Julie McQueen found her way into the hunting industry as a pro staffer back before any other girl had even tried. Even before that she made a name for herself in the fashion industry by working in Los Angeles, New York, and all over Europe. She just might be the only woman to fly from a photo shoot in France, land in the U.S., and climb directly into a tree stand. Her trophy collection speaks for itself, but she isn’t doing this to prove a point or to try to compete with the boys. She hunts simply because she loves it. She’s the host of "Brotherhood Outdoors" with her husband Daniel Lee Martin, which is currently airing on Sportsman Channel Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. Julie and Daniel Lee motivate and inspire each other to work towards a common goal with their production company, Backstage & Backroads. Both are into maintaining a fit lifestyle to keep up with the high demand of their jobs, which involves lugging cameras over mountains to film that perfect shot. Learn more about America’s outdoor couple at Backstage & Backroads: http://backstageandbackroads.
Julie spoke with Huntress View recently for our monthly blog feature.
HV: You are co-host of Brotherhood Outdoors on the Sportsman Channel. Tell us a little about the concept of the show.
JM: I co-host Brotherhood Outdoors along with my husband Daniel Lee Martin. The concept of our show is different than all of the other hunting and fishing television shows out there because it’s not about us. Sure, we host it and produce it, but we feature a different guest on each episode. Through an application process, people write in to us to tell us their stories and we choose deserving and interesting people to go on these trips with us. Essentially, we take hard working people on their trip of a lifetime. Daniel Lee and I own the production company that handles the show, so we are involved from beginning to end. Our parent company, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, stands behind us and makes it all possible, and the show was actually their idea! Brotherhood Outdoors is airing in it’s 7th season right now on the Sportsman Channel.
HV: How did you get into hunting?
JM: I got into hunting through curiosity and perseverance. I didn’t grow up in a hunting household. Both of my parents were in the Army, so I had a good knowledge and understanding of guns. I mostly fished during my younger years, but when I turned 16 I asked my Dad for a shotgun for my 16th birthday instead of a car. I wanted to learn and improve my shooting abilities so that maybe someday I could take it to the field. Back then we didn’t have access to the internet like we do now, so I went to a bookstore and bought hunting magazines and books to read. I studied and paid attention, and then I went by myself for my first hunt. With a borrowed rifle and permission to hunt of a piece of private property, I shot my first animal while I was alone sitting next to a tree. That buck still remains the oldest one I’ve ever shot, and we aged him at around 9 years old. From there it became my passion in life, and now I’m thankful to be able to do those things for a living.
HV: I read that you have also worked in the fashion industry! What was that like?
JM: I did work in the fashion industry for a while. I was fortunate because I became successful at it. I actually did very well and made a comfortable living. The good thing about that industry was that people found it interesting, and they continue to ask me about it years later! I believe that there is this mystery that surrounds the fashion industry and people like to hear about it. The downside about working in that industry is the constant judgement and scrutiny. I felt pressured to stay a certain size and shape, and it wasn’t always healthy for my body. My work now centers more around my personality and my talents in the field instead of on my looks, so it’s certainly healthier both mentally and physically.
HV: I'm sure you travel all over the country hunting and filming for the show. Tell us about one of your favorite hunting experiences.
JM: We do travel everywhere to film and produce the show. In fact, Daniel Lee and I spend over 200 days a year on the road together. Instead of my favorite hunting experience being about one of the hunts that I succeeded at or an animal that I harvested, I have to say that my favorite memories are the times when I get to see someone else fulfill their dream. Sometimes I’m behind the camera when a guest on our show shoots their animal or catches their fish. I get to see an up close and personal view of these people living their dream in that moment. One of my favorites was a guy named Mike who we chose as a guest on the show. He had never taken a true trophy animal that he could hang on his wall. I stood next to him as he pulled the trigger on a huge trophy bull elk, and I hugged him when we recovered the animal in the field. Those moments are the reasons why I love my job.
HV: Is there any one weapon that you prefer or are most comfortable hunting with?
JM: I’ve been an archery hunter for about 14 years. Most of my big game animals have been taken with a bow, but I also have a long-time passion for firearms. I shoot a Mathew’s Jewel, and I’m a fan of how modern technology on archery equipment allows me to have a lighter draw weight and still carry lethal force with my arrows. If I had to choose a gun that I love most it would probably be a tie between my AR-15 (.223 caliber) and my .300 Ultra Mag. Between those two guns I can handle almost anything out there.
HV: One thing about hunting is there is always more to learn. What have you learned most recently?
JM: I’ve learned that the seasons fly by too quickly. I used to focus on “what’s next?” and getting prepared for the next season. Now I focus on what we are doing and living in the moment. When it’s elk season I put 100% into that instead of thinking about turkey season. Time goes by quickly when you have as much fun as I do, so each season passes by too quickly. I’ve learned to live in the moment, to have a good time no matter what challenge
I’m facing at the time, and to not take myself too seriously. Hunting is a way of life for many of us, and by focusing on what’s happening right now I’m getting a lot more out of my days.
HV: What is your advice to women who are thinking about going hunting for the first time?
JM: Relax and enjoy yourself! The fact that you are wanting to go into the field for the first time to hunt is a big step, and something to be proud of! Going on a hunt doesn’t mean that you have to harvest an animal. The hunt is about our primal need to survive, our enjoyment of the outdoors, and our heritage of providing food for our families. If you don’t want to carry a weapon on your first hunt, that doesn’t make you any less of a hunter than those of us who have been doing this for years. Take a camera, or a book, or anything that makes you comfortable. When it’s your time to harvest your first animal you’ll know it without anyone telling you. Taking an animals life is a serious responsibility, and there should never be any pressure on you to do that. If you relax, enjoy yourself, and take in all of the moments in the field then you’ll begin to feel a connection with nature that makes hunting a part of your soul.