My Journey Into Hunting

My Journey Into Hunting

My journey into hunting started long before I was born. Hunting has been a part of my family for generations. We were raised with the notion that "not every kid will be a hunter, but they should all know the skill and value our hunting legacy." I grew up in rural Oklahoma on 55 acres, where managing predators to protect our livestock and crops was a regular activity. However, I was only taken hunting a handful of times.

My grandparents visited every year, and it was always a fun guessing game among us kids to figure out what wild game meat they would bring. My grandpa was an avid hunter who valued sharing his harvest and knowledge with us. Though I didn’t grow up hunting regularly, I did grow up as a marksman. Firearms were a common part of my childhood. A Daisy BB gun and a hand-me-down .22 rifle were my favorites, and we shot them frequently. Shooting and hunting have always held a special place in my life.

author's granddad shared his passion for hunting and fishing
The author's grandfather, Larry Davis, shared his passion for hunting and fishing with her at an early age and inspired her to experience the outdoor life.

As I transitioned into my adult years, I shared with my husband my desire to learn to hunt. This was not only to continue my family’s hunting heritage but also to provide nutrient-rich food for our growing family. As a homeschooling mom with young children, this proved challenging. However, when my husband was assigned to his third duty station, my opportunity arose. Understanding and complying with hunting regulations was crucial for me, so I took the free NRA Online Hunter Education course that covered safety and ethical hunting practices.

Initially, my husband was invited on a hog hunt by a co-worker, which led to a mentorship and eventually to us joining a hunting lease. I began sharing our hunting journey on social media, marking the start of my solo hunting endeavors. Statistically, women don't often hunt alone, but as a military family with limited babysitting options, I either had my children with me in the stand or my husband and I took turns watching them.

When my husband received orders to return to our home state of Oklahoma, I seized the opportunity to dive deeper into hunting. I connected with women’s hunting groups and began exploring the hunting compartments on the military installation. These connections and experiences have been invaluable, helping me to grow as a hunter and continue the legacy for our family.

As I deepened my hunting skills, I also discovered a supportive community of female hunters who shared my passion. This network has been instrumental in providing guidance, encouragement and camaraderie. My journey into hunting has not only strengthened our family's bond but has also instilled a sense of pride and accomplishment in me as I continue to pass down this heritage to my children and promote the benefits of taking wild game from field to table for our family.

author enjoys preparing wild game for her family

The Learning Process
As my hunting journey progressed, I took what I was taught as a child and began taking the initial steps to continue to educate myself. I started by reading books, watching instructional videos, learning various calls and attending workshops on hunting techniques. Some of my favorite events were women’s range days and shotgun clinics.

Challenges were inevitable, from learning to track game to developing the patience required for successful hunts. I faced physical challenges, such as improving my stamina for long hikes, and mental challenges, like staying focused and calm under pressure. Overcoming these obstacles involved dedicated practice, persistence and a commitment to continuous learning. After that first year back in Oklahoma, I solo harvested a cow elk on Ft. Sill. That hunt is still one of my most treasured accomplishments.

Physical and mental preparation were essential. I engaged in regular exercise to build the strength and endurance needed for hunting. Mentally, I practiced mindfulness and visualization techniques to improve my focus and decision-making skills during hunts.

Finding mentors and supportive communities played a significant role in my growth as a hunter. Some of these individuals have become my best friends. I am grateful to have connected with experienced hunters who generously shared their knowledge and offered guidance. Joining local hunting groups and online forums provided a sense of community and access to valuable resources. These connections not only enhanced my skills but also enriched my hunting experience by fostering a supportive and encouraging environment. Mentorship is a valuable tool; I have now been able to mentor my own kids and a few new hunters. Those experiences have been just as rewarding.

The Hunting Experience and Its Rewards
I've had many “firsts” in my hunting journey, each contributing to my growth as a well-rounded sportswoman. Each hunt has been an exhilarating experience, filled with a mix of anticipation and nervousness. The thrill of the hunt, the beauty of diverse terrain and the companionship of fellow hunters make it unforgettable. These experiences reinforce my passion for hunting, teaching me valuable lessons about patience and strategy.

I love big-game hunting just as much as turkey and duck hunting; any opportunity to get into the outdoors excites me. Solo hunting continues to push me to improve my still-hunting skills and spot-and-stalk techniques. Additionally, the camaraderie that hunting provides is something I truly cherish. I’ve made countless unforgettable memories with friends, and most of all, with my husband and kids. These experiences have deepened my appreciation for the sport and solidified my commitment to preserving the American hunting tradition.

The Call to Continue My Journey
Preserving hunting for future generations is crucial, and I am dedicated to involving my children in this heritage. We need everyone to continue to secure the vote to protect this way of life. I teach my kids about wildlife and conservation, share our family stories and traditions, and hope to instill a deep appreciation for hunting. I’m thankful to add my own stories and be a piece of that legacy. As a writer for several outdoor media outlets, I share hunting stories, tips and gear reviews, promoting women in the outdoors and representing minorities and mothers. I've collaborated with several outdoor brands and had a few opportunities to travel for hunts.

My goal is to continue my hunting journey and get my kids and others involved as much as possible. I enjoy crossbow and gun hunting and recently added a compound bow to my arsenal. Statistics show that women and mothers are a growing demographic in the hunting industry, and I'm proud to be part of this recognized movement. I encourage others to explore hunting, to discover the fulfillment it brings and to consider the importance of preserving this tradition.