Kristy Titus’ passion for the outdoors has taken her around the globe in search of hunting adventure, yet she’s never strayed far from her roots in the Pacific Northwest.
Titus grew up in the mountains of Oregon, where she still resides. Her parents owned pack mules, and throughout her childhood Titus spent lots of time deep in the wilderness, fishing alpine lakes and chasing elk alongside her father.
“I was never into [organized] sports,” Titus said. “I rode my mules and fished and shot rabbits. I don’t know anything other than being in the backcountry and spending time in wild places. That’s what I live for.”
In addition to her own outdoor adventures, Titus was passionate from an early age about conserving public lands, enhancing wildlife habitat and protecting hunting rights. As a young woman, she became heavily involved in her local Safari Club International chapter, eventually becoming chapter president and even traveling to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress on sportsmen’s issues.
Titus also demonstrated an insatiable thirst for outdoor knowledge, becoming an award-winning elk caller and organizing a variety of women’s clinics on shooting, orienteering and survival skills.
But it wasn’t until a boyfriend introduced to Titus to bowhunting in her early 20s that her outdoor pursuits really took off.
“I took my interest in calling elk, coupled it with my interest in bowhunting and it literally reset my life,” said Titus, whose first bow bull was a 5×5 taken six miles from the truck.
Titus was working in real estate when the economy tanked in 2008 and 2009, literally taking the bottom out of the Oregon housing market. That’s when she went to work as an account manager for She Outdoor Apparel, a women’s hunting clothing company that was subsequently acquired by Bass Pro Shops. Later, Titus moved to Under Armour, where she was part of a team that launched the company’s women’s line.
Since leaving Under Armour roughly six years ago, Titus has been on her own as an independent spokesperson for a variety of outdoor organizations, including Cabela’s, Swarovski Optik, Buck Knives and Wilderness Athlete. She is also an ambassador for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a regular on the foundation’s Team Elk TV show that airs on Outdoor Channel.
Given her passion for elk calling and hunting, Titus said she loves the opportunity to support the RMEF, an organization that has conserved or enhanced 7 million acres of wildlife habitat since its inception in 1984. She’s also instrumental in spreading the word about RMEF’s public outreach efforts, such as the current “Hunting Is Conservation” campaign.
“Hunters are paying for tags, licenses and fees that are funding conservation work,” Titus said. State licenses and tag fees annually create just shy of $800 million a year, which is 75 percent of the funding for state conservation agencies.”
Add in the impact of fishing licenses and excise taxes from the Pittman-Robertson Act and that figure swells to $1.6 billion a year for conservation. “When I have anti-hunters come at me and call me a horrible person, I can fight them with education,” Titus said. “You cannot dispute the fact that hunters are the greatest conservationists in the world.”
As for being one of the most recognizable women in bowhunting today, Titus says she is proud of the work she’s done to make the sport more accessible and develop a community of female hunters. “I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be one of the women…getting other women into the sport,” she said.
But at the same time, Titus said she doesn’t necessarily identify herself as a “woman bowhunter.”
“I’m not a big fan of the word huntress,” she said. “I am a hunter, and I don’t need to classify that I’m a girl, because I can do anything a guy can do, and the equipment out there affords women the opportunity to be on an even playing field against any guy.”