Photo courtesy Christine Cunningham This photo of Christine Cunningham while hunting in the fall of 2014. Cunningham trains and hunts with English Setters and chocolate labradors for tracking waterfowl in Alaska.

Photo courtesy Christine Cunningham This photo of Christine Cunningham while hunting in the fall of 2014. Cunningham trains and hunts with English Setters and chocolate labradors for tracking waterfowl in Alaska.

Kenai woman wins national hunting award

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Monday, December 15, 2014 11:08pm
  • News

Kenai resident Christine Cunningham was still unable to process the announcement that she was the 2014 winner of the Prois Award hours after receiving the news Monday.

The Prois Award celebrates female hunters who are passionate about hunting and dedicated to their community, conservation and the betterment of hunting in the future, according to the Prois website. Cunningham will receive Prois hunting apparel, boots, game bags, packs and spend a five-day, two-species hunt in Namibia, Africa with Mogwadiri Safaris.

Longtime hunting partner and close friend Steve Meyer said when he introduced Cunningham to the sport in 2006, she immediately showed some natural skill.

“It was like creating a monster,” Meyer said. “She just fell in love with it.”

Cunningham submitted an essay and photograph detailing her passion and dedication to hunting. When she made it into the list of six finalists, she created a video summarizing the critical importance of conservation in relation to the future of hunting and sustainable living.

“When we think of the most serious threats to hunting today, the most critical issue is loss of habitat,” Cunningham said in the video. “There’s more people using public lands than ever before. The government agencies managing those lands have ideologies that are increasingly counter to what hunting is and what it means.”

Meyer said Cunningham may be the key to keeping the subsistence lifestyle a possibility. Her ability to open up the pastime to new enthusiasts and focus on preserving the environment that supports the wildlife they hunt makes Cunningham the perfect ambassador for the sport, he said.

Cunningham takes it all in stride, Meyer said. She has written for Alaska Magazine, Hunter Safety Instructor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Hunter Education Program, according to her submission essay. Cunningham spends free time hiking and kayaking, but the outdoors took on a whole new dimension when she began hunting. It is a whole different way to show appreciation and make a connection with the wilderness, she said.

“We want to be adding something to the outdoors, not taking something away,” Cunningham said. “For each animal we take out, we want to put two back in.”

Meyer and Cunningham ice fish in the winter, have spent time together on the trap line and hunt big game. Their favorite animal to track is waterfowl, he said. On the heels of their eight English setters and three chocolate Labradors, they have spent time sifting the state for different bird hunting spots.

One Friday evening Meyer and Cunningham drove north of Fairbanks to hunt for only a few hours, then turned right around, Meyer said.

“Christine is such a great ambassador for the lifestyle that we all love so much,” Meyer said.

The female demographic is the only area in hunting that is growing, Meyer said. Hunters need the support of non-hunters to keep the lands open for use, he said.

“I found each woman who hunts has an incredible potential to recruit other hunters,” Cunningham said in her submission essay. “It is one of the reasons I believe women are the future of hunting.”

Women like Cunningham are building a new image and changing public perception of the sport, Meyer said.

“Some of my best friends are hunting dogs, my best memories are in the field,” Cunningham said. “After a day of hunting, I have the best sleep of my life.”


Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Sens. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini /Juneau Empire)
State Senate bill would bump per-student funding amount by $1,000

If approved, the legislation would bump state education funding by more than $257 million

Recognizable components make up this metal face seen in a sculpture by Jacob Nabholz Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Kenai Art Center, in Kenai, Alaska, as part of Metalwork & Play. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Metalwork gets time to shine

Metal is on showcase this month at the Kenai Art Center

This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, that recommends allowing three oil drilling sites in the region of far northern Alaska. The move, while not final, has angered environmentalists who see it as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote green energy. (ConocoPhillips via AP)
Biden administration recommends major Alaska oil project

The move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists

Homer Electric Association General Manager Brad Janorschke testifies before the Senate Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Screenshot via Gavel Alaska)
Senate group briefed on future of Cook Inlet gas

Demand for Cook Inlet gas could outpace supply as soon as 2027

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Peninsula voices join state debate over school funding

Lawmakers heard pleas from education leaders around Alaska to increase the state’s base student allocation

Tamera Mapes and a client laugh and joke with one another during a free haircut at Project Homeless Connect on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Caring and connecting

Project Homeless Connect offers a variety of services

This September 2011 aerial photo provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, shows the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, effectively vetoed a proposed copper and gold mine in the remote region of southwest Alaska that is coveted by mining interests but that also supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. (Joseph Ebersole/EPA via AP)
EPA blocks Pebble Mine

Pebble called the EPA’s action “unlawful” and political and said litigation was likely

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 cases continue to climb

Statewide hospitalizations decreased slightly

A plow truck clears snow from the Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna council approves extra $100k for snow removal

At the end of December, the department was already more than $27,000 over their $100,000 budget for snow removal

Most Read