Women hunters make up the fastest-growing demographic in the hunting community. To honor these ladies and our rich hunting heritage, SCI is celebrating "Women Go Hunting" during our Convention from February 22-25, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee.
SCI has been the most consistent organization on earth to protect ALL hunting by ALL hunters. SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin stated, "SCI is thrilled to celebrate women and we invite all hunters to celebrate with us in Nashville at our 51st Annual Convention. Women are the fastest-growing group of hunters, and their engagement is critical to the future of hunting".
Share Your Stories!
Now, we want to hear from YOU! Share your hunting lifestyle, stories as an SCI member, or your favorite hunting adventure. Whether you're a lifelong hunter or are just getting started, submit your stories for a chance to be featured on SCI socials and publications! Share as much or as little as you like in the prompts at the link below.
From the Women of SCI
"About 7 years ago, I was dating a guy who liked to hunt and would take me on public land whitetail and waterfowl hunts. When a co-worker who was an avid hunter, heard that I was hunting, he then taught me how to use a bow and a climbing tree stand and suburban whitetail hunt. I hunted 5 does that season.
The next spring, my co-worker suggested that I go to Alberta and hunt black bears with a guide friend of his. I had never seen so much wildlife. I hunted two good -sized black bears. My co-worker then suggested that I should go the following fall to hunt mountain goats in Prince William Sound on a boat-based hunt. Prince William Sound was the most awesome place I had ever been. I had never hiked up rocks or shot distances much beyond 200 yards. I hiked up and missed the first goat, which was a big billy. I was very sore but hiked up again and hunted a smaller billy. When I got home, I was hooked on hunting. I promised myself to become a better hiker and shooter. I enrolled in long-distance shooting classes and started competing in local long-distance competitions. All of the guys were very supportive of me and helped me learn. In the next couple of years, I hunted moose, bears, whitetail, antelope, aoudad, waterfowl and axis deer. I then decided to hunt dall sheep. I have since been on three dall sheep hunts in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and was successful twice. My co-worker suggested that I look at hunts through Cabelas/World Wide Trophy Adventures. I looked at the Cabelas website and there was an advertisement for a bezoar ibex hunt in Turkey. I am then on a plane to Turkey. Everyone in Turkey was very kind and encouraging to me and even wanted their pictures with me and my ibex. I then toured around Turkey, which has very ancient history combined with picturesque country.
Now I travel as often as possible to hunt - across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Spain, France, Macedonia, Slovenia, Zambia and more to come. I can shoot reliably past 500 yards and really enjoy hunting and shooting with all of my good friends, who I have met in the last 7 years. Has been some amazing adventures with hopefully many more to come. SCI is important to me because I believe in hunting for conservation. I have seen it in action in many places." -Barbara Solow
"I grew up in rural Montana and started hunting as a young child with my father. I've been hunting my entire life. Hunting always has and always will be a huge part of who I am. Now that I have a child, I'm eager to introduce him to the world of hunting.
A few years ago I decided to physically challenge myself and chase aoudad in Texas Hill Country on foot. I convinced a fellow SCI member to accompany me up and down miles upon miles of cactus-filled hills in search of a large aoudad. Growing up in Montana, I was skeptical that those Texas hills would be challenging, but boy were they exhausting! We saw large herds of sheep, but they were always too far away to get a good shot, and too many eyes would catch us before we could get within 400 yards. After a full day of the aoudad eluding us, we crested one last hill and there he was - a lone mature ram not even 40 yards away. I instantly dropped prone and pulled the trigger, not even wasting a second to dial down my scope. The aoudad dropped and my quest had ended. I couldn't decide if I was more grateful to have had a successful hunt, or that I no longer had to hike those hills in the Texas heat!
No other organization protects the rights of hunters the way SCI does. Without SCI fighting for our rights, hunting in this country - and internationally - would look much differently. I'm looking forward to passing on my hunting heritage to my young son, thanks to the efforts of SCI.
As a 36-year-old female, I'm not who people think of when they envision the typical SCI member. However, I've found SCI to be a very inclusive group of diverse hunters. I've made countless friends in this organization and I'm proud of the efforts that I've been a part of in helping SCI continue to protect the rights of hunters and conserve wildlife across the globe." -Stephanie Hickey
Started helping my dad with tree stands and clearing branches at his hunt club. He broke the rules and took me hunting at his men only hunt club. That was 23 years ago, and I was 12 years old.
First deer I harvested. I was hunting with my dad. He was able to see the deer before I could. He called me on the radio, telling me to get ready. I stood up, turned in my tree stand, and leaned my shotgun against the tree for support. One shot to the lungs, and the deer was down. I’ll never forget that moment, sharing it with my dad makes it even better.
Provides me an opportunity to network with members who love hunting as much as I do.
I love the outdoors, and spend as much time hunting and fishing as I can. I’m enjoying spending this summer teaching my nephew How to fish and the importance of conservation. -Rachel Brichetto
My husband, Henry, introduced me to hunting by persuading me to tag along with him on his adventures. Little did I know that was just the beginning, and it wouldn't be the last time. I had no idea that I would eventually develop a love and passion for the great outdoors. I have been hunting for over 18 years now.
My favorite hunting story is when my husband and I pulled a double. After missing my first attempt at a wild turkey earlier in the season, we decided to go out together again and see what happens. We were set up in a ground blind that morning and after doing some calling shortly after two long beards came into our set up. The plan was to shoot on the count of three. My husband shot, but I did not have the shot and didn’t pull the trigger just yet. In my mind I was thinking “Lakeisha, don’t let this turkey get away”. As my turkey started to run off moments later, “BOOM”, I pulled the trigger and down he went. My husband and I just pulled a double! I couldn’t believe what had just happened! That was one of the most exciting early memories of me turkey hunting. Nothing can keep me out of the woods now.
Our hunting heritage is being attacked daily, and SCI is defending our rights and freedom to hunt while supporting wildlife conservation. They are the front line defense for what we love and hold dear in the outdoors. SCI is doing a great service for the preservation of our hunting heritage.
My hunting adventures with my family are chronicled through photos and videos on social media under the name HALO Hunting, which is an acronym for "Henry And Lakeisha Outdoors".
I started hunting when I met my husband 32 years ago. We started out with pheasant hunting and then I moved onto big game.
All of my hunts have been special to me. Most dangerous was my goat hunt.
Over the years I have made some wonderful friends [at SCI].
I love to travel with Steve and/or our family even if I'm not hunting to experience the different cultures. I like being in remote areas when you are disconnected. -Sue Skold
As the youngest of 4 kids, 3 girls and 1 boy, my dad had hunted with my brother for years and tried to get my 2 sisters interested in it but had no luck. When I was around 14 he asked asked if I wanted to tag along antelope hunting, just to observe and see what it was all about, and I agreed. After that, we started going to the shooting range and have been hunting ever since! It’s been 24 years of adventures so far!
In 2019, my dad and I traveled to Greenland for a musk ox and caribou hunt. This hunt was particularly special because the musk ox was one animal that my dad had wanted to get and hadn’t had the chance to for many years. The outfitter was amazing, we slept in a warm tent, took a flat bottom boat out to the hunting grounds each day, made friends, ate wonderful food and were able to get the animals we came for! My dad got an old musk ox, exactly what he wanted. I got a beautiful caribou, then after stalking a small herd through chilly hills nestled next to the ice cap, I also got a musk ox. It was a trip I’ll never forget because not only were we in the middle of nowhere, no roads or electricity, where it was light out until at least midnight, I was able to experience an incredible, meaningful moment with my father and that means more than anything.
SCI is incredibly important because without this organization, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love and have life changing experiences that cannot be replicated by anything else.
By day I’m a Human Resources professional and when I tell people I’m also a hunter they are always so surprised which I think is such a great thing because I always think you can never assume you know someone until you get to know them! - Jocelyn Guite
I grew up in an outdoor family but mostly did fishing and predator hunting until I met and married my husband in 1997. He is avid hunter and welcomed me along on his hunts and it didn't take long to realize this was a lifestyle I loved! After our children were born we continued to make our hunting trips a family affair and spents weeks on end in the woods hunting together as a family. In 2010 I drew my first big game tag and in 2012 took my first deer. Since then I've hunted every year and taken deer and elk almost every year. Every year my passion for hunting grows and now I even am building my own outdoor business. A particular blessing is now teaching my daughter how to hunt and spending time in the woods with her.
That's hard to pick but probably my muzzleloader elk hunt in 2013.
After listening to absolute silence for the entire first day of the hunt we decided to try a last bugle before calling it quits for the day and suddenly a bull answered us from not too far away. We started making our way towards him, stopping to bugle or cow call occasionally and he answered us every time. We finally made our way to a clearing and spotted some cows feeding about 150 yards in front of us. After just a few minutes we could see antlers starting to come out of the tree line. After what seemed like an hour he finally stepped into the clearing and I squeezed the trigger and the entire clearing exploded with elk running. The bull flinched, whirled and disappeared into the trees again. We gave him a good 20 min and slowly started tracking him. We found a fairly good blood trail and found him bedded in a pine thicket. I sat down and got a good rest so I could try and sneak a shot thru the small opening where his shoulder was. I asked my husband "what if he charges us?" He replied, "they don't do that!". So I squeezed off another shot and hit him right behind the shoulder. He jumped up, made a horrible roar sound and started charging us! Fortunately it was a fatal shot and 5 steps in he piled up in front of us dead. It was a very exciting ending to what had been a very quiet day!
For the worldwide conservation efforts and legislative monitoring and action that preserves hunting for both our and future generations! Without that constant effort I believe hunting could be in jeopardy in the near future.
I truly believe a hunting heritage is so vital to our culture and families and environment! Hunting is conservation and educating our children on how important it is is crucial to our survival as a species and to the survival of all animal species around the world. As a woman hunter, knowing that I can put quality meat in our freezer for our family is something that I take great pride in. - Edna Harlan
“Oh, you hunt too?” people ask. I love it when my husband responds, “She hunts harder than I do!” He knows he can take a nap after waking up before sunrise to get a hunting blind, because I will be watching.
It all began with my love to be outside, but my hunting adventures really grew after college graduation and moving to Northern Wisconsin. One of my professors was right when he said, you pick a spot to live that offers the hobbies you enjoy. Today, my husband and I own 70 acres and take one or two hunting “vacations” per year.
I am pretty humble, but I will say that I have accomplished some cool things because of hunting, and I’ve gone many places just to hunt. For me, any hunting event is a vacation from the world. Hunting isn’t just something I do, it’s become a part of who I am. I literally cannot stop thinking about it while at work. Deciding which stand to bow hunt from based on the wind or an impending cold front, or planning a food plot, or going out to look for shed antlers. I simply never stop working for it because I cannot stop thinking about it. Luckily, I can plan my workdays around the hunting season when it arrives. I also go out in all types of weather; there is no bad weather just wrong clothing. If my feet are warm, I can stay out there forever!
Open our freezer and there is nothing store bought. Hunting is the original way to eat local. The three most important words any woman, girl, mom, daughter, can say to themselves is: Yes, I can hunt! At first you may feel this is impossible. Thinking: I don’t know about rifles, shotguns or bows, or I don’t know what to do, where to go, who to ask. Just start. I taught hunter safety for eight years, and I always encourage the moms to take the course with their child. As you first start hunting you will find other hunters, maybe family members, friends, co-workers who hunt too. The best part is that they will step up to mentor, answer questions, teach and take you along. Then it will be impossible to stop you, or any woman, from hunting.
Hunting offers so many opportunities to experience with others and alone, all of which move you toward the end goal. What is that? Well, hunting isn’t always about the harvest; it’s all about the people, memories and stuff that happens along the way. The experiences change something inside you – and that changes everything.
My favorite hunt is the next one I am going to go on.
I am most jealous of female hunters who can take off their stocking cap after hunting and still have amazing looking hair. My curly hair doesn’t allow this.
Hey, girl! I hope to cross paths with you on my next hunt! -Christine Clark
Lauren grew up hunting whitetail deer in central North Carolina with her father. She freely admits those trips were more about the quality time and the snacks than the chasing of game. In 2021, she joined the North Carolina-based lobbying firm KTS Strategies to start a career in government relations. KTS Strategies helped legalize Sunday hunting in North Carolina in 2015 and is led by Lifetime SCI Member Ches McDowell and Nelson Freeman (Former SCI GA).
With a very healthy hunting culture at her new job she decided she wanted a zebra skin rug for her new office. A few months later, she was on a quick work trip to Champion Ranch in Brady, TX and she had harvested her first animal – a Grant’s zebra. On the same trip she was unsuccessful on finding a big axis deer, but ended up killing a beautiful white fallow deer. When the opportunity came up to go back to Texas for a client trip, she jumped at the opportunity, despite being 7 months pregnant with her third daughter. Lauren is interested in antlered species and really wanted to settle the score on axis or kill her first elk.
After seeing a beautiful stag on the first day and a lot of conversation with the knowledgeable staff at Champion Ranch, the plan changed. Lauren started the morning listening to 400”+ elk bugle and saw the first stag after a few hours. She wasn’t able to get in a position to shoot and the October Texas sun called off the late morning adventure. On the way back to the lodge we spotted a monster stag in the road. Thinking she wouldn’t get a chance at him, we sat for a few minutes and thanks to a little bit of luck, he came back in the road. Lauren fired the Champion Arms 28 Nosler 303 yards and perfectly connected with the stag. She had successfully harvested her third big game animal which green scored 453 2/8” placing it 24th all-time with a rifle in the North American Introduced category. Most certainly number 1 by 7-month pregnant woman! - Lauren B.
My Papa and Dad got me started in hunting and fishing when I was a child. My family has hunted for as long as I can remember. I’ve hunted since I was 9, so 42 years of hunting.
There have been so many, it’s hard to choose. I’ve had incredible hunts with some really great friends that are the stuff of legends, but I think my favorite hunt was all by myself. Going out alone on a turkey hunt, finding tracks, picking my spot, listening to toms thundering in the distance and calling two in to within 20 yards. Shooting one, letting the other one walk, thankful for the successful hunt. It was an incredible, beautiful, perfect hunt. Getting the “was that you???” text from my husband and having him come celebrate the moment with me…it was a perfect morning.
An organization that supports hunters and wildlife, keeps a close eye on what’s happening in Washington and works to ensure the hunting traditions will survive for generations to come should be supported by all sportsmen.
We hunt and fish most weekends and vacations and train our labs in “off seasons” to make sure we’re the ones invited to the hunt because of our dogs. We travel the country to shoot 3D archery tournaments with our hunting bows to stay prepared for season. We’re blessed to have family and friends who share our passion for the outdoors and spend as much time with them experiencing the outdoors as possible.
I’m on FB as Deneshia Larson and The Natural Addiction, IG as The Natural Addiction, YouTube as The Natural Addiction, TikTok as The Natural Addiction. - Deneshia Larson
I grew up in a hunting household. My father was an avid outdoorsman, particularly drawn to dove and deer hunting, though he was known to chase an occasional turkey or quail. He took me out and shared his interest with me. I was also his sidekick when it came time to processing, from butchering our deer in the backyard to stuffing and grinding sausage to running the smoker. I was involved in all parts.
I work full time in conservation. I coordinate a large landscape, fish and wildlife collaborative across 13 states in the Midwest and Central Plains, three Canadian provinces, tribes and other organizations interested in or pursuing fish and wildlife conservation. I work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in this non-regulatory, voluntary program. In the past, I was the director of fish and wildlife, parks, forestry and conservation law enforcement programs in the State of Iowa. Before that, I was the general counsel for conservation programs of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and for the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
I’m also married and have four kids. With a growing family, hunting connected with my innate desire to provide for my family, even if we have all the modern conveniences of supermarkets. Somehow, when my children eat an elk steak, bear meatball or pheasant breast, something I hunted or was part of hunting, I feel the pride of having provided for them, similar to when I harvest cultivating my garden.
As a conservationist, I promote a holistic approach to fish and wildlife conservation to help ensure every citizen connects to our shared fish and wildlife resources. Hunting is an integral part of fish and wildlife management but also part of our cultural fabric in the United States. Our North American Model of hunting has meant access to fish and wildlife resources for everyone, and our model of funding has made it possible. Thanks to the contributions of hunters and anglers, there are healthy habitats for those resources as well as access to places to hunt and fish and places for species to thrive.
SCI Litigation Associate Madie Demaske
I was only 18 months old when I went on my first hunt. I was strapped in a backpack on my dad's back when he shot a doe. He still remembers my little feet kicking his butt. I swear, since that day I have been hooked. Hunting has taken me to some of the most remote parts of the world and back again. It has also pushed me to pursue a career in conservation law.
I started hunting with my family to provide and extra meat source when I was around 8. I started actively hunting when I was 12.
Favorite hunt: Either in November of 2020 packing my 18 month daughter 8 miles round trip in a back pack and harvesting a mature mule deer buck or this fall of 2022 where my daughter again was in a pack and backpacked in 4 miles through knee deep to hip deep snow where we harvested a 5x5 bull elk at 300 yards solo.
SCI is the largest hunters advocacy network. Plus I've been a chapter member since 2016. My husband is the current president of our chapter and I sit as a committee member and a previous board member and director.
We live a very active outdoor lifestyle hunting over the world and have now actively started bringing our daughter with us at home in Alberta on all our hunts and around the world when it's safe to do so. - Stacey Girletz
Hunting was a natural progression being a life long Alaskan and outdoorsman. I started about 4 years ago.
I ended up getting a last minute phone call from a new friend I had met out sheep hunting only a few weeks prior. The phone call consisted of *hey want to come shoot a goat tomorrow" kinda call. I scrambled to get shifts covered at work and gathered my stuff and was on the way to Valdez. I'm never one to turn down a good adventure so there was no way I was going to let this one slide by. It was the first sunny day Valdez had seen most of the summer and it was a stunner! Not a cloud in the sky and calm seas were served up, I was in heaven. I was able to connect on a very nice Billy and enjoy a summit beer with the most exceptional views Alaska can offer.
I round out this season feeling a sense of accomplishment and excitement for what's to come in my hunting future. If can say anything to those that are interested in hunting but are apprehensive because of intimidation, or money, or knowledge, just remember, everyone has to start somewhere. I'm 37 years old and just purchased my first rifle. You don't need to grow up hunting or only be able to go with your partner. My best advise would be to get involved with hunting groups in your community and connect with like minded people that have the same goals and the rest will happen naturally!
SCI helps new hunters like me get involved and learn about serious issues that need support. - Emily Thompson
I started hunting 22 years ago in college as a way to enjoy the outdoors and put food on my table.
I planned a caribou hunt for our honeymoon since my husband had enjoyed the last time he hunted them so much. I saw the aurora for the first time in the middle of the Brooks Range. We saw grizzlies, wolves, moose and of course came home with caribou and memories.
Advocating for hunting rights takes a big voice. SCI provides that voice and science to help preserve hunting, fishing and the environment for generations to come.
Bring up our daughter in our outdoor recreation and Hunting family is going to be my favorite chapter. - Jessica Manuell
I’m not a lifelong hunter but I hope to hunt the rest of my life! I started with duck hunting in college and have since loved learning new hunts and seeking out adventures. As the Communications Specialist on the SCI Advocacy team, it is incredibly rewarding working every day to defend our freedom to hunt around the world.
We are 15 year old twin sisters from a small town in northwest Ohio. Our father and grandfather introduced us to hunting at a very young age, a little over 12 years ago. Some of our earliest memories involve going out in the woods to sit in a blind or tree stand with them hoping to get a new mount for the wall. Over the years, our love for hunting has only grown and we have gotten some mounts of our own to display.
We have grown up hunting around our area and have been successful, however, we had the experience of a lifetime this past summer. We were able to go on our very first African Safari. It was amazing to say the least. It was July when we arrived in Alicedale, South Africa, in the Eastern Cape to hunt on the Burchell Game Reserve with Frontier Safaris. We were setting out to hunt fifteen animals each, but the one at the top of our list was a baboon. Knowing that a baboon hunt would be a challenge, we knew that was a challenge we wanted to accept. The hunting in South Africa was like none other....the sounds, the smells, and especially the sights....we were hooked instantly! Our hunt started, while it was amazing as we began checking off animals left and right on our list, the one at the top of our list was looming over our heads.
Allison's Story: The day came for me to begin my baboon hunt. My professional hunter, Ryan, and I set out mid morning to begin the adventure. Within twenty minutes of arriving to the blind, along came a group of baboons about 30 yards out. I waited to get the perfect shot. I smoked him in between the shoulder blades with my .270 Winchester Bergara Rifle. The pure thrill of getting the animal at the top of my list was indescribable. I was beyond excited to share the news with my twin sister, but knew she would be bummed that she had not gotten one yet. The race was on!
Addalyn's Story: The last day of hunting was upon us and the pressure was on. I was not going to be happy if I went back to the United States without a baboon. Don't get me wrong, the other hunts were awesome, but I really wanted that baboon! Charl, my professional hunter, and I headed out right as the sun was rising in pursuit of my baboon. A long seven hours passed....yes seven, and no luck. I was beginning to get pretty discouraged at that point. We were debating whether to call it a day when FINALLY a group of baboons came, but the catch---they were 150 yards out and it was going to be tough to get a shot. My patience and perseverance paid off. I got a shot and nailed him at 150 yards with my .300 Win Mag Bergara Rifle. As soon as reality hit that I got him the tears came. Pure happiness, well, and relief. I couldn't wait to tell my twin sister knowing she would be just as excited as me.
The tears didn't stop for either of us the rest of the evening. Tears of joy and happiness knowing that we had conquered our goal of BOTH getting a baboon, but also tears of knowing that the best time of our lives and our first African Safari was coming to an end. Getting to experience something like this with your twin sister and best friend is beyond amazing. We have experienced everything together from day one (well, actually before that really) from our first tooth, to our first steps, to our first day of school, to learning to ride a bike, to becoming teenagers, to beginning high school. Everything. It was only fitting that we experienced our first African Safari together and our first baboon.We could not imagine going through these milestones without each other, especially doing something we LOVE....hunting. At the age of 15, we got to experience something some will only dream of and for that we will forever be grateful!
Our father and grandfather have always stressed the importance of safe hunting as well as legal hunting. Also, they have instilled in us what a privilege it is to be a hunter. SCI is a great organization for many reasons, but one that is important to us is the SCI's determination to support hunters, all hunters, male or female. In the past, hunting seems to have been a male dominated sport. It is amazing to see an organization, SCI, support and recognize women hunters like ourselves.
We both love the outdoors. We are members of our local 4-H club where we have shown swine, cattle, and sheep at our county fair. In school, we are both straight A students. We also are both on our school's varsity NASP (National Archery Program in the Schools) archery team as well as a summer archery team through S3DA (Scholastic 3-D Archery) where we shoot Olympic Recurve bows. We have also just begun raising whitetail deer on our property and enjoy watching them change through the seasons. Hunting runs deep in our blood. - Allison and Addalyn Beardsley
My hunting lifestyle began similarly to many women out there. I have a spouse who is an avid hunter and angler, raised with that lifestyle his entire life. My family has zero history of hunting. - no guns to inherit - no stories of going hunting with dad as a kid. I chose to submerge myself into experiencing this way of life in order to be supportive of my partner and his values. I always enjoyed fishing but hunting quickly became a passion after experiencing the tremendous emotional highs and lows of the hunt.
This lit the fire in wanting to preserve this special way of life, for many like myself, without introduction from a friend or partner, would never feel the intense gratitude that comes from harvesting your own sustenance. That humbling and sad moment where you take an animal yet you are eternally grateful for its life as it reaches full circle.
Fast forward on that journey. Years later, I have become a professional guide specializing in women's hunts with our own outfitter business. I have made it my mission to educate and inform women from any background, starting at any age (I was in my late 20's!) that this is something you can do. Something you can get behind in order to feed your family organic, free range, ethically sourced protein and have a sense of pride and connection to the process. I dedicate countless hours to SCI as our Nova Scotia Chapter president as well as sitting on the Canada committee as our Eastern Canadian rep. I also work with our province to facilitate opportunities to introduce more women into fishing.
I'm proud of where my journey has taken me and I'm proud of being a woman that goes hunting. - Sali Cunningham
My late father started me on a little .22 squirrel gun when I was about 7 years old. I still have the paper plate with my first shots on them in 1993. Over the years his passion for the outdoors was instilled in me, deer hunting one weekend and crappie fishing the other. He would even let me miss school if the weather was right for harvesting a big buck or reeling in a 10lb bass. At 36 years old, my passion is stronger now than it’s ever been.
The last hunt I took with my daddy was my favorite story. He was so weak from undergoing chemotherapy but all he wanted to do was go on one last deer hunt with me. He ended up tagging a buck that morning, no trophy in most eyes, but it was to us. He was too weak to drag him out and field dress so I did it for him. That was in October and he passed in March.
SCI is important to me because it showcases not only the importance of conservation but women in the outdoors as well. There is nothing more important than teaching our children to live on this earth understanding what a gift hunting is to our world.
As a mother living in Ohio, I’m a proud supporter of SCI and all of the conservation acts that I can do. -Casie Tira
Growing up in Iowa I spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring and fishing, but I did not actually start hunting until my early 20’s, hunting rabbits and moved onto whitetail.
I met my husband Louis in 2006, he introduced me to big game hunting in Alaska and the passion of remote wilderness hunting in some of the most pristine wilderness one could ever see. Each year we journey to a lake just north of the Arctic Circle, to start several days of packing gear and portaging our raft just over a mile to begin our adventure into the land where if you don’t bring it, you don’t have and if something goes wrong it’s all on you!
On one of these trips a few years back, after packing gear, we camped on the river overnight. That morning we heard lots of moose activity, grunting and antlers beating on the alders. We decided to hunt in that area that day instead of heading down river. The moose were very responsive. It was so exciting, we called in several good moose. I did have my crosshairs on one, but was convinced that since it was the first day to hold out for a bigger moose. I hoped I would not regret that decision.
Then it started raining and kept raining! We hunted and floated the river in the rain, and we did not see another moose for 15 days.
After 15 solid days of rain, no moose responses since that first day and with the river above flood stage, we decided to call it quits! We planned to float on the 16th day, but Mother Nature had other plans and we were hit with a terrible storm so we hunkered down and held tight for another day.
Late that afternoon the weather broke, and the skies cleared up so we took the raft across the river, hiking to a lake in hopes of calling in a moose. It was covered in moose, we saw three different bulls across the lake and when Louis started calling, one of them came charging across, straight at us and I shot him at less than 15 yards. It was a perfect heart shot, but he was fired up and had enough in him to turn and take two steps back into the lake.
It was just the two of us and now we’ve got a bull in the lake, with dark approaching quickly, I got this crazy idea to take the pump from the raft and put it into the bullet hole and inflate the chest cavity. I'm not sure it worked but with a ton of effort my husband and I were able to see-saw and yard that bull enough to be able to get him gutted.
It’s raining again and hard. We gutted the moose by headlamp, opened him up wide knowing the cold air would keep him until morning.
So now it is cold, raining, and pitch-black dark. You could not tell if your eyes were opened or closed. We could not see anything you could get a reference off, and the GPS is back in camp. Who needs one for a short afternoon trip, right? With no reference points to navigate from we could only hold Louis tight, while I ventured out, with our headlamps, using him as a way point, finding the river after several attempts!
Now it’s 1 o’clock in the morning, I am cold, wet, tired, and starving. It had rained so much while away from camp, the river had risen enough to flood the tents. We managed to haphazardly move camp above the waterline and hit the bed hungry. I'm exhausted and stressed out, I’m crying about what the next day held. That’s when Louis starts singing “the rubber tree plant song”. We woke a few hours later to sunshine. I cooked a big breakfast then we crossed the river, skinned, quartered, and loaded my moose onto the raft, packed up camp and floated to our pickup point with no problems.
I do want to note, I was recently appointed by Governor Dunleavy and confirmed by Alaska Legislature to the State of Alaska Board of Game. As the only woman on the board, I am honored and humbled to have a voice in the regulation process to conserve and develop Alaska’s wildlife resources. -Ruth Cusack