Woods Online student aims for hunting success in new TV show

April 4th, 2013 | SMWC

McDaniel showing a turkey she hunted

By Sara Palmer

Don’t let Krysten McDaniel’s bright smile, long pink fingernails or softly curled hair fool you. She is dressed to kill.

At least, that is the name of the new reality television series coming to the Outdoor Channel in the fall of 2014, featuring McDaniel, a marketing major in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s (SMWC) Woods Online program. McDaniel, a professional hunter, from Terre Haute, Ind., teams up with other talented female hunters to show the ins and outs of hunting, as well as the thrill of a victory.

“The idea is to show that we do it all ourselves,” she explained. “We set up our own stands and food plots and do all of our own shooting.”

McDaniel has been hunting for about seven years, but her sharp eye and steady arm go back to when she was a 6-year-old shooting targets with her grandfather. Years later, she went turkey hunting with her husband and was hooked. “Turkeys are hard because you have to shoot them in the head,” she explained. “I was the first girl my husband took hunting and he was very impressed.”

Since then McDaniel has hunted an array of animals with a menagerie of weapons. Muzzle loaders, bows, rifles, shotguns – you name it and she’s fired it. “I killed my biggest buck ever with a bow this season,” said McDaniel, who, aside from deer, also hunts hogs, turkeys and bears.

That’s right – bears.

McDaniel has taken down three bears in her seven years of hunting. The first, which she had made into a rug, was more than five feet tall and weighed 170 lbs.  “On that hunt I discovered I am allergic to ThermaCELL [mosquito repellent] when I passed out in the tree stand,” she said. “I was trying to make the shot, then I busted my head open. We went to the ER then went right back to see if I got the kill.”

The second bear was the first she killed with a rifle and has the trophy half mounted at home. The third, and most recent, bear she successfully hunted in Ontario, Canada, can be found on YouTube.  “It’s crazy to know I’ve killed a bear,” she said. “It’s a rush and such a sense of accomplishment.”

McDaniel displaying a bear she took down

As audiences can tell from the bear hunt YouTube video, which will be featured on “Dressed to Kill TV,” McDaniel was hoping to make the kill with her bow. However, since it was the last day of the hunt and they had come so far, McDaniel chose to switch over to her shotgun to increase her odds. “The bow is my favorite weapon,” she said, “but I’m really patient and won’t take the shot unless I know it’s perfect.”

It’s this patience that’s helped McDaniel rack up her kill count, including seven bucks, eight does, six turkeys, four hogs and two bears.  This impressive number is exactly what drew the attention from the makers of “Dressed to Kill TV.” From the Louisiana swamps to snowy Ohio hills, simply visiting the show’s Facebook page is enough to see the diversity of these talented female hunters.

"We are all women from different walks of life, but we all share the same passion for hunting. After reading Krysten's bio I realized she was as excited about hunting as I was. She started out hunting with her husband and now they hunt and film together which brings a well rounded aspect to our show," said Tammi Pack Gregory from Dressed to Kill TV.

When Gregory first approached McDaniel about the TV show, neither one knew exactly what to expect. “I didn’t think it was real,” McDaniel said. “Sometimes we just don’t get taken seriously as women hunters. It was a dream come true.”

McDaniel is used to having to prove her worth. Working in the firearms department at Gander Mountain in Terre Haute, Ind., she often has to work harder to gain the respect of customers than her male counterparts. “They look at me and wonder what could I know about this gun or that gun,” she said. “But then they ask a question and I shock them with an expert answer.”

In addition to working and hunting, McDaniel also mentors children in Ray Howell’s Kicking Bear 101 program. Along with her husband, she conducts archery clinics with children and young adults and even takes them on hunts. Her commitment to the community doesn’t stop there. She also often donates meat from her kills to underprivileged families.

McDaniel is able to balance volunteering, work and hunting with school by attending Woods Online, a distance education program from SMWC. She can complete courses in eight or 16-week semesters, turn in assignments online and take tests from home – or in a tree stand. With both “Dressed to Kill TV” and graduation on the horizon, McDaniel’s adventures are truly about to begin.

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