Leupold's Riza Lesser sat down with Michele Eichler and Rachel Ahtila live from the Leupold Optics booth at SHOT Show 2018 to discuss their passion for hunting and the outdoors. While each of these women have a different path that led them to hunting, they all share a common love for the sport and nature.
Rachel is a hunting guide from Canada who got her start when her parents sent her north at 11-years-old to pursue her horse career. She eventually worked her way up to be a hunting guide, getting her license at 18 to hunt moose in Alaska. Michelle, on the other hand, grew up in a hunting family, with her father founding the Muzzy Broadhead company when she was young. She went on to work for the company, married her husband, Fred Eichler, and now lives on a Colorado ranch with her boys. Leupold’s Riza didn’t start hunting until her late 20s when she started with the company. She quickly embraced the hunting lifestyle.
The women all recognized how fortunate they were to marry their passions with their occupations, giving them the opportunity to work with some incredible people. It’s for that reason they agreed that hunting isn’t a solo venture; it’s about the team surrounding you, pushing you to move forward. The three have found a great deal of encouragement from fellow women hunters, especially in an industry that can be so male-dominated.
Encouragement is a much-needed resource when failure is such a common part of hunting. It’s not unheard of to walk away empty handed after a week-long hunt, which is why Michelle made it a personal mantra to appreciate nature in all of its splendor, regardless of whether she fills her tag or not. All three women agreed that in the end, hunting is about so much more than the kill; to them, it’s about teaching morals to their children, ethical sourcing of food, and overcoming personal doubts and fears.