They always say the best things in life happen when you least expect it.

IMG_2032Born and raised exploring the Land of Enchantment, my siblings and I grew up camping, fishing, hunting, and learning to love the outdoors. My dad’s job led him to every state park New Mexico had to offer and when he liked a place, you can bet he made sure we got to enjoy it too.  My mom’s family history consisted of many memorable times spent at one of the best lake houses I can remember on Heron Lake in beautiful Chama, N.M.

I remember all of my cousins, uncles, and my dad looking through the proclamation every year. They would study the best units for the best hunts and decide the best time of year to harvest. I was enrolled in a Hunters Education class the day I was old enough and strong enough to pick up a gun by myself.

My mom and dad both accompanied me on my first mule deer hunt at the ripe old age of 8. Luck was in my favor that weekend, and after the same spiked horn buck gave me three opportunities, I finally remembered to turn the safety off and made a clean shot at about 70 yards with a .243 I had been practicing with at the gun range for weeks prior.

After having a successful once in a lifetime Oryx hunt and one more mule deer harvest in my teens, and an exciting and successful 6×6 bull elk harvest with my muzzleloader at age 19, I pretty much gave up on hunting anything other than varmints. One time I even got to shoot coyotes from a helicopter with a shotgun.

My journey through life continued as I moved to Texas, graduated college, started pursuing a gainful career and fell in love. With love came a guy who loves the outdoors as much as I do. One day I was tagging along as he visited some of the accounts he manages for the boot company he works for, and we walked into a gun and outdoor gear store. I was pondering the purchase of a handgun and taking the concealed carry course….Instead, I walked out with a curiosity that led to what is now something I am extremely passionate about.

While Jay visited with the store manager/buyer, I asked the guy behind the counter if I could shoot a bow. I had never shot one before and wanted to see what all the hype was about.  He set me up with the bare minimum, my draw length was wrong and the bow was not balanced, nor did it have a sight. I shot about three arrows from approximately 10 yards, put it down, and thought to myself, “I could get into that.”

When we got back in the car, I told Jay I liked shooting the bow and wanted to try it again. The next weekend was Valentine’s Day and guess what I got…yep, my very own PSE Stinger and six arrows! I shot every day and started asking a lot of questions about what you can do with a bow besides hunt. After some research and hearing a couple of people, including Jim Favor of Gateway Archery in Stephenville, Texas, talk about 3D Archery shoots, I found the closest one and we went. We have shot a tournament every weekend since then, and it’s now July. Plus, I have already upgraded equipment and now shoot an Elite Spirit.elk_standing

The first weekend I went to the shoots I missed four of the 30 targets and scored extremely low. The second shoot I missed one and shot a little higher score. At the next shoot I didn’t miss any. At that point in time my goal was to not shoot any five-point shots, which I accomplished. Now, I’m working on shooting as close to “par” as I can, and have achieved that a couple of times. By the time this article is published, I will have shot the Texas and New Mexico state ASA tournaments, too.

During my journey, I mentioned meeting Jim Favor or Gateway Archery. He has not only helped me with my shooting, he’s helped me learn tricks of the trade for the sport, and he’s taught me form and how to use my equipment to its potential. He’s also made me the female staff shooter and let me be a representative of the sport to other women.

I am passionate about the sport, and I particularly love the challenges it presents each and every time I pick up my bow. I love that I can practice on my back porch or in the pasture, it’s quiet and I don’t have to buy new ammo every time I shoot. Archery is a sport I can practice when I’m home by myself, but I love having the support of family and friends who share my passion for the sport and for hunting. I’ve even considered going back to my roots and applying for a hunt in New Mexico.

Amanda Johnson

OryxBeyond Rubicon Staff:  Amanda is the first cousin to the Beyond Rubicon duo (Brian and Jeff) and recently started shooting a bow!   With the right support from other shooters, her natural skills were realized and, through hard work, are being refined–she quickly became a terrific competitor.   Thanks Amanda for your story!


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