides Bring Smiles

Riders, volunteers, and even horses are smiling

In between teaching shotgun at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend and helping at the Youth Fishing Derby in Pagosa Springs Wolf Creek Outfitters (WCO) hosted the special needs children of Pagosa Springs for the annual horseback ride.

Each year our team gives the kids the opportunity to watch, pet, lead, and if they desire, ride a horse. This is a day the WCO team and our friends look forward to each year.

Twelve children along with their instructors and a couple of parents arrive for the big day. The morning begins with adjustments to boots and cowboy hats, followed by greetings and instructions. Then everyone meets the horses.

Many of the children have been to this event in the past and are comfortable around the horses. Others take a little warming up. Then before you know it they are off on a ride.

We start off with our team of volunteers leading the children via horseback on short rides around the arena. For those who are up to it, and capable, they’re handed the reins and get to be in the “driver’s seat.”

We also make it a point to try to get the instructors and volunteers a-horseback. After all, why should these children ride if the adults won’t? This year we had two of the group’s instructors or leaders, who’d never ridden before, take a ride.

This year we also have a new addition to this special day. Loud, “OOOHs, AAAHs, and WOW’s” were heard as Ombré the pony led out for his grand introduction.

Ombré proudly packed around a few of the smaller, more timid children. One of these only rode once, but had Ombré not been there she may have not ridden at all.

Each year it seems there’s at least one who doesn’t want to hop on a saddle. Don’t worry. We put them right to work. They get to smile, wave, and cheer in support of their friends. Some of the more brave ones learn to lead the horses too.

Another youngster, who is deaf, climbed atop Cowboy (aka., Mr. Man) and rode the entire time. Having been to this special event before, he wasn’t getting down from the horse until it’s time to go.

At WCO we are honored to be a part of such a great event. It’s rewarding to meet these great youngsters and to have them back year after year. The horses love them too. It’s amazing how they have a sense of who they’re packing around and know they need to take care of their riders.

We’re proud to have such a great team of horses that take care of this precious cargo and a fantastic group of volunteers who find it rewarding to give back to this special group of people.

We know they all find great reward in this day, but we’d also like to give a huge thanks to our volunteers, Terry Eschelman, Jordan Lindsay, Lea Leggitt, Laura Jacobson, and Tucker Jacobson.

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Coping with the Stress of Losing an Animal

In my latest newsletter I discussed stress, coping with it, managing it, and learning from it. I mentioned that we all have stress in our lives, and … well, I may have inadvertently invited some into my life because it’s been a heck of a week.

Fist off, someone said, “You look like you just lost your dog.” Have you ever made that comment to someone? Because in fact, I did just lose one of my dogs. If you’ve never met me in person, or if you haven’t spent much time with me, you won’t know that I don’t have a poker face. When I “lost my dog” this Tuesday, the sentiment was shown from the core of my being.

Here at the Funny Farm we have lots of animals, and no matter how many I’ve had it’s never easy to lose one. I’m a hunter and because of it have been called cold, mean, heartless, and animal hater among other falsities. One thing I am is a person that loves animals.

Dear Sampson, Run like the wind big buddy! You are missed.

Let me start with a line up of the crew here. We have: 24 horses, mules, mustangs and a pony; three goats; seven geese; nine ducks; ten chickens; a turkey; an emu; and now we have six dogs.

Of our hunting hounds, who love to pursue all sizes of the feline persuasion we have Fat Tire (15-years-old), Reba (13-years-old), Freaky (13-years-old), and the late Sampson (7-years-old). Look at that, would you? “The late” Sampson is the youngster of the bunch. He’s the offspring of Fat Tire and Reba. He’s a gorgeous black and tan, and suffered from chronic ear infections.

We spent multiple years and a variety of treatments dealing with his ears. This winter he suffered a massive weight and energy loss. Again we visited the veterinarian for help. His blood work looked good. His ears — not too bad, for him. He received medication, vitamins and extra nutrition and never gained any weight but did display a bit of energy.

This spring I found a burst abscess behind his jaw. We took him in and the vet performed two surgeries in an attempt to find a foreign object, which was believed to have caused the infection. The surgeries were not successful as the infection continued to ooze from the site. I asked if it could be from his ears, but that fell on deaf ears (pun intended). Sampson was put on a different antibiotic, and then a more powerful one, and then “the most powerful” antibiotic. The infection persisted.

After two surgeries, additional vet appointments, tests, cultures, and scans we were directed to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins (seven hours away). The office is one of the best in the state, and for our sweet hound who’s withering away, it gave us hope.

We loaded our boy up and made the trek. Family and friends asked, “Are you prepared for the worst?” to which we answered, “Yes.”

Sampson was in good spirits. He’s a kind loving hound. Always willing to go the extra mile. What we didn’t really understand is just how tough of a hound dog he is, and how severely the infection — FROM HIS EAR had gotten. As I had queried some months ago, the abscess was from the ear infection. The infection was great, and he’d already been on months of antibiotic treatment.

After attempts at scoping inside his ear, and after a CT scan, we learned that the infection was vast. They could perform surgery, but there’s no definite answer as to how they would prevent another infection. In the delicate area of nerves and brain tissue, it would be difficult to clean it all out.

We had to make the decision, which we thought we were prepared for but we’ve never had to make before.

As much as we want to keep our happy hound with us forever, we couldn’t allow him to continue to suffer. It’s been a tough few days, and we came home with an empty kennel and a new hollow space in our hearts.

When I mentioned stress above, I said, “first” and that’s because there is a second. Secondly, my MacBook Pro has taken a crash. It has to go in for a new hard drive. I’ll be back soon to share an update with you about my recent trip to Washington, D.C. with the DC Project. For now, I’m working to keep up with work, my commitments to volunteering, and I’m headed out to enjoy time with my family and deal with the stress.


  • Know that they aren’t ours forever.
  • Love them while you have them so you don’t have regrets.
  • Do everything in your power to keep them healthy so you don’t question yourself later.
  • Hug your loved ones and accept their sympathies.
  • Let your other animals console you.
  • Take some time to reflect.
  • Don’t be afraid to cry your eyes out.
  • Honor them with a burial.
  • Remove their empty house if it calms the emptiness.
  • If need be, get another pet but know that no pet can ever replace the one you have. They’re never the same but fill the emptiness in a different way.

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2A Colorado Girl in DC – DC Project

Not long ago I shared information about a fundraiser event for the DC Project. This is my first year to be able to squeeze it into the schedule, but I visited our Nation’s capital as a Colorado delegate for the group.

Over 50 women descended on Washington DC, coming together to support one another as we visited our Congressmen and Senators in support of our Second Amendment.

Founded in 2015, the nonpartisan D.C. Project Foundation gathers women of all ages and backgrounds from every state in the country to Washington, D.C. where they meet with legislators on Capitol Hill, share their stories of Second Amendment advocacy, and build a bridge of communication on behalf of all gun owners.

In February a friend and I visited Colorado’s Senate and House representatives. With just the two of us, and without appointments, we weren’t given much attention. This time it felt good to have appointments and a team of like-minded women beside me.

Being placed on teams with women from other states we were able to share views and experiences with one another’s law makers, their aids, and/or staff.

As a non-stereotypical face of gun owners, we had positive and meaningful conversations in many offices. Although I don’t feel as though I changed any of the non-gun liking law-makers’ minds, we did move the needle.

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Hunting Summit 2019 by Swarovski Optik

As a writer I’m often blessed with days of getting my hands on the latest greatest products. Occasionally that includes fabulous adventures. Last week I partook in both as I attended Swarovski Optik’s Hunting Summit.

The Hunting Summit is an event of which I’ve followed in the past as I’ve used the tried and true ‘Swaro” optics for years. I follow their social media with a fondness and last year became intrigued by the shares from the Hunting Summit — I never imagined that I’d be lucky enough to attend.

This year’s Summit took place in Italy, which is a country I’ve never had the chance to visit. After accepting the invitation I decided I’d better add a day to get acclimated to the time zone and to tour around. Flying into Florence is a breeze as the airport is on the small side, and grabbing a taxi proved to be no challenge at all.

After a nice siesta I decided to take a walk to take in some sights and to find a nice meal. Of course, I did just that. A refreshing lemonade and avocado sandwich hit the spot after a day of traveling across the Atlantic. I nosed around a bit after dinner, finding the square and enjoying some music. Before long I made my way back to my room as I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour and get on the Tuscany time schedule.

Hotel breakfast is always fabulous in Europe, nothing like what we avoid here in the states. I eyed the pastries, tarts, pies, and cutlets but opted for fresh fruit and yogurt with a water and a cup of coffee. — Oh my! That coffee was divine, as was the setting and the view of the tourists who hustled in and out, never stopping to enjoy themselves.

I did a little writing as I sat and observed the hustle in the dining room. Then I began a stroll to the square I’d found the prior day as I had a walking tour to attend. It’s amazing to view the architecture and hear stories about the people, groups, and locations I’d learned about in school. I took over a hundred pictures, but one I shared on my own social media was on a bridge, and YES, the river does have fish! I learned about this at the Hunting Summit!

HECK! Back to the Hunting Summit!

After a day of touring Florence I got a good night’s sleep, again enjoyed the breakfast experience at the hotel and then met up with the Hunting Summit group to proceed to our location for events.

The group of attendees included writers, editors, publishers, competitors, influencers, commentators, tv show hosts and more. We had time to visit and get to know one another. I learned that they were form all over Europe, South Africa, and I would be the sole American. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Thank goodness I’d taken some time to get rested and acclimated because at our orientation meeting we were given watches with heart rate monitors. We were informed that we’d be spending the next two days focusing on an experience of shooting under stress. 

As a hunting guide I’ve experienced many times when a hunter arrives and has only shot from a bench or lead-sled. They haven’t practiced real life scenarios, and definitely haven’t planned for the adrenaline they’ll likely have during a hunt. They sometimes have shots that miss their mark and blame their equipment.

There are three factors that can throw our shots off. Yes, our equipment is one, the environment and ourselves are also to blame. Can you guess that many people never add that last factor to the list?

Heading into this Hunting Summit, I’d be using new equipment, but they gave us time to get to know our scopes, ammunition, and rifles. We’d be shooting under stress in over 100 Fahrenheit weather, topped with a huge amount of humidity. — Yes, the environment would cause this arid climate accustomed Colorado girl some stress. I’d also be shooting among about 25 strangers. To top that off, we’d be presented timed challenges including mind games.

*For safety purposes, all challenges were shot from a prone position. We shot Steyr rifles topped with the NEW Swarovski Z8i scope and used Norma Bond Strike ammunition in .308 Win.

After being put through stressed challenges, we’d have the opportunity to assess our heart rates and reflect on what did or didn’t do well.

The first challenge involved simple math (5+2= ___ for example) followed by our shooting a target at 100 meters. We’d be time in hitting the numbers in the order we received them, (5, then 2, then 7). Sounds easy right? Well, sorta. I mean, you do want to win, don’t you? 

My equation was 10-4=___. I looked at the card. They flipped it upside-down. I looked through the scope, located the 10 and shot it. As I located the ten, I saw the four but knew in the back of my mind there was no 14. — YES. My mind played a trick on me and I fought it. I knew the numbers only went to ten, but my heart raced as I shot and missed the 4, disappointed myself and searched for the fourteen and at the sometime knew I needed a six. I located, shot at and missed the six. WHEW! 

Did I mention penalties for misses? Yep. The thought of penalties adds stress too.

Other challenges included shooting at over 200, 300, 400, and 500 meters. We’d be timed as our range master pointed to a color target on a chart and we’d locate and shoot. For another challenge we were paired off agains another attendee. We ran down and up a hill for 100 meters, then lay prone to shoot those targets. I’m pleased to tell you that although I don’t run well, I do shoot well with an elevated heart rate.

I learned to manage my stress, trust my equipment and read the environment in a matter of moments all while gently pressing the trigger and hitting all of my targets. After all’s said and done, I ended up being 7th overall in the competition.

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Touring, Writing, Conferencing, POMA

I’ve been on the road and neglecting my updates, starting with a trip to the annual Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) conference, it’s time to catch up!

The daughter and I took a road trip and made a nine-hour drive a bit longer by stopping to see some sights along the way. Do you ever stop to check things out during your travels?

We both love the wild west and history, so we stopped at Boot Hill in Dodge City, Ks. The museum is a great one, and if you’re into history lessons we highly recommend checking it out. As far as the afternoon shoot-out, we could take it or leave it. It’s a bit hokey, and the actors definitely don’t try tom make it look anything close to real or legit. — Just sayin’. Regardless, we had a ton of fun along the way.

Once we met up with our colleagues in Wichita, the fun and work began. I’ve been a member for over a decade. I first joined the organization as my writing career began to bloom because I wanted to learn more about the “rules” of the industry. POMA and its members have filled those needs and beyond.

Over the years I’ve met so many people in the industry who’re willing to help me grow, teach me the ins and outs, be sounding boards and help me connect with others. POMA fit the bill then and it keeps giving into the present.

This year Toyota provided Lea with a scholarship to attend the conference. If you’re interested in applying, reach out to our managers at the POMA website.

A couple of years ago a couple of industry friends nominated me to run for a seat on POMA’s board of directors. I’ll admit, at first I hesitated. Then I paused and thought, “So many people in this organization have helped me. It’s time for me to give back to this venue.”

That’s what we do, right? We have to always give back, and we have to be mentors. I ran and was voted onto the board and have worked to spread the message that this is a great organization. I’ve also worked to look for great locations for our annual conference.

See my article about the Amazing Rush in Rapid City.

POMA’s annual conference is a time to network, attend breakout sessions, view and get our hands on partner corporation’s products. The Sportsmen’s Alliance and I hosted a roundtable where we brainstormed about our messaging toward non-hunters in regards to hunting.

We heard from industry supporters and peers, and made new contacts in the industry. I look forward to the relationships that are developed from this single one-week conference.

Many thanks to this year’s Professional Outdoor Media Association conference sponsors!

Alabama Black Belt Adventures
Allen Company
ALPS Outdoorz
Birchwood Casey
Buck Knives
Case Knives
Crossbreed Holsters
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
BPI – CVA/Bergara
Ducks Unlimited
Mississippi Tourism
Mossy Oak Scholarship
Mossy Oak
Real Avid
Ridge Road Outdoors
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Roeslein Alternative Energy
Sellmark Scholarship
Sure Shot Game Calls

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For the Outdoors Dad – Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I hope you’re lucky enough to have the need to look for a perfect father’s day gift for your outdoorsy dad. I used to enjoy the smile on my dad’s face when I found the perfect gift for him. I no longer have the pleasure of this endeavor, but I’d like to share some of the things that hit the mark with him and items that others said they like, want, or need.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Click the links to be taken to the ideas pages on my affiliate page.

The best gift you can give someone else is your time and undivided attention. Put the devices away and be present. Happy Father’s Day.

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Support the Women Traveling to D.C. | DC Project

Next month I’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. with the women of the DC Project. The DC Project Team Match is going to be run this weekend. The funds raised from the event will be used in support of the women who will be traveling to meet with their legislators on Capitol Hill.

It’s open to the public, and we encourage you to get tickets and join us. What better way to help the D.C. Project Foundation raise funds to help women champion the Second Amendment on Capitol Hill than good old-fashioned trigger time?”

D.C. Project Foundation founder and professional shooter Dianna Muller

The DC Project Team Match, Raising Funds for Second Amendment Advocacy

Match Supports Women Traveling to D.C. for Meetings on Capitol Hill

Tulsa, OK, U.S. – (June 4, 2019) – Firearms enthusiasts and competitive shooters from across the U.S. are preparing for the D.C. Project Team Match to be held June 7 through 9 at the Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, Texas. The two-person, team match is a fundraiser for the D.C. Project Foundation, and will feature John “Tig” Tiegen, and Jerry Miculek as competitors.

In addition to the match, a “BANGquet” is scheduled for Friday, June 7 with live-fire opportunities including machine guns starting at 3 p.m., and a 6 p.m. dinner with entertainment, raffles, and a live auction featuring firearms and shooting gear.

Founded in 2015, the nonpartisan D.C. Project Foundation gathers women of all ages and backgrounds from every state in the country to Washington, D.C. where they meet with legislators on Capitol Hill, share their stories of Second Amendment advocacy, and build a bridge of communication on behalf of all gun owners.

According to D.C. Project Foundation founder and professional shooter Dianna Muller, “The weekend kicks off on Friday with full-auto fun, immediately followed by the BANGquet. It’s open to the public, and we encourage you to get tickets and join us. What better way to help the D.C. Project Foundation raise funds to help women champion the Second Amendment on Capitol Hill, than good, old-fashioned trigger time?”

Friends and sponsors from the shooting industry have contributed a lot to this fundraising event, said Muller, and “everyone who participates will go home with fun memories, and possibly some impressive firearms and shooting gear. We’ve got raffle and auction items from BenelliF-1 Firearms LLCHIPERFIREKahr Firearms GroupMagpul Industries Corp.STI InternationalStreamlightUberti USA, and many more!”

“When we visit Washington, D.C. every summer to express our support and reverence of the Second Amendment, we volunteer our time and our dimes,” Muller explained. “Our fundraising goal is to cover the lodging fees for the D.C. Project participant’s July 2019 trip. It’s such a big financial commitment from the women to travel there and meet with our legislators in terms of both cost and time.”

“We strive to present the diverse faces of American women who own guns to our representatives, plus help educate them as to why gun ownership is as important as ever to women,” Muller added.

Check out the Match Facebook page to see some of the auction and raffle items, and visit www.dcproject.infoto purchase tickets to the BANGquet. For more information about the D.C. Project, please visit To make donations, please visit

About the D.C. Project Foundation – The D.C. Project Foundation is an educational and bipartisan effort of 50 women, one from each state, meeting legislators on Capitol Hill as gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. Each summer more than 50 women of various ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities spend four days meeting with members of the Unites States Senate and House of Representatives to advocate for the Second Amendment as female gun owners on behalf of all Americans.

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