Competitive shooter Julie Golob taking advantage of Montana’s hunting opportunities

2013-09-05T00:05:00Z 2013-09-06T18:36:13Z Competitive shooter Julie Golob taking advantage of Montana’s hunting opportunitiesBRETT FRENCH french@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Known for shooting multiple rounds quickly and accurately with a handgun, Julie Golob is hoping she gets a chance to fling a single arrow at a big bull elk this fall in northeastern Montana after the season opens Saturday.

“Even to be close to an elk would be a highlight,” she said.

Golob has been a competitive shooter since her father, Peter Goloski, introduced her to the sport at age 14 when she was growing up in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Her most recent achievement was winning her third National Rifle Association Bianchi Cup Women’s Championship, only one of four women to have earned “Distinguished” status in the sport of action pistol.

But that’s just one honor in a long line for the 36-year-old Glasgow resident and mother of two.

Heavy medalist

Golob has won more than 120 championships in seven different action shooting disciplines. She is the captain of the Smith & Wesson shooting team. She has authored a book on shooting and competition, and in her younger days Golob was recruited by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. In 1999 she was awarded the U.S. Army Female Athlete of the Year Award – the first and only action shooter to receive the award.

“I haven’t met a shooting sport I haven’t liked,” she said. “Right now, I do like the fast paced run and gun.”

During her rise in the world of sport shooting, Golob has received a lot of acclaim and notice.

“She has grown into being probably the most effective female ambassador for the shooting sports – specifically handgun sports – of anybody in the 20 years we’ve been doing the show,” said Jim Scoutten, host of the Outdoor Channel’s “Impossible Shots” show, which has shot features on Golob.

Scoutten remembers watching her on the U.S. Army team.

“She has had the benefit of some of the very best coaching over the years,” Scoutten said. “She probably shot 40,000 rounds every year, that’s what it takes to become skilled.”

Even now Golob said she practices about three to five times a week, two to six hours on those days, not including the time she spends cleaning and maintaining gear.

Montana move

So what is Golob doing hiding out on the remote plains of Montana? Her husband’s work brought the family to the area five years ago, and now they think they may have found a new home.

“I love the people,” she said. “It’s like stepping back in time. There’s such a small town feel. It doesn’t have all of that crazy hustle and bustle. That, and the hunting is spectacular here. And it’s beautiful. I think we’ll be Montanans forever.”

She said the wide-open landscape reminded her of a trip she took to South Africa.

Golob grew up hunting whitetail deer. Back East, that meant sitting in a tree stand for hours. So when she arrived in Montana she was anxious to hunt mule deer because the style of hunting is so different – spotting an animal far off with binoculars and planning a stalk.

“It’s so different from whitetail hunting, so interactive,” she said. “But I still like whitetail hunting.”

She also shot her first pronghorn antelope on a solo hunt, something she’s particularly proud of. And this year she’ll take part in the inaugural Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, something she’s excited to participate in partly because she’ll be teaching the participants one of her favorite recipes – pronghorn pho, a Vietnamese soup dish with rice.

The event is a fundraiser for the Wyoming Women’s Association and is meant to help women learn how to hunt, process and prepare wild game so they can be more self-sufficient.

Golob posts some of her favorite recipes on her blog, noting that she and her husband have an affinity for Asian and other ethnic foods that they can’t find at restaurants in remote Montana.

TV personality

As if the mother of two isn’t busy enough, she can also be seen as an occasional guest on the “Impossible Shots” show where she once mimicked Annie Oakley’s shooting feats — only Golob used modern weapons.

Golob looks up to Oakley as a “woman before her time,” a progressive who was also an elegant speaker. She doesn’t draw any comparisons to the woman who has become almost synonymous with female marksmanship, but there’s no denying Golob is a modern-day promoter of the shooting sports by making appearances at trade shows, shooting competitions and as an advocate for her sponsors. She now travels 10 to 15 times a year.

“She has made it seem perfectly normal for a woman to carry a gun and know how to use it,” Scoutten said. “Yet there is nothing about her that is tough and aggressive.”

Changing sport

Since she began competing at 14, Golob has seen a number of transformations in shooting sports, none more impressive than the increase in the number of women and juniors competing.

“It’s really grown in just the last five to 10 years,” she said.

Golob doesn’t take any credit for that advance, although she admitted folks have told her that she was the reason a wife or daughter got started shooting. Now, she’s inaugurating a third generation in her own family. This summer she took her 5-year-old daughter to the shooting range for the first time, where she got to fire a pink single-shot .22.

The pistol had to be pink, Golob noted, because her daughter is such a princess.

“But she’s a rugged princess,” she added.

Golob hopes to use the same techniques she’s refined as a professional shooter to bag an elk this fall during the archery season. She said pulling the trigger on the compound bow’s release is similar to shooting a firearm.

If a big bull should come within 30 yards – her comfort zone for shooting her bow accurately – she will calm her nerves by focusing on her breathing.

“Slow, deep breaths help keep the heart rate down and my nerves at bay both on the range and in the field,” she said.

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