Joella Bates is a wildlife professional and dedicated outdoors participant with over 55 years of experience hunting and fishing. She worked as a naturalist, wildlife officer, fisheries manager, and environmental scientist before becoming an outdoors promoter. She can do it all: hunt, fish, and shoot any type of weapon with considerable skill. When it comes to archery, Joella shoots compound bows, crossbows, recurve bows, longbows, and selfbows. (She's even tried atlatl.) She is also a writer, speaker, instructor, coach, brand ambassador, and motivator drawing thousands into outdoor adventures. (She's even an awesome cook and an expert seamstress.)
After attending the University of Tennessee at Martin on a rifle scholarship and earning a B.S. in Natural Resources Management, she added an M.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Fisheries Management from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN. In 1996, Joella became an inductee into the UTM Athletic Hall of Fame for the sport of rifle.
She was honored as a 2013 Kentucky Colonel (ambassador of goodwill), 2011 inductee into the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame, and a 2005 inductee into the Outdoor Channel’s Circle of Honor. In 2004, Joella was selected as the Event Coordinator for the Jack Daniels – Field and Stream Magazine’s Total Outdoorsman Challenge. Joella coordinates many outfitted hunts for groups. Joella is actively involved in many outreach programs that connect youth, women, and families with the outdoor world through archery and other outdoor skills programs.
In 1989, Joella took up archery for bowhunting; she has taken over 80 different "species" of animals with her bows including becoming the first woman bowhunter to harvest a Cape buffalo in 2001; a Wild Turkey Grand Slam in 2004; and the Big 5 (lioness, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and green hunted a white rhinoceros) in 2009. She is the first bowhunter to take the Big 5 of Africa in a single safari in < 30 days.
Joella has earned 13 World Championships in archery. She claimed five 3-D Archery World Championship Titles with a compound bow – four as a Woman Pro and has earned over $100,000 in tournaments along with numerous national, regional, state, and local titles until an injury in 2003 sidelined her from competition. In 2015, Joella returned to competitive archery, but this time with a longbow. She has now claimed five 3-D World Championships with recurve barebow and two with a longbow. In 2017, Joella represented women’s barebow on the first TEAM USA to compete for the World Archery 3-D World Championship against 30 other countries in Robion France. In 2019 she changed disciplines to a longbow (with wood arrows) and represented the USA again on TEAM USA at the World Archery 3-D World Championship in Alberta, Canada. And in 2022, Joella represented the USA on TEAM USA at the World Archery 3-D Championship in Terni, Italy, again shooting a longbow.
Besides competing in Traditional archery, Joella spent much of her time (before COVID) conducting JOCAMPS Archery Boot Camps and training archery instructors for youth programs with NASP, S3DA, USA Archery, and Centershot Ministries. Joella spent over a year as the assistant coach at Bethel University where she presented over 22 million dollars in archery scholarships to top archers from S3DA and NASP.
In 2018, Joella spent 8-days at the Olympic Training Center learning the intricacies of the National Training System (NTS) and completed certification as a USA Archery Level 4 NTS Coach. This is the system she uses in her training and archers of all experience levels, whether hunting or competing, improve their archery shooting skills and consistency.
Whether you are looking to begin your archery journey, want to improve your or your team's competition skills, or you want to get ready for the upcoming hunting season and need some tune-up on your bow and some brush up on your skills, Joella is ready to help! If you would like to be trained and developed as a USA Archery Instructor or NASP/Centershot Basic Instructor, then set up some time with Joella. You will be amazed at how much improvement you and your team can make!
Passing on the Passion!