It didn’t take long for the bug to get under my skin—the hunting bug that is. I was not raised in a hunting family. Matter of fact, I was on the complete opposite end of the pendulum, a competitive equestrian who grew up on the emerald coast of Northwest Florida. My husband, Richard, created this unbridled monster and it has ran rampant every since.
My hunting world is three-fold. First, a husband and wife hunting duo traveling extensively each year to hunt just about anything edible; second, a mentor and advocate of women hunters dedicated to volunteering my efforts to scout, plan and host economical hunts for women throughout the year; and third, a writer specializing in product reviews of gear I personally field test on various hunts.
My eyes were opened up to hunting when I harvested a buck on my first trip to the woods; however, my heart was stolen on my first turkey hunt. I can still close my eyes and feel every sense I felt that morning as if it were happening in the moment. The morning dew as it lightly seeped through my pant legs. That subtle moment the sun broke the horizon, sending a chill up my spine. Hearing my first booming gobble resonating through the damp woods, bouncing off the pines, sending a spark up the nap of my neck. The sounds of fly-down cackles, clucking, purring and my favorite sound—just short of a gobble—the kee-kee run. But nothing, absolutely nothing, could be as magnificent as watching my first tom strut; morphing from a slim silhouette to a big blob with a few quick steps. The colors, sounds, and the regal way it tucked its head, as it slowly, methodically seemed to float several inches off the ground. It was love at first sight.
That has been 4 years, immeasurable footsteps, many miles and countless hours of all-night road trips, often 20 hours straight driving after 8+ hours of work in the concrete jungle. In that short time, I have been privileged to experience hunting Merriam turkeys in 3 foot of snow in the mountains of Montana. I spent an entire week solo on a self-guided bowhunt for deer and antelope on some beautiful alfalfa fields by the North Platte River of Wyoming. I wore the bruises from belly crawling the rocky basins of Kansas sneaking up on Rio turkeys. I was humbled by my first black bear harvest as I listened solemnly to the death moans echo in the motionless woods of the rocky terrain of beautiful Minnesota.
I have sat patiently hunting whitetail deer in the eerie, leafless cottonwoods of Kansas for countless hours until my lower limbs were numb. I felt the strain in my arms from reeling in a 350-pound gator on the black swampy waters of Central Florida. I have flown by the seat of my pants to successfully hunt 3 different game animals in 3 different states in 8 short days. I have reveled in achieving my personal goals of my first turkey grand slam and successfully harvesting game with rifle, bow, shotgun and muzzleloader in a one-year period. My perseverance and what I have achieved in this sport is something I would not have ever dreamed attainable.
My wish was for every woman hunter to experience the grandeur that I found on my hunts and my dream was to make that possible, especially those who did not have the excess financial means to do so. For that reason, I decided to volunteer my time in finding economical hunts, coordinating and hosting those hunts. That choice brought only one hardship, having to give up a media position that I enjoyed; one that enabled me to educate other women through my writings. A decision I did not have to think twice about because I knew my heart was in the right place.
That has been nearly 2 years and over 2-dozen self-hosted women’s hunts. The heartfelt gratification that I get from seeing other women enjoying camp, the experience of the hunt and, often, their harvest cannot be measured.
I pride myself in being an ethical hunter, passing on the knowledge that I have been fortunate enough to learn from some great mentors. At every opportunity, I believe in giving back to nature what nature has allowed me to enjoy, never taking it for granted. Hunting, sharing with others and committing to conservation is not only a passion; it is a way of life for me.