A Cranbrook woman is vying to be named Extreme Huntress 2015.
Nikita Dalke is one of 20 semi-finalists in the competition that looks for a female hunter who will be a role model for other women who participate in hunting.
“The Extreme Huntress is of course a woman that hunts, but hunts hard and puts lots of passion and effort into it and truly loves the sport,” said Nikita. “(She) also understands the importance of hunting for the management and conservation of our wildlife. She would be someone that supports all hunters and helps promote women being outdoors and getting kids involved as well.”
Online voting for the semi-finalists will continue until the end of May, and then the six finalists with the highest number of votes will win a ticket to the 777 Ranch in Dallas, Texas, where they will compete for the title of Extreme Huntress 2015. The contest, which is held in July, will pit the six women against one another in a hunting skills competition.
The Extreme Huntress is the fete of a banquet at the Dallas Safari Club, and receives a sculpture and prize package.
“It could possibly open a lot of doors for me in the hunting industry as well,” said Nikita.
The Cranbrook woman, with two kids aged six and three, grew up competing in dressage and showjumping competitions. Her grandmother hunted and would take Nikita out when she was young, but it wasn’t until Nikita met her husband Kyle in 2005 that she started hunting herself.
“Our whole lifestyle is around being outdoors: camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and archery,” she said. “Hunting is a family activity for us; my husband hunts and we take our two kids out with us as much we can.”
The East Kootenay is an idyll for hunters, Nikita went on.
“There is great opportunity here to hunt animals that people can only dream of! Anything from turkey and small game to bighorn sheep and mountain goat – we have it all. And the scenery we have is to die for!”
Last year, Nikita met Extreme Huntress judge Olivia Nalos Opres in Kalispell, Montana, and it spurred her to enter the competition.
“I had originally thought the contest was more for women that have hunted all over the world, but after talking to Olivia she assured me that that was not what the contest was about and that it was more about being a hunter that would be a good role model for other women and children,” said Nikita.
That fits her, Nikita went on.
“I have stood up against a lot of anti hunters to help support fellow hunters and to defend myself and my lifestyle.
“I love teaching my kids everything I know and helping to guide them.”
She tells people that hunting is important to her because it provides healthy meat, it keeps wildlife populations at healthy levels, and it teaches good values.
“It teaches you important skills like survival, patience, ethics and humility,” she said.
You can vote for Nikita at www.extremehuntress.com/vote and on the Extreme Huntress Facebook page.