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  • Writer's pictureCourtney LeVesque

The Story Behind Jessica's Archery Bull

If you regularly tune in to the Her Inspired Journey Podcast you likely listened to EP 041 Big Bull Down with Jessica Portenier. Jess relived the moments that got her to her first bull kill with her bow, the backstory leading up to the season, and the fondness she has of hunting alongside her dad. What you didn't hear was a little more of the memories with her family in the outdoors and what drove her to get more into archery.

Imagine the moment you get that "Big Bull Down" text from a friend who has put her heart and soul into filling her first archery tag.

It's an INSTANT HEART THUMPER as you quickly flip through all that has gone into preparing for the hunt, the effort, practice and anticipation of the season.

I will never forget opening my phone to see a text preview from Jessica that said, "I DID IT LADY!!!!" with a picture of Jess PROUDLY holding her elk. I only wished I could INSTA ZAP myself to her, help her pack the load and give her one hell of a fist pump.

From daily practice, learning how to use a diaphragm call, and gaining confidence in herself, Jess makes a plan and get's it done.

I met Jessica for the first time last year and had the pleasure of bringing her on as a fitness training client and one thing has always been consistent... Jess has a ton on her plate but has ALWAYS made a way to pursue what she wants.

Soak up this fun "uncut" version, with a deeper look into who she is and what this harvest meant to her.

Q: How did you get started in hunting and grow your love for the outdoors?

A: I was born and raised in Idaho as a logger's daughter so we traveled even while I was younger. I played volleyball, basketball and ran track in High School. Been hunting and fishing since I was little - my parents took us everywhere. I was actually still a breastfed baby when my parents would take me on hunts. Grew up around horses, motorcycles and country life. Small towns and summers living on the logging jobs.

I have been hunting with my parents and my little brother since my mom was pregnant with us. They always took us or they took turns watching us. Both my parents are amazing hunters and avid outdoors people. They have taught us so much and continue to still teach me.

Q: Tell us a little bit of the backstory to what happened in 2018 that led you to this 2018 season and your determination to archery hunt?

When we moved to Grants Pass in 2017 it would be the first time in many many years that I would be able to hunt again with my parents. 2017 I wasn’t an Oregon resident so I sat out.

Fast forward to archery season 2018 my husband got his tag. Unfortunately, I did not because I had missed the time frame so rifle it was. So dad and I decided the next year (2019) I would not miss my archery tags and the hunt would be on.

Zoom forward again to November and my dad got bit by a snake while he was trimming a tree. His health went downhill so fast. By September he could barely walk with his knees or even carry anything. We were both heartbroken because THIS WAS OUR EPIC HUNT that we had been planning under the radar for a year! But we were not giving up. I told him that this hunt was happening.

I became his legs and eyes. He would send me in a direction and I would come back with the report, tracks, sign, smell, ect. So I covered a lot of ground in the heat, and well you know the rest (EP 041). I stuck a beautiful bull at 23 yards on September 1st. Dad had his shoulder surgery soon after that. My mom was working and she even got to go on a hunt with me and we scouted all day together. I am truly blessed to have the parents I have. But this hunt meant so much to my dad and I. He had seen my bull for almost 3 years. Then when we got closer to him last year I guess this year it was just meant to be.

Q: What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self?

A: Be yourself. Be the strong beautiful woman God made you. Don’t give up hunting and fishing just because your friends or current date isn’t into it.

Q: If your best friend could only use three words to describe you what would they be?

A: 1. Strong 2. Independent 3. Sassy

Q: What is your biggest piece of advice or encouragement you’d like to give listeners who may be struggling with life?

A: It's so hard because I struggle with a little bit of everything. I try to have thicker skin and be more bold in not letting people cross boundaries. I have a hard time saying no to helping friends. I am learning now for my own health it's ok to say no. Self-esteem has always been a struggle for me but I know if I keep holding on to insecurities I cant grow. God made me the way I am for a reason, but God also helps us be molded into something better than we could imagine if we let him work the clay.

Connect with Jessica on Instagram and of course, shoot her a CONGRATS message on a job well done. You can also head over to her collaborative blog to read her story and see more pictures from the hunt at

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