“I want to become a hunter, I don’t come from a hunting family, and I don’t know anyone who hunts. How would you suggest I start?” This was the first thing I asked about 100 different people at several outdoor conventions. I was determined to learn how to hunt, but I had no clue where to start. That was about a year ago, and I can definitely say that a lot has changed since then.
I’ve always been interested in hunting, but I never knew how to begin. Looking back, I was very ignorant to a lot of things. Just like most non-hunters, I didn’t understand how much hunters contributed to conservation, and how strictly hunting is regulated. If you’d asked me about public land, I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about even though I hiked and swam in state parks. I didn’t understand how people hunted, but I knew it was a possibility. And after various health issues in 2017, I was dead-set on learning how to harvest the most organic meat on the planet.
It can be intimidating trying to become a hunter – especially being a female in a male-dominated industry – but luckily there are a lot of new programs that are making it easier. For instance, I joined the NWTF in New Jersey where they’ve started a Women in the Outdoors program to introduce women to hunting. This allowed me to find two mentors who took me on a number of hunts which didn’t result in an animal harvest but allowed me the chance to learn much faster than I would have on my own.
This was the first time in my life that I’d been a part of the process of my meals from start to finish. That same evening, Christina and her family helped me butcher my buck – I have never had such a gratifying experience in my life. There was a spiritual connection I had to this animal knowing where it came from and that it would now be used to nourish my body. The best part of that day was calling my mom and hearing her scream into the phone because she was just as excited as I was about finally harvesting a wild game animal. After that, I was completely hooked, and I couldn’t keep away from the outdoors. Since then, I’ve tried waterfowl hunting and fly fishing, and I can’t say that I’m going to give up these new addictions any time soon.