After spending her childhood hunting waterfowl in Wisconsin, Jana Waller was introduced to archery during her freshman year of college when she helped her dad track a whitetail he harvested with a bow.
Soon after, she met another female student who was a bowhunter and was convinced she could too could be successful in the sport. The following year she took a doe with her bow — the beginning of what she calls her bowhunting obsession.
Although she got her start hunting Midwestern whitetails for two decades, Jana now embraces the rush of scaling mountains in search of elk and ground hunting for bear. But regardless of what or where she’s hunting, she considers any day with a bow in hand a day well spent.
Jana has a knack not only for harvesting game but also for transforming the skulls into unique works of art. Her father spotted a painted ram skull in an antique store several years ago and encouraged her to test her painting skills on some skulls she had collected. She gradually moved onto beading and stoning and soon launched paintedskulls.com. Jana now connects with hunters across the country to create custom designs that beautifully tell the stories behind each skull.
Jana is heading into her seventh season as the host of Skull Bound TV on the Sportsman Channel that highlights her hunting adventures around the world and ties in her skull-adorning work. With the continued success of the show, she uses her platform to not only share her passion for hunting but also promote causes she’s passionate about.
Jana is actively involved with seven different conservation groups and is a lifetime member of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation and Safari Club International. She fiercely believes that hunters are responsible for protecting the herds, habitat and hunting heritage through education, financial support and passing on the tradition to younger generations.
“It can be hard for non-hunters to understand the correlation between hunting and protecting animals,” says Waller. “But it’s our job to educate them on the benefits of wildlife management and the billions of dollars raised to protecting this country’s wildlife.”
To date, Jana has raised over $40,000 for various conservation organizations by donating her skull artwork and hunts and highlights their accomplishments during Conservation Minutes on Skull Bound TV.
Jana also partners with Wishes for Warriors, a nonprofit that helps combat veterans return to hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. She’s able to raise awareness and share inspirational stories of our nation’s heroes through her show.
“Mother nature is so very healing,” she says. “When you’re able to share moments in the field with veterans who have sacrificed so much, it truly makes you appreciate your life and your freedoms all the more.”
While many female hunters face challenges breaking into the traditionally male-dominated industry, Jana believes she’s had more opportunities available as a woman with years of experience in the field and a public relations background. She’s established herself as a serious bowhunter after decades of bowhunting success – something many outdoor companies are clamoring to get behind.
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