Brittany Humphrey: At home in the outdoors

Brittany Humphrey: At home in the outdoors

Brittany Humphrey, 24

New Gloucester

Miss Maine Sportsman

Brittany Humphrey grew up in New Gloucester. She can’t remember when she started fishing, but she knows exactly when she began hunting.

“I have been hunting since the age of 10 when I could obtain a junior hunting license. Before that I would go and sit with my mom and dad in the woods and learn from them,” said Humphrey, who earlier this year was named the first Miss Maine Sportsman at the Maine Sportsman’s Show in Augusta.

As Miss Maine Sportsman, Humphrey will be making appearances around the state to spread the word about getting outdoors, especially to women and kids.

She has already done multiple radio interviews, was featured on “Bill Green’s Maine,” and threw out the opening pitch at a Sea Dogs Game on June 21.

Humphrey is also being sponsored by Cabela’s, an international marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise, and Howell’s Gun and Archery Center in Gray.

Besides being an active outdoors woman Humphrey was a three-sport athlete at Gray-New Gloucester High School, participating in soccer, basketball and softball. After high school Humphrey continued to play soccer and softball while attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle, making time to hunt and fish there in addition to her studies.

Now 24, Humphrey is the outreach coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which includes coordinating Youth Field Days, and the Becoming an Outdoors Women, and Hooked on Fishing programs.

Humphrey said being involved in sports improved her hunting ability.

“I think playing athletics made me strong and helped build up my endurance for hunting in the woods,” said Humphrey.

In addition to hunting with firearms, she also uses a compound bow, which she said requires considerable practice.

“My bow is the most challenging to use. I practice with it whenever I have time, and I can’t practice enough. I enjoy shooting in my yard with my chocolate lab Umpi – she was named after University of Maine Presque Isle and was my graduation gift from college. She gets just as excited about shooting as I do, probably because she thinks she is going to retrieve a bird,” said Humphrey, who also hunts wild birds, including turkey and grouse.

Humphrey works out several times a week, lifting weights and doing cardio work to maintain the good physical conditioning she said is necessary for hunting. She has tagged 13 deer, one for every year but one since she was 10, along with several turkeys and two bull moose. One of those moose was felled by Humphrey with her bow at 37 yards.

In addition to hunting, fishing has been a life-long love for Humphrey. She likes spending time bass fishing or finding a spot for good brook trout. Ice fishing is another activity she enjoys.

“My favorite trip to take with my dad is ice fishing,” said Humphrey. “He helped me build my own ice shack this past fall. It’s made of fiberglass and light enough for me to tow on and off the ice myself.”

One of the best things about getting outdoors for Humphrey, besides having fun, is family.

“I have a twin sister that I grew up hunting and fishing with along with a younger brother,” said Humphrey. “Now I have a brother in-law from Canada that likes to hunt and fish with us. My mom and dad also enjoy the outdoors. I spend a lot of time with my dad, hunting everything, and fishing. I hunt and fish because it makes me happy, and I have fun.”

Humphrey said hunting is both challenging and rewarding and has taught her to be patient, and that the hard work and effort she puts in will often pay off.

“I love the feeling of excitement that comes when I see or hear my target and the sense of accomplishment and success when I tag out,” said Humphrey.

There are drawbacks to loving the outdoors for Humphrey, the number one of which is not being able to hunt and fish as much as she would like.

“Other important things like work get in the way,” said Humphrey. “Another down side is being cold. I do a much better job now than I used to and make sure I wear the proper clothing and equipment to withstand the Maine weather.”

The upside of being a sportswoman definitely outweighs the downside for Humphrey, who said she can’t imagine her life without it.

“I think about hunting and fishing every day. If I could somehow turn this into a career my dream would come true,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey is in the process of becoming a board member for the non-profit organization Becoming an Outdoors-Women. The group offers women the opportunity to learn hunting, fishing and outdoor skills in a non-competitive atmosphere with other women.

“I believe that every woman should be able to spend time in the outdoors and have the chance to learn these important skills and enjoy spending time in the outdoors together,” said Humphrey, who may very well be on the path to her dream job.

This 10-point, 209-pound buck was taken by Humphrey with her Remington .308 woodmaster rifle in 2012.  Brittany Humphrey stands with the moose she shot in 2013 at 37 yards with a compound bow in northern Maine. The moose had a 42-inch spread and weighed 828 pounds.  

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