Outdoorwoman and reality TV star Candice Mishler lets it fly.
Growing up in Arizona, when did you start fishing and hunting, and who got you into it?
I grew up a tomboy and a daddy’s girl. I was always with my dad whether he was working on his trucks in the front yard or we were going shooting or camping on the weekend. I wanted to be by his side from a young age. I wasn’t a typical girl dressing up and playing with Barbies. I took a mechanic’s class as a kid because my dad said, “You have to be able to work on your own car and be independent and strong.” I fell in love with the outdoors and spent countless weekends camping, fishing, and hunting with my dad. That’s just how I was raised. Dad still lives about 10 minutes away from me, and we’re still very close.
You do a little bit of everything—which do you prefer, fishing or hunting?
I like it all. But I enjoy fishing because I don’t have to pull a tag and can just go out every weekend and catch fish. In Arizona, you don’t pull a tag every year—it might be every five years—so there are gaps in between that I fill with fishing.
What is your favorite thing to fish for, and where is your favorite place to fish?
I enjoy freshwater fishing, and largemouth bass are my absolute favorite to catch. Lake Pleasant is my go-to fishing spot. I try to fish in California or Florida once a year to do deep-sea fishing. Last year, I chartered a boat out of San Francisco, and it was just my son and I. We spent the weekend deep-sea fishing. Those are memories that last forever.
You‘ve appeared on a couple of reality shows (90-Day Fiancé: the Single Life Season 3 and Naked and Afraid Season 15). How did those opportunities come about, and how was your experience on Naked and Afraid?
They reached out to me through Instagram and asked me if I was interested. At first I thought it was a scam. I had always watched the show with my dad. I went through the casting process and was selected. My challenge was in Zambia. It was like waking up in the Lion King every day. It was surreal—beautiful and scary at the same time. I brought my recurve bow with me. It gave me the chance to capitalize on my skills. I thought I was prepared for it, but I had never been away from my family for that long, and it was very cold at night. I started to weaken, and I went down a rabbit hole mentally. I let lot of people down. It was hard for me to go home, and I would love the opportunity to redeem myself.
Do you have an interest in doing more TV?
I would love to make the 21-day challenge, whether it is solo or in a group setting. For myself, my family, and anyone who follows me, I want to show them that I can do it. I want redemption!
What’s your favorite thing to hunt for, and what’s your most memorable hunting trip?
In Arizona, my favorite thing to hunt is bull elk. I actually pulled a tag this year, so I have a hunt planned for December with my dad. I have been trying to get a bear for five years. That’s high on my bucket list. I would love to go to the East Coast and hunt for eastern Whitetail. Those deer are beautiful. I would love to go to Africa and go on an exotic hunt.
My dad and I drew tags together five years ago, which was so exciting. I told him when we drew our tags that on opening day we were going to find a bachelor herd and both shoot bull elk. On opening morning at 10 a.m., we found a bachelor herd—I told my dad to take the large one and I’d get the smaller one. We shot at the exact same time, and they fell together.
I know you bow hunt and bow fish. Do you prefer archery to rifle hunting?
Archery is much harder than rifle hunting. You have to know wind directions and spot and stalk. I like bow hunting because it’s more of a challenge for me and puts my skills to the test. I bowfish all the time. It depends on what mood I’m in.
You have a 17-year-old son; what do you teach him about the outdoors? Does he hunt and fish with you?
I think it’s important to teach him. He shares the same passions as me, and I want him to pass it on to his kids. I’ve put it in his foundation. But he’s in high school, so right now he’s all about school, girls, and football. But he’ll come back to it!
As a woman in the outdoor industry, do you feel a responsibility to get other women out there?
I do. I have a lot of women who reach out to me on Instagram and ask for advice. I was blessed to have my dad teach me all these things at a young age, so I want to share that with other people. When women reach out to me, 100 percent of the time I respond to them and try to motivate them and find ways to make that achievable for them. It makes me feel like I have a purpose.
Do you have any great one-that-got-away stories?
Two years ago, I had an archery javelina tag in Arizona. They’re pretty easy to spot and stalk. I spotted a herd from about 20 yards, pulled back, and I missed. He didn’t even spook. I pulled back two more times and missed again before he finally took off. I had shooters fever, and I couldn’t get the javelin down from 20 yards. My friends gave me crap for weeks.
What’s your favorite gun that you own, and what’s your favorite gun to shoot?
My dad got me a .65 Creedmoor—that’s my go-to gun. I feel comfortable with it, and I know it’s dialed in. It’s my absolute favorite hunting gun. When I go target shooting, I carry a Smith & Wesson 9MM. That’s my go-to handgun. I get the most use out of those. And ARs are fun to shoot!
What do you like to do when you’re not outdoors or working or momming?
I honestly spend most of my time outdoors. I have a Razor Side by Side that I take out to go riding for the day. I pack a cooler, listen to music, and enjoy the scenery. I’m also girly, and every now and then I want to go to the spa and get a pedicure and go shopping. It’s a weird balance between girly and outdoorsy, and outdoorsy usually wins out. It’s like 80 percent, I’m outside with no makeup on playing in the dirt, and 20 percent I’m going to be a girl this weekend.
What’s your day job?
I own a construction company with my family called Doege Development, and we do commercial development in Arizona, Texas, and Nevada. I’m constantly in a male-dominated environment in my work life and in my free time. That motivated me to work hard and be better so I wouldn’t be overlooked.
What are your goals and plans for the future?
Once my son goes to college, I know I’ll have more time. But I know I want to continue growing my business. My family is retiring from our business, so a lot of my time is going to be building a new team and working to grow the company. But down the road, I want to be able to travel the world, go on exotic hunts, go fishing. So, work really hard right now, so in 10 years I can go do all these things I have such passion for.
* Catch Candice on the new season of Naked & Afraid: Castaways airing this fall on Discovery.