I grew up immersed in the outdoors traveling with my family all over the state of Arkansas as we hunted or fished from one season to the next. I attended private Christian schools throughout my adolescence and was involved in various sports, which helped develop a strong work ethic. I entered college in 2012 with no idea what I wanted to study, but I knew I had a passion for the outdoors. Four and a half years later I turned that passion into a degree, and graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business Public Relations.
Upon graduating college, I began a career in marketing completing freelance or contract work for various companies in the outdoor industry. In 2017, I was thrilled to begin the journey as a Co-Host for Ducks Unlimited TV. Growing up duck hunting in Arkansas gave me a special appreciation for working mallards in the flooded timber. It is honestly a dream come true to be a part of DU TV. I am excited to help promote wetland and waterfowl conservation, which is something I hold close to my heart. I want to ensure that one day my children will be fortunate enough to covet the passion for duck hunting the same as I have. I also want to encourage more women to start duck hunting to experience the unique camaraderie that is built in a duck blind among friends and family.
I also work as a field reporter and social media manager for the Super Retriever Series during events throughout the year. Since coming on board with the SRS in 2016, I have fallen in love with watching dog and handler teams work together while competing in the SRS hunt savvy field trials. I enjoy speaking with handlers on-air and working behind the camera gathering social media content to promote the events. This sparked a passion for dog training that I did not know I possessed, and I now I am addicted to the game as well. I enjoy competing in hunt tests with my personal dog, Nita, and growing with her as a team. Hopefully one day you will see us running the SRS!
In October 2017, my last name changed from Holland to Harper. I married a true southern gentleman who shares the same values as myself and is an avid outdoorsman with a knack for calling ducks and training dogs. My husband Grant works as a Traveling Physical Therapist, and I could not be more proud of him. Our paths have lined up seamlessly and I am excited to see what God has in store for us.
Over the years I have grown my social media platforms by sharing my morals, values, experiences and appreciation for the beauty in nature provided by God to inspire and educate people from all walks of life. I hope that I can be a positive role model for women and the next generation of hunters.
How I got to where I am today
My passion for the outdoors began at a young age because my family lived in a cabin on the White River on the outskirts of Stuttgart. We operated a duck hunting lodging and guide service, which was a major part of my childhood. I started tagging along with my father and brother on their hunting and fishing excursions at the age of three. My mother always encouraged them to take me, because she saw how beneficial it was to my older brother. At a young age, I learned the responsibly of carrying a gun and developed a great respect for wildlife. I believe hunting is more about the whole experience, learning life lessons, and spending quality time with family.
When we moved to North Little Rock, I attended kindergarten through eighth grade at a small private school. This is where the foundation was laid that would create a lasting impact on my life. I knew what was expected of me and always strived to do my best, whether it was in academics, athletics or my walk with Christ. I was surrounded by a community of wholesome people who encouraged and supported me in all of my endeavors.
When I was nine years old I went elk hunting for two weeks with my dad in the Colorado Wilderness. I believe I learned more about life there than books could have ever taught me in that amount of time. This trip is a tradition in my family and I went with my dad again when I was twelve, but that time I carried my bow. I was not able to harvest an elk, but the experience of living off the land and appreciation I gained for nature and wildlife, are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I would not say I had the typical high school experience. I credit Mount Saint Mary Academy for my academic success and preparation for college courses. Wearing a uniform everyday was nothing out of the ordinary for me, but it was an adjustment only having girls in the classroom. It allowed me to be more focused on learning, rather than what I was wearing or how I looked. All four years I played school volleyball, junior Olympic volleyball, and ran track as an MSM Belle. My senior year I had the opportunity to be on the first women’s physical fitness team as a part of ROTC at our brother school, Catholic High. There is nothing like 6 a.m. workouts five days a week to instill not only physical strength, but mental strength in a person. I was awarded “Most Valuable Cadet” because of my work ethic and constant desire to improve.
I did not have a desire to follow the crowd in high school. I had my close group of friends and was busy balancing school work, sports, the outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle. I had people judge me for working out and being physically fit. Boys would say I had broad shoulders and should “stop trying to be a guy” because I drove a truck and enjoyed hunting and fishing. This was a big turning point in my life. I was hurt at first, but then realized just because I like to do “manly” things does not make me manly. Not everyone is going to agree with my life choices and that is okay. This was the very beginning of what sparked my passion for promoting femininity in the outdoors. It is something I hold very close to my heart and I do not want any girl to feel less feminine because she enjoys hunting, fishing or working out.
I graduated from Mount Saint Mary Academy in 2012 with honors and a 3.9 grade point average. I was awarded the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship and a Second Century Scholars Scholarship from Arkansas Tech University to help pay for my college tuition. I was also a recipient of the Arkansas Game and Fish Conservation Scholarship and the Little Rock Grain Exchange Scholarship, which completely covered my tuition. I was fortunate enough to only work in the summers to save money to budget throughout the school year.
I worked at Safety Before Skill teaching private swim lessons for three summers. Coaching was very enjoyable for me because I had played sports the majority of my life. Playing sports taught me how to take constructive criticism and directly apply it to my goals. However, I realized not everyone else is that way. With each kid I had to adapt my style of coaching to best fit their needs. I had to first build a foundation of trust and I believe I ultimately taught my kids more than just how to swim. I encouraged and praised each student to be confident in themselves and always try their best. At the end of the day I realized my students were teaching me just as much as I was teaching them.
During college I was actively involved in various clubs and organizations on campus. I am a member of the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, but I would not say I am your average sorority girl. I was also the secretary and social media coordinator for our National Wild Turkey Federation chapter and public relations chairman for our collegiate Ducks Unlimited chapter. The Agriculture Department has an elite group of student leaders called Ag Ambassadors, which I had the honor of joining in the Spring of 2015. By taking on various leadership roles, I have learned not only skills to help strengthen myself as a leader, but how to also work together as a team to achieve a common goal.
I also had an internship with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission during the summer of 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed working in the Communications Department and developed lasting friendships with my fellow coworkers. Interning for the AGFC was probably the best summer job I could have ever accepted. It combined my passion for the outdoors and sharing information about conservation with the public. I wrote articles about various topics ranging from nursery ponds to urban deer hunts. I also learned how to operate professional grade cameras, edit videos and use various forms of media (radio, TV and social media) to reinforce our agency’s message. Working for the AGFC laid a solid foundation of knowledge about Arkansas’ wildlife and conservation efforts.
Another aspect of my life I learned to balance in college was traveling on hunting and fishing trips with my family. Finding time to hunt as a college student was not always easy, but it made me appreciate the time I spent in the woods so much more. I believe hunting is a way of disconnecting from all the distractions in life and focusing on the present moment. It is not only my release, but my passion. I took my school work in the woods or out on the water with me multiple times. I had to discipline myself to stick to my studies because that was my main focus. I worked incredibly hard to graduate in December of 2016 with a cumulative GPA of 3.88 for nine semesters while still enjoying my college experience.
I love sharing my passion for the outdoors with people I encounter. In 2015 I started to actively grow my social media pages primarily focusing on hunting, fishing and the relationship it builds with my family and friends. Little did I know this would be the start of something potentially life changing. One of my goals is to use my experiences in the outdoors to shed a positive light on the perception of hunting. I also enjoy empowering and connecting with other women who hunt through social media. Growing up I was the only girl, and now I love being surrounded by a group of knowledgeable women. Times are changing and hunting is not a man’s sport anymore. I aim to enlighten people with not only an ethical view, but a woman’s view.
Now, three years later, I have stayed true to myself and am surrounded by a strong group of men and women supporters. Through various hunting and fishing trips I have formed lasting friendships among likeminded individuals in the industry. Along the way I have also started doing contract work for companies such as Ducks Unlimited TV, The Super Retriever Series, and Jagemann Sporting Group. I look forward to being a cohost on DUTV to help engage more people, especially women, in waterfowl hunting and conservation. I believe in supporting companies that accommodate sportsmen and women to help more people be able to experience the best lifestyle – the outdoors lifestyle.
I am open to any possibilities the future may hold, as long as I am following my love for the outdoors. It is more than a hobby to me. It is a lifestyle that I plan to pass onto my children one day and for future generations to enjoy. Hunting and fishing does not define who I am, but rather helped shape and mold me into the person I am today.