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BHR

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Sportsman's Issues has been too negative for some time. Here's a positive story for once.

You have to admit, Mavis Lorenz has a little bit of "wisdom" to share with all of us when it comes to the sport of hunting! Any comments?

Paul

'Awesome lady'
By DARYL GADBOW of the Missoulian

Mavis Lorenz of Missoula has hunted black bear on Vancouver Island, Dall sheep in the Northwest Territories of Canada, caribou in Alaska's Brooks Range and even bagged a Boone and Crockett top 10 bighorn ram in the Rock Creek drainage east of Missoula. At 76, she shows few signs that she'll quit anytime soon. "My favorite thing is hunting," says Lorenz. "Especially the start of hunting season. It's exciting."
Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER


76-year-old Mavis Lorenz is an expert, dedicated hunter who passes on the respect and love for her sport to young and old, men and women

No one in western Montana will be more excited at the first glowing hint of sunrise this Saturday than 13-year-old Kyle McIlnay and 76-year-old Mavis Lorenz.

The two Missoula hunters will be together - in an undisclosed location in the mountains, three miles from the nearest road - when the general deer and elk hunting season opens.




For McIlnay, the opening-day excitement will be enhanced by the thrill of his first big game hunt. For Lorenz, it will be an opportunity to savor once again a passion she's pursued for nearly a half-century of big-game hunting in Montana, Canada and Alaska.

"I don't have any testosterone," says Lorenz with her typical wry sense of humor. "But there's something similar flowing through my veins on opening day."

Lorenz volunteered to take McIlnay hunting when she found out he'd just passed the state's Hunter Education program required of youth hunters but didn't have anyone to take him. His father, Cory McIlnay, has never hunted.

"I mentioned to a mutual friend that Kyle would like to go hunting, and Mavis said she'd like to get involved," says Cory McIlnay. "He's quite happy to have someone helping him out."

Kyle and his father helped Lorenz pack in supplies to her remote and primitive "elk camp" during the past week - after agreeing to maintain the well-guarded secrecy of its location.

"I've taken several beginners hunting," says Lorenz. "It's kind of fun. What I'll teach Kyle, I always say, is that the unknowing eye is unable to see. A lot of people don't know what they're looking at. They don't notice little things, plants, animals. I'll show him the difference between squirrel and weasel tracks. And deer rubs and scrapes, some that are several years old, and some fresh, so the kid will learn which is which. And deer tracks, so he can see which way they're going.

"I can point out elk droppings. And I'm sure some of my lady friends would be aghast when I pick them up and squeeze them to see how fresh they are. How to tell the difference between elk and moose tracks. If the kid wants to learn, I can pass a lot of trivia on to him."

Lorenz has always been generous in sharing her ample knowledge, experience and love of hunting and the outdoors with those who haven't had the opportunity, according to Bill Thomas, information officer for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Missoula.

"She's helped us out big-time," says Thomas. "Our spirits are always lifted whenever Mavis walks in the door. She views herself as a hunter. But she's way more than a hunter. She's a friend to kids and she's really a role model for other women. She's a great ambassador for outdoor recreation, always making the point that women can do this stuff too."

As a volunteer instructor for FWP's Hunter Education program for adult women, Lorenz specializes in teaching her students about preparation for the hunt, including gear, clothing, physical fitness, and map interpretation. She also helps out as a volunteer instructor in FWP's youth angler program, "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs." In addition, she works as an instructor in FWP's "Becoming an Outdoor Woman,", a nationwide and Canadian program. In its 10th year in Montana, BOW provides hands-on outdoor classes for women, taught by women, in a wide variety of activities, including hunting and fishing, and Lorenz's specialties - backpacking, shooting sporting clays, orienteering and cross-country skiing.

Lorenz has also given of her time to serve for two years on FWP's Private Lands/Public Wildlife Citizens Advisory Council, a governor-appointed group of landowners, hunters and outfitters who work together to find solutions to public hunting access problems.

FWP's Block Management Program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting access, is a primary focus of the council.

While Lorenz says she found it frustrating trying to reach a consensus among the disparate viewpoints represented on the council, she's pleased that during her service, the council was able to achieve a raise in the state conservation license fees to help pay ranchers more for their participation in the Block Management Program.

The program, says Lorenz, "has been a role model for the rest of the country. There's still a lot of ranching families that believe the hunting heritage is something that should be passed on."

Her enthusiasm and dedication as a hunter have been rewarded with plenty of success in bagging game, including several magnificent trophies, a success which Lorenz has enjoyed with quiet modesty. She steadfastly denounces "trophy hunting."

"I think," she acknowledges, "that I've gotten every species of big game in Montana - black bear, antelope, elk, moose, whitetails, muleys, mountain lion, goats and sheep."

"I don't usually hunt deer anymore," she adds. "I got a little tired of venison. And I don't shoot anything I don't eat. But this year I got a mule deer buck permit in case I see a nice one."

"I don't get a cow elk permit anymore," she says, "because if I see a bull, my blood pressure would go up too high."

In 1993, Lorenz bagged a massive Rocky Mountain bighorn ram that ranks in the top 10 in the Boone and Crockett Club's book of big game world records. Before the season, she spent months researching bighorn sheep habits, habitat, hunting techniques, field-judging potential trophy rams, and scouting her hunting district in the Rock Creek drainage east of Missoula.

Her exacting preparation for that hunt is the hallmark of just about everything that Lorenz undertakes. That dedication, along with her devotion to the fair-chase ethics of hunting, as well as her success in the hunt, earned her recognition from the Hunters' Alliance, a statewide organization of sportsmen and women, as "Montana Hunter of the Year" in 1994.

"Awesome lady," says Dale Burk of Stevensville, one of the founders of the Hunters' Alliance. "Mavis was among the first hunters we honored. Knowing her, if she had taken an average sheep, she'd have been satisfied, as long as she did her part. She does her homework."

After stalking and shooting her record-book ram deep in the backcountry, Lorenz skinned out the entire animal for a full-body taxidermy mount, and quartered and hung the meat to be packed out by a local rancher with stock. As is her custom, she was hunting alone.

An exception to her solitary hunting habits was Lorenz's caribou hunting trip to the Brooks Range of Alaska last fall, when she was accompanied by two Missoula friends, Jim Miller and his son, Monte.

However, Lorenz took charge of organizing the hunt. She was the outfitter, guide and taxidermist for the trip. She hired a bush pilot to drop the hunters off at an isolated tent camp on the frozen tundra for 10 days, and after reading a book and watching an instructional video on taxidermy by her friend and sheep-hunting mentor, the late Duncan Gilchrist, she mounted her friends' caribou.

After her Montana bighorn hunt, Lorenz was fascinated by the challenge and excitement of hunting wild sheep. Since then, she's made expeditions to bag a beautiful Dall sheep ram in the Northwest Territories of Canada, and a rare stone sheep ram in northern British Columbia.

A couple of years ago, Lorenz traveled to Vancouver Island in British Columbia to hunt the area's exceptionally large coastal black bears, and ended up bagging a fine specimen. The bruin, she says, made tasty "corned bear," as well as a handsome rug for her bedroom wall.

Lorenz's initiation as a hunter was at age 12 in her native Wisconsin, where a squirrel or rabbit potted with a single-shot .410 was welcome table fare for her family during the lean years of the Great Depression.

"I was allowed to take the gun out by myself when I was 12," she says. "But I had to hunt by myself. And I think my parents were very smart."

Her parents reasoned, she explains, that when you turn two or more teenagers loose by themselves with firearms, the potential increases for carelessness or dangerous mischief.

Ever since those solitary youthful outings, Lorenz says, she's enjoyed, actually preferred hunting solo.

"Definitely," she says. "I used to hunt with some guys from Bonner. They were my skiing partners and they took me under their wing. It was more damn fun to be with them. But I started hunting by myself once I learned the country. I like to just mosey along. I end up walking behind guys and I only see their butt or their heels. I can sit for six hours. And I do, and I get a lot of game. Most guys can't sit. They're up walking around and chasing the game all over."

After moving to Missoula in the fall of 1954 to accept a job as a swimming instructor for the University of Montana's physical education department, Lorenz lost little time in launching her lifelong quest for big game.

"In the fall of 1955," she says, "I borrowed my landlord's pickup, I borrowed by landlord's rifle, and I borrowed by landlord's wife, and the two of us women went hunting."

The swimming instructor job turned into a 33-year teaching career at UM for Lorenz, who retired in 1987. Her courses included methodology for PE teachers, advanced first aid, skiing and canoeing. She was in charge of UM's competitive ski program, and started the school's ski instructor and canoe instructor programs.

"I made up my own schedule so I could be outside all the time," she says.

Her diminutive 5-foot-3 stature belies Lorenz's physical strength and stamina, traits that she's developed over a lifetime of vigorous outdoor recreation activities, and augmented by her competitive nature.

At various times in her life, she's been involved in whitewater canoe and kayak racing, mountain climbing, and international-level masters (age 40 and over) track and field and cross-country ski racing.

She started her track career at age 62 and set national records in two age groups in javelin, long jump and high jump. She competed in several national masters cross-country ski events, after taking up the sport at age 55, and advanced to world championships in Norway, Canada and Alaska.

Knee surgery about four years ago ended her track and cross-country racing, says Lorenz, although she stays in shape with a regular regimen of hiking and mountain biking - "a little bit every day."

Last spring, she went on a three-week wilderness whitewater canoe trip on the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories of Canada. To prepare herself for the physical demands of the expedition, Lorenz worked out for three months during the winter at UM's Human Performance Laboratory, simulating paddling strokes on an exercise machine.

Of the nine clients on the canoe trip, Lorenz says, "I'd put myself in the top three" in terms of skill and stamina.

In the past, Lorenz sometimes enlisted the help of "two-legged mules with pack frames" to help her bring big-game meat out of the backcountry. Often the mules came from the ranks of her students, including many UM athletes, who volunteered in exchange for a quarter of elk.

Now, Lorenz still handles the chore of field dressing of big game and packing out the meat by herself - by mountain bike in dry weather, or toboggan in the snow. These days she uses a new technique in which the animal is skinned and boned out without gutting. "Simpler, cleaner, less gore," she says.

Besides her long tenure as a UM teacher, and her busy schedule of hunting and other outdoor pastimes, Lorenz also found time to travel the world extensively, including a mountain climbing trip to Pakistan. She's also delved into motorcycle touring, and flying airplanes with a commercial flying license.

Whatever she did, she devoted all her mental and physical energy to it, always thoroughly researching the subject first.

"I've crammed a lot of living into this life," she says. "I never got married. So I had a lot of free time. I escaped. I had too many things I wanted to do. I set priorities. I traveled quite a bit. I'd always research the country before I went. Preparation for it is almost as much fun as going."

"This is the way it's been all my life," she adds. "I pick up something. Learn it. Enjoy it. And then I drop it and do something else. There's so much to do in this world. What phase I'm in now, I don't know. But if somebody says let's go someplace tomorrow, I might drop everything and just go."

But the last thing she'll do is miss the opening of the hunting season.

"My favorite thing is hunting," she says. "Especially the start of the hunting season. It's exciting."

Six years ago, when she turned 70, Lorenz jotted down some strongly held feelings about "Why I hunt."

"I can't hunt like I used to - walk all day, seven, eight hours up and down mountains," she wrote at that time. "But I go four, five hours at a slower pace, and sit and watch more often. I don't go as far off the 'beaten path' any more. I can still handle a downed animal, quarter it, skin it, hang what I can't carry out and come back with 'two-legged mules' to help me haul it out. I hope to hunt another eight, nine years if my health holds out."

In 2002, she updated the essay: "Still going strong. Better make that six more years."

Reading those lines again just last week, Lorenz commented, "I'll be 80 then. But I'll be damned if I'll road hunt."

Reporter Daryl Gadbow can be reached at 523-5264 or at [email protected]
 

dgibson

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Great story. Good for her...with that lifestyle she'll probably live to be 100.
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BuzzH

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Mavis is one tough lady...and a fine person.

My wife and I have talked to her on several occassions, always a pleasure.

My favorite story she tells is about that freaking windbag J. Weatherly...HAHAHA.
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cjcj

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That`s a great story, and she is obviously in great shape at 70, Strange that she never married as she would be a great "catch" for any hunter, I love the fact that my wife hunts with me so i was surprized to hear her say she never married.She also had to be one of the best teachers in the "system", how cool that a teacher invites you out to help bring home the game she killed. She is clearly one of a kind.
 

Mntman

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Nov 28, 2001
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somewhere other than AZ :(
Good God what a woman!
If we had more like that, there'd be less kids on drugs.
All I can say is take a kid outdoors with you and treat and teach them right.
I just took my hunter's ed class and hope to be an instructor next year. IF I end up half the instructor she seems to be I'd be dam happy and proud.
You go girl!
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T Bone

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What a lady! There is something very attractive about a gal that is WILLING and ABLE to harvest elk (without an ATV
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1_pointer

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Good God, I was just made to feel like a wuss by reading about a 70+ yr. old woman! Good for her! Thanks for the story, sure is a good one and motivating to boot!
 

BHR

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Leave it to Buzz boy to take a positive post and turn it into a negative one. I know J. W. fairly well, and he is far from a "freaking windbag". He is a very sharp man who is actively involved in several sportsmans organizations. You couldn't carry his jock Buzz boy. I bet if Mavis read the garbage you post on this site, she would undoubtably vote you worlds number 1 "freaking windbag", and I'll second that opinion. Your a real prize.

Paul

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 10-29-2003 07:40: Message edited by: BHR ]</font>
 

BuzzH

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Hey BHR, you think J.W. is a great guy and not a windbag? HAHAHA.

I'm not suprised he's one of your friends/hero's. Thats worth another laugh.

Tell me, and be honest here, when a guy introduces himself as the guy who "killed the biggest ram in NA for 50 years, only 5 over 200 inches, president of FNAWS, oh, and my names J.W." that isnt a windbag? Then, before my buddy and I could get a word in he's telling us about his "big" dall he just killed. We kind of shut his blowhole for him when he later stopped by Dan Montgomerys booth at the show and saw the 2 white sheep my buddy and I killed.

Then, your hero, has the gall to tell the story of his ram and deny that a 68 year old female hunter all but guided him to the "largest ram taken in 50 years", which was in the same herd that Mavis killed hers out of a couple days earlier.

Yeah, he's a real stand up guy, glad you're so proud of him, it takes a real man to run down someone like Mavis...

I was laughing my ass off when Mavis told me the story...like you say Paul, she really is a class act and tells it like it is.

Maybe you cant handle the truth?
 

BHR

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Buzz boy,

I've known J. W. for about 3 years and have never witnessed the attitude you describe. How he came off when you met him could be clouded by your interpetation of how the conversation went. You tend to talk a lot, but don't really listen or comprehend what others say. Your posts here at S. I. illustrate this trait very well.

Seems to me that you are pretty quick to brag about yourself, how much game you potted, how big, how far you had to pack it out. Your comments on the Dall sheep you took in AK is case in point. If you would have shot a ram that was a couple inches smaller, would that made you any less of a hunter, or that particular hunt any less memorable? Everything is a competition to you Buzz. Do you even enjoy hunting?

Question for you Buzz. If Mavis read all the garbage you post here at this site, would she be proud of the kind of sportsman that you are, or would she think that you were an insecure, little, "freaking windbag"? You need to look in the mirror once in a while buddy, before you start to rip on someone else.

Paul

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 10-29-2003 10:45: Message edited by: BHR ]</font>
 

Ten Bears

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Did I miss soething in the article, was Mavis ripping on ATV's, or was that just IT and the peanut gallary chiming in again?????

Mavis is a h377 of a woodperson, and don't start placing people on sides of issues when you can't even defend your own stance.
 

BuzzH

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Paul, get a grip and learn to read.

I'm not the one going around introducing myself as the guy who killed the biggest sheep in 50 years, I really couldnt give a shit less. I also couldnt give a shit less if my white sheep was 20 inches bigger or smaller than his. It sure is nice though to be humble enough to give someone else a chance to talk.

No, its not a competition, and I've never viewed it as such, but I also aint going to apologize for being successful.

Case in point with my Dall, I never even told J.W. I'd ever killed a sheep, the S.O.B. never gave either my buddy or I a chance to talk. Too busy bragging about HIS dall, and the biggest sheep killed in 50 years. I wanted some info on FNAWS, not a blow by blow of how he intended to kill his slam within a year or two. We walked off leaving him with his ego...the same ego that wont let him acknowledge that he got some help from a great hunter like Mavis. He just happened to cruise by Dans booth and see us standing there and recognized our pictures in one of Dans books. He asked if that was us and then got red in the face and walked off. Probably embarrased because 2 kids in their mid twenties were able to afford to and kill better white sheep than him...or more than likely he was embarrased for "telling us punks how it is" about sheep when we obviously researched sheep and outfitters better than he did. Whatever, but I wont waste my time hanging around with people like that.

Further, because of J.W. I'd never join FNAWS, neither will my buddy. If thats the "class" of people that make up the organization and who they elect to represent them, count me out.

The first time I met Mavis, I had to pry to get her to tell about her sheep hunt...a very humble person unlike J.Windbag.

Those are the facts Paul, if you cant handle them, too bad. By the way, where you there when I met J.W. for the first time? Didnt think so, so dont tell me what I do and dont remember.
 

Troy Jones

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Buzz, I am absolutely shocked. I understand your anti many things and you portray yourself as one hell of a hunter. Then you say you had the money and actually paid an outfitter. If your paying guide services to hunt anything I am truly disappointed in you. I don't use ATV's and I sure as hell don't pay for a guide. I am so dismayed, I don't know what to believe any more.
 

BuzzH

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Troy, sorry to disappoint, but, to remain within the laws of AK, I had no choice.

However, I was smart enough to get a great deal with arguably the best dall sheep outfitter in AK.

It was fun, I had a great time and my guide Ed Toribio and I hunted like we'd been hunting buddies for years. I'd go again in a heartbeat.

Oh, and I dont portray myself as a "hell of a hunter". I aint lucky, I have to work hard to bag the very average public land critters that I get.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 10-29-2003 17:43: Message edited by: BuzzH ]</font>
 

Greenhorn

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The most successful hunter I know (a Wyoming resident and friend of mine), also took a dall ram with the same outfitter Buzz used on his hunt in Alaska. My Wyoming friend also said the same thing about Mongomery and his outfitting service.. as good as it gets, for the hardcore hunters. Buzz's outfitter went elk hunting with my friend in Wyoming later. If I were dedicated enough to save my pennies to go dall or stone sheep hunting (outfitter is required), it would be with my good friend who is an outfitter in B.C. (Bryan Martin) or with the same outfitter Buzz used.
 

BHR

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Buzz boy,

What kind of jackass would make an unsolicited slam on someone they hardly know in a topic about someone else? A first class POS freaking windbag would be my guess. You got a big case of little man syndrome. I'ld recommend thearapy.

Greenhorn,

I hunted with Bryan last year. Good guy. Didn't get a ram, but had a good hunt.

Paul
 

BuzzH

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BHR, the truth is the truth, sorry you cant handle that.

Now, go stroke ol' jimmy some more...maybe he'll tell you all about sheep.
 

BHR

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T Falls, MT
Buzz,

Whether your story is true or not true, that's not even the issue. I don't care. The point is, what kind of jackass would make such a slam? Think about it. Why did you feel the need to run someone down that wasn't even mentioned in the original topic? Does it make you feel like more of a man? Get some help buddy.

Paul
 
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