I didn’t grow up in a family that hunted and hunting wasn’t introduced to me until I was in my early 20’s so… How did I get into hunting?
I’ve always liked the outdoors, minus the bugs and snakes. I like camping, hiking, and fishing but, I never thought I would become a hunter. It wasn’t that I was against hunting, I just didn’t have anyone who was in my immediate circle who hunted and wanted to share that knowledge with me.
Hunting was introduced to me via my boyfriend. He had a friend who hunted and my boyfriend wanted to get into hunting as well. Being a loving and supportive girlfriend, I supported him however I could, having a warm meal ready whenever he got home, staying up late to make sure he got home safe from a hunt, etc. After his first year of hunting turkey and deer I started asking if I could go scouting with him, or sitting in a blind for a hunt. After all, he was spending lots of time and energy into this hunting thing and I wanted to know what all the hype was about.
I’d be lying if I said the first time I sat in a blind had me hooked. It was muggy outside, there were bugs, I had to wash my clothes in a weird soap that made them not smell, I had to wash myself in a weird soap so that I wouldn’t smell, and we had to get up before the sun was up! But, there was something inside me that urged me to continue to tagging along.
When my boyfriend purchased his first “nice” bow, I got his old bow as a hand-me-down and I started to explore shooting. I pulled, maybe, thirty pounds when I first started and I enjoyed target practice with him. It was time we got to spend together doing something that we both enjoyed. I liked archery because I was good at it. I gave myself goals to work toward. I wanted to be a good shot and I wanted to increase my draw weight so that I could hunt if I wanted to.
I also started asking more questions. I’m sure some of them were pretty silly, by the laughter that was generated from my boyfriend but, I wanted to know more about hunting, archery, and what we were doing. My boyfriend proved to be a wealth of information and I learned a lot from him. I did my own research too and found blogs, Youtube videos, and posts like Women’s Outdoor News, Huntress View, and Follow Her Arrow. These showed me other awesome badass women who were avid hunters, fishers, outdoorsmen, etc. When I found these other women posting about their hunts and experiences, I felt like hunting was something I could do. After all, other women were doing it too so maybe it wasn’t quite the “boys club” I had thought it would be.
At this point I became even more hands on with my boyfriends hunting. I helped him process his kills gradually. I worked my way from just processing slabs of meat to meeting him in the field to field dress. I learned the whole process from start to finish. In my mind, the meat processing was going to be one of the most difficult things for me to handle emotionally and I didn’t want to commit to hunting until I knew I could complete all parts of the hunting process.
Once I decided I was really going to hunt I worried about the bow I had been shooting. It was a basic model that people could for their kids to grow into, and shooting past twenty yards with any kind of consistent accuracy was next to impossible. Luckily, I was set to graduate college soon and my boyfriends dad gifted me a pro-series bow as my graduation/Christmas gift. I went to several bowshops and tried a few different models before deciding that I loved the Bowtech Eva Shockey with a fifty pound draw. My new bow gave me power, speed, and the confidence that I could ethically kill a large animal.
Practicing shooting became more fun, I got the proper arrows for my bow (I had been shooting hand-me-downs), and I did research into what broadheads I wanted and found the ones I would eventually kill my first deer with. We scouted for deer beginning in January through the beginning of deer season, I got my hunter safety certificate and participated in the 2017 turkey season.
I enjoyed spending time with my boyfriend, doing something he also enjoyed doing but, I found that the process was challenging to me and gave me something to work hard for. I looked forward to finding sign of animals, and I made scouting a mental game to try and see sign before my boyfriend. Being a hunter became an identity for me. I loved when co-workers would ask me questions about my hunts or the wildlife I encountered. I enjoyed staying up to date with legislation that affected wildlife management and hunting, and I hoped to be a good ambassador for hunters.
In my next post of this series I plan to go into the ethics of why I hunt and what hunting means to me. Subscribe to the right so you don’t miss a post!