Who Inspires You?
There are many female role models in the hunting industry, and I feel blessed to have met some of them in person, including Olivia Nalos Opre, Jana Waller and Kristy Titus, that we see doing amazing things for our veterans, conservation efforts and promoting women hunters. But there are far more of us “regular” non-professional female hunters out there that hunt and fish and would love to be able to give back more to our local wildlife associations, conservation organizations, and supporting our military for example, but we may not have the audience, resources or sometimes the politically correct words to be able to inspire as much as these women.
So what can we do? Well, I think that not only do we need to work together more but turn our efforts into more positive empowerment towards other women. On social media, I have seen a lot of negativity towards women, from other women about certain clothes they are wearing while hunting, or some women in full makeup just to name a few. Who cares? As long as what they are doing or promoting is legal, ethical and morally right towards hunting and conservation efforts why do we feel the need as a society to scoff at the fact that she has on diamond earrings or has her nails painted pink.
There are two women that I have met in the last two years, and am forever grateful for the opportunity to hunt with them and call friends. I met Candace “CamoCandace” and Lindsay “HuntFiber” through social media and after talking about planning a trip to hunt together, things finally started to fall into place.
Last February I met Candace in Texas to hunt hogs. This would be my first time hunting hogs and hunting with another female. I’ve had other women in the hunting group, but never next to me making decisions about which route to take, where to set up, and if we should pursue or wait.
Now you would think that the first time hunting with another female would be with a family member or best friend. Nope, I had only “met” her a few hours prior. I say “met” because we had talked on the phone and chatted on social media but this was the first time meeting Candace in person. She picked me up from the airport and within minutes the awkwardness was gone and we were planning strategies for that nights hunt.
We got set up right before dark so I could familiarize my surroundings a little bit. Hunting in the dark was a whole new experience for me too, but that’s another story.
We took silly pictures and selfies to mark this event, not only for ourselves, but for our “Twitter Hunting Family” that was eagerly awaiting to hear how this adventure was going.
The two nights we hunted together, we sat quietly listening to the coyotes howl, wondered for forever what that strange noise was, finally figuring out it was roosting turkeys, watching the skunk cross in front of us at 15 yards, multiple times, walking up on two foxes mating, stalking way out into this field to try and determine what animal was looking at us, it was a bird, trying to catch an armadillo, running full speed in snake boots the mile up to the other feeder, with an arrow knocked, trying to shoot a rabbit at 2am, having the cows so close you keep looking over your shoulder thinking they are going to step on you, shooting my first raccoon, wandering aimlessly through the dark to try and circle around the hogs, and drawing my bow on a hog only to have them scatter.
I feel sure I’m leaving out some key details but the main thing that I took away from this experience, other than the memories, was that I felt we were able to communicate in almost pitch black darkness and almost utter silence like we had been hunting buddies forever.
To me this is a huge testament to one’s character. Being completely happy sitting next to a stranger bonding over the same passion.
Meeting up to hunt Lindsay was similar, only we had met once before while I was driving through town and chatted while our kids played. This time, we were without the kids and headed to a remote area neither one of us had been to, out of cell service, to hunt wolves in the middle of winter in Montana.
We got out of the truck, put on feet and hand warmers, strapped on all our gear and headed off. Day one was a disaster. We decided to leave our snow shoes in the truck and accidentally forgot the remote to the predator call. But neither one of us was mad. We just changed our plan accordingly, learned more about the area, and had more silent laughs at me struggling through knee deep snow.
Trusting that I know what I saw, and believing it enough to trudge through deep snow for hours in search of footprints in an area that would take days to scout. Not giving up.
Being able to communicate in silent, knowing that those tracks are of a huge mountain lion, sitting back to back, listening to the predator call, knowing it could call in much more than what we were hunting, but being completely at peace and knowing the person sitting next to me had my back, literally, should events take a different turn.
I may not always agree with every decision, tweet, post, comment, lifestyle, that any and every hunter or outdoorsman/woman might make, but I do think there needs to be a lot more support, instead of hatred, jealousy and negativity.
Who inspires you? Who makes you want to be better? Who would you like to have sitting next to you in the dark?
I would gladly hunt with these two women again and am thankful for their support and encouragement and they continue to inspire me to be a better person, business owner, and hunter.