For the second time, a Spokane Valley woman is competing in a national hunting competition.
Jamie Belknap moved past the first stage of Extreme Huntress for the second time on June 1.
In 2017 she competed in the competition which judges hunters on physical skill, judges’ scores and a public vote. At that time Belknap lived in Idaho and represented the Gem State. However, since then she moved back to Spokane Valley where she grew up.
Last year Belknap finished in second place in the skills challenge and third place in online voting. Although the competition doesn’t announce overall finishers other than first place, Belknap thinks she probably finished in the top three.
Belknap, who grew up hunting, said the competition provides her with a platform to empower other women.
“I’m not doing this competition to become someone or to become famous,” she said. “My passion isn’t killing animals. It’s getting other people into the outdoors.”
Belknap said she’s particularly excited to make the cut this year because the competition features more international competitors. And this year the competition judges only selected four finalists, two less than in 2017.
“It kind of puts little Spokane on the map,” she said.
Belknap teaches third grade in Spokane Valley. Growing up hunting, she said, taught her how to be independent and self-sufficient.
One hunt in particular stands out in her memory. She was 19 years old and her father and her went hunting in Alaska. They were flown into the backcountry with a guide off the coast of the Augustine Volcano. For 12 days they hunted there. Within the first three days Belknap spotted, and shot, a bear across the bay from their camp.
However, because of a rising tide she was unable to get back to camp safely after shooting the bear. Her father, the guide and her all spent the night huddled under the bear’s pelt.
“I would say that hunt alone changed me because it taught me a lot,” she said. “I mean it’s one thing to go in your back yard and shoot a deer. But it’s another thing to be literally at a drop camp with nothing but what you brought in.”
Belknap believes those kind of experiences can empower women in ways few activities can.
Extreme Huntress is in its 10th year. The competition’s stated mission statement is “preserving our outdoor heritage” by empowering women to hunt. According to its website, if women hunt, children are more likely to.
“By preserving our outdoor heritage for future generation, we ultimately create more conservation stewards for wildlife and their habitat,” according to the website.
The four finalists will be filmed competing in Texas between July 28 and Aug. 4. Episodes will air online starting in October. Viewers can vote on who they think should win starting Nov. 15, with voting closing on Jan. 2, 2019. The winner of this year’s competition will announced in January 2019.
To learn more visit extremehuntress.com.