“Armed with a Bow and Her Words, Union Daughter Encourages Women In the Outdoors” By: Laura Oberle

When Union Sportsmens Alliance (USA) member McKenna Merkel bought her first bow at age 17, a male co- worker scoffed, “Good luck. You never kill anything with that.”

She tried to shake it off, and with advice from experienced bow hunters, McKenna dedicated countless hours practicing until she achieved consistently close groupings in the vitals. She thought she had the bow mastered and anticipated a smooth, successful hunting season.

McKenna soon learned the woods were a different world than the practice field. She ended her first bow season with two trees, a ground blind and only two arrows left out of a dozen. She couldn’t get those initial negative words out of her mind and was starting to believe she would never kill anything with her bow.

“It’s all I thought about when I hunted,” McKenna said. “I was so angry and disappointed”

Last summer, McKenna, now 21, started a blog called McKenna Outdoors to share her experiences and connect with other outdoor enthusiasts. She hopes to send a message of support and encouragement to aspiring bow hunters. In one of her blog posts, McKenna wrote about that first bow hunting season and the fire it lit within. She practiced archery almost every day, and although the next bow season wasn’t instantly successful, one rainy afternoon she ventured into the woods alone and dropped her first doe.

McKenna Merkel harvested her first deer after relentlessly practicing her archery in the off season.

” I was standing in the tree stand, screaming with excitement McKenna said. “I still get chills thinking about it”

 As the doe collapsed by McKenna’s hand, the power of that unnerving jab also died. She had, in fact, killed something with her bow. Armed with her experience and her words McKenna is resolute to make a positive impact on women in the outdoors. According to her readers, she is succeeding.

“You’re the poster child of what it takes to be successful and the kind of kid I want my kid to hang around,” one reader commented “(You) inspire my daughter every time she sees your posts!” wrote another.

Born and raised on her family farm in Bowie, Maryland , McKenna’s love of the outdoors began at an early age. She spent her free time with her dad at turkey shoots, deer hunting, fishing or helping around the farm. As she grew older, she took ownership of her outdoors interests, which evolved into a lifestyle

“Growing up on a farm not only taught me responsibility but more than that, it gave me this sense of freedom ” McKenna said.

She also developed a strong work ethic through the example set by her mother, Cathy Merkel, a union member and registrar for the United Association. “She is extremely dedicated to her job, cares a lot about her fellow union members and is such a hard worker” McKenna said of her mother.

Through her mother’s membership in the office and Professional Employees International Union, McKenna joined the USA as a family member.

” I chose to be a member because I wanted to be a part of helping wildlife conservation and connect with other outdoor enthusiasts I could learn from,” McKenna said. “There is so much to learn when it comes to the outdoors, and I’ve learned a lot through the USA”

McKenna has been an active member since 2013, attending on conservation dinners and sharing photos of her outdoors endeavors.

“Since I can remember, McKenna has loved the outdoors ” Cathy said. “The folks at the USA are awesome with people and have left a great impression on McKenna”

 Through the ideals of hard work, respect, gratitude and perseverance, McKennas message rings true to those in the outdoor community. “A hunt is successful whether you harvest something or not” McKenna said. “It’s about being outdoors. I want to encourage present, practicing and future bow hunters to never give up. Determination brings success”

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance -Capital Area Shoot at Pintail Point

A couple months ago I was interviewed for the 2016 summer sportsmen’s journal as the spotlight member! Friday I had the privilege of meeting Patch Duncan who is also being featured in the journal as the winner of the #Carhartt Bass tournament. Friday Patch won with the highest score (78/100) in his division. HUGE thank you to @unionsportsmen for all of their hard work, it was a blast!!!!

Union Sportsmen Posted:
@kennaoutdoors & Mark/Patch Duncan (@carhartt bass winner) will be featured in the summer issue of the Union Sportsmen’s Journal #UnionSportsmen #Beretta  #Stoeger #Carhartt #PintailPoint #IBEW #UA #WhiteFlyer #SportingClays


All she takes is selfies when she hunts….


Typically every female has heard at least once in their life that they take to many selfies and if you selfie while you hunt then you are just a wilderness wannabe …… Ehhh you’re pretty much wrong but i’ll admit I get selfie fever when its been slow in the stand. BUTTT I can explain! We have a reason, or at least a good excuse!

The latest trending photo collage for the majority of female outdoor enthusiasts on Instagram has been Social Vs. Stealth. Therefore we are probably doing it for that free month of May Sportsmans Box or those super cute 9mm earrings from Hot Brass & Co.  You’d be crazy to sit still in a tree stand or a blind when you know a good giveaway is going on and the picture lighting couldn’t be better. Plus it’s the perfect time to post how hot you were on Friday night without your boyfriend getting mad at you for posting it cause you know you looked good. #SorryNotSorry

On a more serious note, for as many camera shutter snaps that have probably scared deer away I still think Social Vs. Stealth is a neat way for girls to show who they truly are. A majority of us (girls who hunt) connect through the same passion. It’s easy to forget that there is life outside of what we love. Even though its social media we still look at all these huntress’ lives everyday wishing we could hunt that, or hike there or shoot this ,etc… but what we don’t remember is how hard they might of worked to get to that point. Whether your social selfie is from work, school or the bar it shows what else you’re made of. You might not be climbing mountains if you keep socializing over captain and cokes but at least you probably met some of the nicest drunk girls in the bathroom who could go add one more like to your Social Vs. Stealth entry.


You’re right, I don’t know half of my followers on social media but I do know that the female hunting population has grown and continues to grow everyday. Being able to connect with other girls who hunt or fish is awesome, as we all support each other and learn from one another. We stick together and we don’t give up easily on the goals we have; instead we lead one another to the right source. We see and learn what more the world has to offer and we live vicariously through each other in hopes that one day we can take the same adventure. So whether you win that free subscription or not, always “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”  

-Kenna 💗



Wild Solidarity  – Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. 

If you haven’t done so yet, head over to Union Sportsmen’s Alliance on Instagram (@unionsportsmen) or Facebook and give them a follow/ like to keep up with all of their accomplishments in helping conservation throughout North America. To become a member visit http://unionsportsmen.org. Awesome people and a great organization that I’m so happy to be apart of!!!!!!

Summer is coming and you’ll need your fishing license.

Maryland Now Offers a 365 day license to residents and non- resident.

Click Here To Purchase A Maryland State Fishing License

Extreme Sport on the Chesapeake By: Dennis Doyle

Extreme Sport on the Chesapeake

By: Dennis Doyle

The waterfowl hunter is a different sort of man — or woman.

Click to Read the Full Article! 



Finding Mr. Right

After trying to fix the problem multiple times things were still a bit rusty. I finally decided I needed to end things and stop wasting my time. You think you know exactly what you want and everyone has opinions but you need to decide for yourself. A wise man once said ” you need to hold the gun before you buy it” and that was probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten because the gun I originally wanted, i hate it. Ole Faithful, my Remington 870 let me down. Sea duck hunting one morning it stopped cycling and I had just gotten it fixed twice. Of course everyone thought I was covering up my missing shots but missing shots or not it was time to retire the rust bucket. A wonderful friend of mine, Mike was nice enough to meet me one afternoon to look at all the different options to pick from. Not only myself but the boy behind the counter had no idea what we were in for. 20 gauge or 12, Benelli, Franchi or Beretta, it didn’t matter, I held every single shotgun in the store about 3 times. It was like interval training but with guns from one end of the counter to the other. Shoulder, disassemble and repeat…. The poor kid probably put his two weeks in because of all the knowledge mike threw at us, i’m sure he felt it was the wrong job after that. Overwhelmed with all my options, I did decide what I wanted. THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONE! Who would have guessed that?? BUT, you pay for what you get. A year later and the love is still going strong.

I decided on the Beretta A400 Xtreme because it was a comfortable fit and had good qualities to add. Its a semi automatic 3.5 inch gun that’s gas operated, it can be customized to size and its quick!!! I highly recommend it for women because its 70% less recoil AND not because we are wimps or can’t handle it but because we were blessed with bigger boobs. Hold the gun wrong one time and ouchhhh! The less recoil is also great because you won’t feel so beat up after a long day of hunting or shooting in general. Overall, its awesome for anyone who’s looking for a waterfowl gun. For all my non hunters, Beretta makes the same gun specifically for clay shooters. Its the A400 Xcel, the only difference is that it is a 3 inch gun.

If you are in the market for something new, even with my share of Beretta pride take the time to see what works best for you. SOOOO many awesome guns out there with crazy features you don’t wanna pass them up!!!!