Reflecting on Mia Anstine’s best of 2019
Each year I intend to add one of those little notes about my family and our year, but with my many outdoor adventures, I don’t see how I can squeeze them into one page with a card. As I contemplate a letter, I fear that it’ll be consumed with my travels and treks, but how can I not share them? I hope they’ll inspire you to get out there to do more, learn more, and share more.
2019 has been a fun, fabulous, remarkable year. It started with cattle, critters, and snow, which were quickly followed by the Safari Club International convention, keynote speaking events, and SHOT Show.
In February we received our new friend Ombré, who is a miniature pony. He fit right in at the Funny Farm and has been a joy to have around, not only because he’s cute, but he’s the sweetest pony I’ve ever met. He even helped at the special needs ride. We welcomed a batch of calves, which have excellent protective mothers. I also wrote an op-ed about why universal background checks won’t prevent gun violence. That led to one of the key highlights of my year — I was invited by the GOP to speak on Capitol Hill!
In March I accepted a role as the Safari Club International Regional Representative for Colorado. It’s also the time of year when I became consumed with three weeks of hunter ed classes that I assist in teaching. Additionally, there is a ton of time and preparation that go into the Four Corners SCI Chapter’s banquet. It’s a busy month but one that I love because spring appears and we begin our Easter preparations.
In April my computer decided it should crash, and as you know crashes are never good. I managed to get it up and running, but I also struggled with my writing. The month was no less busy than those prior. I taught hunter ed in the 6th-grade class. I attend the Denver SCI Chapter’s banquet and began learning my position as Regional Representative. The month also brought scouting for turkey hunting season, teaching firearm safety to new shooters, some fun hunters, and one of the ever-favorite holidays — EASTER!
After Easter, I flew to Indiana for the NRA convention where I enjoyed the regular NRA Women’s Mentoring brainstorm session. I met a fellow YouTuber and his wife and daughter. I proudly presented the sweet young lady with a National Shooting Sports +One challenge coin. An exciting first while at the 2019 meetings was skipping the NRA Women’s Luncheon to go to the Institute of Legislative Action event where I sat in the second row and listened to our Nation’s President speak.
Amidst all of the excitement, I missed one of the best turkey hunts of the season. While I was away a father-son duo tagged a bird. Now we’ll see a father AND son hunting as the son had so much fun watching and helping his dad, he wants to hunt too.
In May, and immediately after returning from the NRA meetings, we went to Montana to help the daughter pack up her apartment as she finished her semester, her internship with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and before she headed off to intern with renowned photographer, Mary Peters. I was home only a day before I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota to represent the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) in the Amazing Rush. I made it home and jumped into the little car to head to Grand Junction, Colorado where I testified at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting regarding a proposal to ban bobcat trapping.
After being home a couple of days, I headed back up Glennwood Springs, Colorado for the Upper Colorado River SCI Chapter’s banquet. I came home to enjoy a little bit of spring. With an incredible amount of moisture this winter, we found blooms everywhere and discovered that we have a plethora of fruit trees. I enjoyed clearing and trimming around them as well as plucking wild asparagus in the back pasture.
We enjoyed watching bald eagle hatchlings from afar and got to watch four goslings (two of which survived) that our geese hatched all on their own. I managed to get a couple of days of turkey hunting in on a newly welcomed horse, Diesel. He did outstanding and we had fun in the mountains. In between it all, I helped teach hunter ed at the school.
As if there wasn’t enough excitement in May, KJ Houtman announced the launch of ‘Why Women Hunt,’ a book that features several women who hunt, including yours truly.
In June, and when I was home during the summer, I watched several rodeos which the daughter photographed. I spent as much time as possible enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, but I wasn’t home much.
The daughter and I took a road trip to Wichita, Kansas. We stopped in Dodge City to visit the Boot Hill Museum before arriving at the POMA conference. From there we headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico to help the grandparents pack and move but couldn’t stay for long as I had another fantastic adventure on which to embark.
Thanks to Swarovski Optik, I attended the Hunting Summit near Florence, Italy. It was my first time traveling to Italy and I appreciated a day of relaxation and touring the city. This isn’t something I’m often afforded. Normally on my work trips, I fly in, attend the event and fly out. I enjoyed a walking tour and then took a cooking class. The following day I headed to the summit.
While I was overseas, the Stop the Wolf Coalition launched a video where I shared feelings about why we don’t need wolves in Colorado.
After a week abroad, I made it home in time for the 4th of July celebrations then turned around and flew to Washington D.C. for the DC Project where I joined over 50 women in support of our second amendment rights. When I came home my husband and I had to drive to the Denver area to take one of our hounds to see a specialist — We lost Sampson on this trip, but there’s no slowing down. We came home and took a day to float the San Juan River for a much needed epic fly-fishing trip.
Next, I helped teach shotgun at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. That was quickly followed up by a few days at our shooting range and then the annual Wolf Creek Outfitters Special Needs Horseback Ride. We rounded out the month with the Four Corners SCI Chapter’s Youth Fishing Derby.
I can’t omit the fact that in June we were blessed with another addition to the Funny Farm. The kids rescued a ram lamb, which they named Wham. If you’ve been following my social media, you’ve surely seen posts of the cute little fuzz-ball who is no longer a lamb or ram. (Comment if you understand this rhyme.)
August included a ton of outdoor fun, exploring, horseback riding, paddleboarding, rodeos, concerts, welding projects, hunter education classes, plus scouting and setting camps for hunting season. We also helped with the Four Corners SCI Chapter’s 3D archery shoot, plus I attended the San Juan County Fair in New Mexico where I presented the 4-H Livestock group with a check for add-ons for each youth who sold in the auction. We rounded out the month at hunting camp in the high country of the San Juan Mountains where we worked to get the daughter her first archery bull.
In September H and I hunted for bear, but that didn’t last too long as we came across far too many sows and cubs. One sow even attempted to climb a tree where H sat in his stand. We opted instead to focus on working to help Lea tag and archery bull. We harvested fruit from the orchard and explored in between finally sharing the success of her fabulous bull.
With the elk hunt complete, the daughter and I headed to Loveland, Colorado where we watched a Bucker’s event, which the daughter photographed for a school project. We had fun rounding up longhorns from neighboring properties when we came home. Happy that the ladies were back on the correct side of the fence, I loaded up and trucked down to San Antonio, Texas for the NRA Women’s Leadership Summit. It’s an event I always enjoy and this year was no different.
I enjoyed a brain-storming session with friends regarding anti-gun conversation points. I visited the Alamo, and savored the inspiration that came from Governor Kristi Noem, Senator Ted Cruz, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and others. I left with a full heart and a hope that there are good people out there who will stand and support the second amendment.
October took me back to Texas with a pickup load of archery targets and equipment for the SheNeverQuit event in Normangee. This year I taught archery, turkey hunting basics, and elk calling. Again I made a whirlwind trip home, dumped my gear, and loaded up the Benelli Silver Pigeon and other gear to drive up to the Bluff’s Wingshooting lodge in Byers, Colorado for the Denver SCI Sable’s pheasant hunt. What a blast (pun intended)! October also involves rifle hunting in Colorado, which meant when I returned from bird hunting, my shotgun went into the safe and out came the 28 Nosler.
This fall saw much success. I tagged my deer in October then helped the daughter tag hers in November. I followed that up by calling in a bull — in November, which is unheard of — for H. He then helped our nephew take his first elk and his first mule deer buck. To say that we are blessed is an understatement. I’ve been enjoying creating many tasty recipes of which the deer and elk pastrami are my new favorites.
After big game hunting finished, I broke out the Charles Daly to head south and pursue quail. We’ve taken Gablel’s and Scaled Quail while enjoying beautiful days behind german wire-haired pointers in the sagebrush plains of New Mexico.
November and December brought traditional holiday baking, candy making, parties, and travel. Our wheels have been from northern Colorado to southern California and back to northern Colorado again. Each year I say that I’m going to slow down, but when I hear my calling and wherever God takes me I have to go. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope to continue to make a difference in the coming year. The calendar is filling, and I’m excited. I hope you’re as excited in all you do too.
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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, keynote speaker, and a range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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