Hunting dates back to as far as anyone can possibly think of.
Weapons were crafted and hunts were taken to forge for the next meal in order to survive. The art of hunting was passed down through generations, becoming more modernized along with the people who participated. Now, hunting is not only used for a means of food consumption but a sport that has become a tradition in many families, including mine. Although it is considered an activity dominated by males, females are becoming predominant figures in the community, and I happen to be one of them.
Hunting has played a large role in my life from the young age of six. My great grandfather hunted, passing it down to his son, who proceeded to teach my dad and uncle. When my father had two girls, there was no question that one of us was going to be taught the sport that he had known growing up his entire life. I remember watching him leave for trips to Iowa and Missouri, with bags upon bags of camouflage outfits and equipment, wondering what in the world he could be doing, returning with nothing short of heads of humongous deer that would soon be placed on our wall.
My already boy-like demeanor was intrigued, and I was gifted my first BB gun when I was just six-years-old. I was taught the basic safety and responsibility that it took to handle a firearm, and I took the power and ran with it. I dabbled in hunting small birds and squirrels on our family camping trips, loving the adrenaline that would course through my body when I felt the squeeze of the trigger on my fingertips. I would walk back to camp with my gun slung over my shoulder and hands full birds dangling by their feet. I wanted to experience more.
I passed my Hunting Safety Training Test when I was nine-years-old and was ready be just as good as I knew my dad was. He would take me to gun ranges, and teach me the ways of how to achieve the most accurate shot with the situation that you were given. Different yardages required different scope settings, the different game required different guns, and different guns had different bullet trajectories.
I was taught how to stay calm and safe - only taking the safety off at the very last second, inhaling a deep breath, pulling the butt of the gun tightly into the pocket of my shoulder, exhaling only half of the breath, and squeezing the trigger ever so slightly, always staying focused.
The proud look I received from my dad when I hit the middle of the target had a feeling of accomplishment coursing throughout my limbs. I loved every second of every minute and couldn't wait to be sitting next to him in the woods.
I shot my first deer when I was just twelve-years-old and I've only continued to love the sport more. I will always remember seeing the doe, laying seventy yards away from my initial shot, and the wide smile on my dad's face. Jumping into his arms and hearing him tell me how proud he was, will always drive me to not only continue to hunt but love it more than anything.
The memories that I create in the woods with my dad every year, will always stay with me and push me to wake up on those early 4 a.m. mornings to make it into the ground blind before sunrise.
Although I am now grown and no longer living at home, that hasn't stopped me from doing what I love. I make a point to go hunting every year with my dad, not only to spend time with him but because the feeling of sitting in the tree stand with the gun on my lap is enough to get my blood pumping. The chilling November air and the fresh smell of genuine nature is a stress reliever and something that can always put me in a better mood.
Passionate and skilled female hunters, like myself, should not be a novelty anymore.
They are people who love to hunt just as much as the next guy, even though they may also happen to be wives, mothers, and daughters. The number of female hunters continues to grow, and it is something that makes me even more proud to say that I am a part of this community. It holds true to say that anything a guy can do, a girl can do better.
Hunting has taught me patience, perseverance, and responsibility. Sitting in the woods for three days straight, twelve hours at a time and leaving without the result that you desire, is enough to make anyone frustrated. This never stopped me from going back for more, though, because the adrenaline that rushes through my body when I pull the trigger and know that I took a good shot is always enough.
I am so thankful that this has become a part of my life and wish it was more normalized in the modern day. I know for now, however, that I will always continue to hunt and hope to pass down the tradition to my children one day.