The sun was just breaking the trees when Robert Pitman tried to make the cast. A broken finger on his casting hand made using the antique rod and reel almost impossible. Nevertheless, the lure, a true antique, covered with real frog skin hit right on target. We were supposed to be having a fishing contest, he with antique gear, I with my usual. That wasn’t going to work.
Wilson Post Blogs
Imagine a golf tournament involving the best players in the world and at the end of four rounds, not one golfer finished below par.
That’s the U.S. Open, courtesy of that teeny parcel of a course in Ardmore, Pa., better known as Merion the Monster.
The snow has slowed to an occasional flurry and the wind is dropping to bearable levels. I snuggle in against the slick scree and try to be nothing more than another rock on the long slope above the valley. He lowers his head and tears at another clump of something I can not see. When he raises his head, I come to full draw and the pin is right behind his shoulder. About then I wake up. I have again been on one of my dream hunts.I get it all the time. “What is your favorite game to hunt?” That or some version of that question comes my way on a regular basis. I have been fortunate to hunt in many places and for a variety of game.
As far as favorite hunts, I have three and I rank them in this order -- elk in the mountain meadows; caribou on the Tiaga; and big whitetails in the swamp timber.
Behind that, I guess mule deer and antelope fall in there and perhaps bear in Canada maybe is ahead of them. Turkey ranks quite low. My equipment of choice has always been the bow and arrow.
Usually, whoever is asking the question wants to know about hunting in Africa. I know little about it despite being invited to hunt S.A. on a few occasions. If I were to go, I would bowhunt and there is not much over there I care to hunt. The few animals that do interest me, I could never afford-that being the big cats.
However, there are some animals I have not hunted that I would have loved to in my youth. I am too old now. First on that list is the Rocky Mountain Big Horn. I had chances. Billy Joe Coy asked me several times to come to Wyoming and hunt with him. We went to college together and he was guiding for them back then. He was on them big time because he lived right about where they did. The invitations came when I was actually working either guiding or doing videos and could never leave the deer woods long enough. My old rodeo buddy, Stan Steen from Montana sent me a picture of a dandy ram he killed in his home state. He said he had applied for the draw in that area for over 20-years before finally drawing the tag. It was in an area that was not very rugged, either.
I would like to hunt the Red Stag of New Zealand or just about anywhere. Oddly enough, I have a standing invitation to go to Zealand and hunt. I write for a bowhunting magazine published in Australia that covers Zealand. All it will cost me is a plane ticket. But those suckers live where there is a short supply of oxygen. I just cannot handle it anymore. But I went on some truly great hunts.
One of my favorite and most exciting hunts was one deep in an Alabama swamp for whitetail deer. It was hot and sticky and a full moon. There was a bad thunderstorm approaching. With lightning splitting the sky, I sparred in seven bucks in 20-minutes. The seventh I shot. He made the AL record books by a mile and was far past Pope and Young minimums. I love hunting big woods deer and the deer do not have to have huge antlers.
I would love again do a deep swamp hunt. I love boating back into the heart of real swamp, setting up camp and then taking the jon boat back through some shallow slough to an island large enough to hold deer. When the water was right, the islands would be reachable only by boat. There were several of those in Cocodrie, maybe 50-acres in size. They held some big deer and there was little pressure. Lots of work but enjoyable.
Some of my elk hunts and bear hunts have been ones I would love to repeat. My caribou hunts, with one exception, have always been tremendous. On one, after killing a nice bull, my hunting partner and I waited out a sudden blizzard with terrible winds by huddling under two giant rocks.
I love the mountains, the boreal forests and even the bare and forbidding tundra. Maybe I just love hunting in new places. Hunting with a bow made it even better. Having some good hunting partners made better yet.
I would do a moose hunt. I would have a battalion of guides to pack the meat out. I would have another to pack out the head and cape. In addition, I would have at least six to pack me out. Come to think of it, maybe I would not hunt moose.
When I look around my office, when I gaze at all the memories, mounted and hanging on my walls, I can almost see the empty spots. There is room for a Bighorn and a Red Stag in amongst the deer and caribou and elk. But I am too old now. Actually, it is not the age; it is miles and the toll the miles have taken.
So take heed young hunters, start a savings account now. Each week or month, put aside a few dollars. When you get an unexpected windfall, slap it in the account. Maybe that is where the tax refund goes…if you ever get one. Might have to keep it secret from the spouse and that is okay. That is acceptable in special cases. Then, in a few years, when there is sufficient money. Go for it. It is better to borrow the money then pay it back than to look back and say, I wish I had gone.
Vanderbilt’s attempt to reach the College World Series for the second time in school history came up short Sunday.
Now that the artificial dust has settled at the Hawk, you have to give credit where credit is due.
There is something to be said for facing your fears.
Now, I am not advocating skydiving if you are scared of heights or visiting a beekeeper if you are deathly allergic to bee stings – but every once in a while a healthy dose of bravery can do the mind and body good.
I experienced this last year when I wrote about Safari Greg visiting the Lebanon-Wilson Public Library. Safari Greg brought all kinds of exotic critters to the library to show the children, who were there as part of the library’s summer reading program. Safari Greg saved the largest of his pets for last – a Boa Constrictor.
I have been scared of snakes since birth and I believe that is instilled in my DNA. Our family dog, Copper, killed a snake once and left it on the front porch as a “present” for my mother – and it wasn’t pretty.
She was screaming. I was screaming. The dog was screaming. It just wasn’t good. In fact, I think the only thing we hate worse than snakes – are mice, which is a blog for another day.
Well after seeing about 15 children hold the Boa, I decided it was time to face my fear.
I have always believed that when people fear something it is because: A) They have had an unfortunate experience with it before, or B) they need more information about it.
I decided that my fear was based on Option B. Safari Greg answered all of my questions, including: Is it going to bite me? What will you do if it tries to suffocate me?
Safari Greg reassured me that the Boa Constrictor was very friendly and familiar with having strangers hold her. He said that if she got aggravated or displayed any unusual behavior – he would notice it and unwrap her from my arms (Boas do not have poisonous venom to attack their prey – instead they coil their muscular bodies around their subjects to suffocate them).
So. I. Held. The. Snake.
And you know what? It was fun. I felt so proud of myself for getting over my fear!
I held her for about a minute and then passed her on to a fearless 8-year-old, who thought she was just about the coolest thing ever.
I read on the Lebanon-Wilson Public Library webpage today that Safari Greg will be returning for another show on June 18. However, I do not plan to hold any snakes this time.
For Sabrina Garrett - the only place snakeskin belongs is on shoes and purses!
On a good day, it could be some of the best smallmouth fishing you are going to find. Anyway, it use to be. On a bad day, it sucks. Seems to be a lot more of those suckin days lately. For sure, with rare exceptions, it has gone downhill from a fishing standpoint.
It is a puzzle and it can be heartbreaking. Go three hours without a strike, then, in a few minutes, put five in the boat that weigh 20-pounds. I have done that several times. At least I use to. Not lately. Sure not as it was 20-years ago.
It’s not a matter of if the Southeastern Conference will impose a nine-game schedule of SEC games.
It’s a matter of when.
However, on the pleasant side, a surprise came in the form of a new book from Otha Barham. Otha is an old friend and longtime outdoor writer. He has put together a delightful book on Turkey hunting. It is not a how to…thankfully. It is a book you will enjoy reading.
Otha Barham is a turkey hunter consumed by the body of lore associated with hunting this great bird. What stirs his passion thoroughly are accounts of actual hunts. Every experienced hunter has a plethora of these stories, and it would be difficult to declare the account of a single hunt uninteresting.
Even a 20 minute episode from an owl hoot to the shotgun blast is a shining star in a dark sky of exhaustive chases filled with failed trickery by the hunter that may last hours, days or sometimes years. Does the gobbler finally fall to the gun, or does it remain forever unattainable by a hunter and submit only to nature's plan of finality.
In Barham's book, “Spring Beckonings,” there are 37 blow-by-blow accounts of adventures directly associated with the hunt. Selected stories also offer interesting aspects of the people involved.
In the pages of “Spring Beckonings” turkey hunters will recognize themselves and the birds they have sought. Selected accounts also offer interesting aspects of the lives of the hunters involved. Other readers will enhance their understanding of the powers that so seductively lure wild turkey cultists into the spring woods, hypnotized by the mating rituals of a game bird that for two months becomes one of the earth's wildest creatures.
The author is described as a “turkey junkie” by Jill Easton, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. In addition to her comments on “Spring Beckonings,” nationally known writer/hunters Tom Kelly, Jim Casada and Jim Spencer favorably endorsed the book. Kelly offers in the book's foreword; the writer, “gives you a chance to wallow in the presence of the bird and its surroundings...Don't loan this book to anybody. You might not get it back.”
Jim Casada commented on the book. “Otha Barham is a master at capturing the sport's essence.” And Jim Spencer notes, “This book is going into that small area of my bookshelf reserved for those books I absolutely must read every February and March to get my engines properly revved for the upcoming season.”
“Spring Beckonings” contains 59 captioned photographs, 17 of which are the work of award winning photographer Kye Clearman (12363 Hand Road, Collinsville, Mississippi 39325.) Contact Clearman at his address or telephone (601) 479-9199 for wildlife photographs. See samples of his work at south.shutterfy.com.
Order signed, inscribed copies of “Spring Beckonings” from Old Ben Publications, Otha Barham,3100 38th Street, Meridian, MS 39305.
Send check or money order for $15.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. Mississippi residents include $1.12 sales tax.
Plain good fishing & eating
On another note, the crappie fishing has been good to excellent.
The larger fish have steadily moved up and both numbers and size are good on Old Hickory. I cannot tell you where to go. There is no certain place.
We are using only jigs in about 1/8-ounce size and colors vary from pink to chartreuse and everything in between. We are using tube lures and twister tails. Mostly we just work along a bank casting at every piece of structure. Some hold a few fish, some don’t but it only takes three to feed two.
Turkey season is over so of course, the yard is full of birds. And say, isn’t it about time to go camping?
I called Vincent Wolters on Memorial Day.
The WWII veteran was fighting a cold and was sitting out in the fresh air and sunshine at his home near Monterey
Bikini Waxes and other tasks that are better left to the professionals…
Pinterest has created a lot of arrogance. Making us think turning an old door into a headboard for the guest room is a piece of cake or turning old wine bottles into tea glasses is an easy task. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at many things. Sometimes with success-hello boeuf bourguignon and other times, not so much-at home hair highlight. Because we all seem to be in a hurry when it comes to…EVERYTHING, I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t waste your time trying at home! And please trust me on this, I’ve done the leg work. So here it goes:
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
Who will it be?
Like most parents, my husband and I have each assumed our parental roles.
I’m the Mom that requires good grades and clean rooms, reminds them to say “please” as well as “thank-you”, and returns them to their room when skirts are too short, shirts are too wrinkled or hair is disheveled.
And their Dad, like many other dads, is the fun one.
The Dad who takes them on roller coasters while I sit waiting, on the bench, holding backpacks, jackets and caps.
The Dad who lets them jump off the side of the boat into the deep ocean or ride the wave runners while I scream “be careful!” from the dock, in my oversized life-jacket whilst clutching their SPF 100 sunscreen.
The Dad who avidly cheers them on at tennis, cross country, soccer, baseball and basketball in his matching team shirt while I desperately try to find a signal - - any signal - - on my phone.
So it won’t come as shock to any of you that when it comes to field trips, any time the list of items to bring includes: bug spray, hiking boots, flashlight or your own pillow - - I’m basically out. Likewise, you’ll understand then that during a recent parents meeting for our eldest daughter’s upcoming missions trip to Honduras, when the words: rebels, malaria pills, no running water, tent and jungle - were uttered, in perfectly legible writing (so that there could be no mistake), I wrote down: Brody Kane will be attending as Guardian.
I didn’t even let the fact that the teacher had advised he really didn’t need dads on the trip but instead needed moms, stop me from writing down: Brody Kane will be attending as Guardian.
Brody then whispered, “Didn’t you hear him, he wants mothers to go, not fathers. This one is yours.”
I whispered back, “Are you kidding me, the rebels will smell my fear one mile away. I might as well tatoo - “take me” on my forehead.”
“The rebels don’t want you! After three days they’d give you back. I can hear it now - ‘there isn’t hot water in my cage, my coffee is too strong, are you kidding me, you guys don’t have wi-fi in this camp!’
Laugh all you want funny man, this one is yours! (And for the record, I’m pretty sure my ransom would be double his.)
So I was completely taken aback, when two weeks later, while visiting colleges with our eldest, it hit me like a ton of bricks - - her leaving us forever was imminent. Soon, there would be no more field trips, no more lists of what to bring, no more permission slips to sign, she would be gone and I’d regret that we’d not experienced this trip together.
After a few days of thoughtful consideration, I announced over breakfast, “I’m going to Honduras with you!”
The silence was deafening.
And then it started...first they all just looked at each other, then nervous giggles and then outward, hysterical laughter.
“Mama, you won’t make it! They said the landing is one of the most dangerous ones in the world. There is a mountain right before landing and the plane has to take this nose-dive to miss it. You’d freak out even before we got there.”
Huh? Malaria pills, no running water, and now....a nose-diving plane.
And just like that I remembered that I still have two other kids I can attend field trips with. Sounds like fun dad is going to have the time of his life!
The sun is starting to set now. It does it every day and often, in more ways that one. The steaks are sizzling just the way steaks should, Jackie is keeping an eye on them and the potatoes are baking. There will be peach pie for desert. However, this column is not about food. Mostly.
Scene two: The three of us are kicked back on the balcony of our room at Edgar Evins State Park up on Center Hill. Jackie Taylor, Jerry Reed and I are up there fishing. It is the first time the three of us have fished together since 1978. That is way too long. I am feeding the crows.
Lipscomb was hesitant to follow Nashville neighbor Belmont from the NAIA to the NCAA.
At the time, longtime Lipscomb basketball coach Don Meyer didn’t believe it was in the school’s best interest to move to the NCAA.
It was basically a three-year move to be fully vested at the NCAA level. And Meyer was Lipscomb’s winningest basketball coach.
Belmont took its lumps during the transition, which is pretty much the norm for every institution that takes that leap of faith. But the Bruins actually thrived after going through the tough times. They have been to the NCAA Tournament four times, in addition to getting an NIT bid.
Lipscomb eventually decided to follow Belmont to the NCAA. Meyer resigned, refusing to make the move. It created a messy situation, pitting Meyer fans against Lipscomb.
The school hired Scott Sanderson, son of former Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson. He is the one who would take the brunt of making the transition. I remember Wimp telling me he didn’t think Scott should have taken the job because Wimp knew Scott was going to get his brains beat out.
Scott survived. Both Lipscomb and Belmont joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. In recent years Lipscomb basketball has fallen on hard times. Last year Belmont left the Atlantic Sun and joined the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Bruins won a hard-fought two tournament games in its first year to win an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Lipscomb forced Sanderson to resign and 40 days later hired longtime Belmont assistant Casey Alexander. Even though Alexander has been head coach at Stetson the past two years, he is a familiar name in Williamson County. He was a three-sport athlete at Brentwood Academy and was Rick Byrd’s top assistant for 16 years.
In the near future I predict we will see Lipscomb leave the Atlantic Sun and join the OVC. The Atlantic Sun is all over the map and in danger of losing East Tennessee State and Kennesaw State.
The OVC should covet Lipscomb and vice versa. Can you imagine the financial savings Lipscomb would realize in cutting travel costs?
But here is where the OVC can profit. It will give the conference three teams located in Nashville – Tennessee State, Belmont and Lipscomb. That means increased attendance.
We go through a process, we who prowl the hills and hollers and explore the waters, hunting and fishing our way through life. We grow and metamorph not unlike a butterfly. Trophies and limits mean little to us. We have changed. Our step has slowed, our hearing going, our sight dimmed and our desires softened.
Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray came to Knoxville with the size and arm strength that college and NFL scouts drool about.
He is 6-foot-6, a lean 215 pounds, has a rocket arm and brought Vols fans to their feet with his ability to put deep downfield passes right on target.
By PATRICK HALL
Special to The Wilson Post
Let me preface by saying I consider The Great Gatsby to be one of the greatest American novels ever written, and I never expected Baz Luhrmann’s film to live up to that standard.
With that being said, Luhrmann definitely “gets it,” and his film is a decent adaptation, depicting Gatsby’s world vividly, but tries too hard to include modernity within a facade of green screens and vibrant colors.
In case you aren’t aware, “The Great Gatsby” is the story of elusive Long Island millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his neighbor, bond salesman Nick Carraway (Tobey MaGuire).
The two meet up at one of Gatsby’s illustrious parties and Gatsby persuades Carraway to set up a meet with Carraway’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), whom was in love with Gatsby just five years prior.
The story is all opulence, parties and the attempts of one man to regain a love he once had, through the material world. Lurhmann’s vision is bright and the film runs with a breakneck pace that is exhausting for the first hour.
Lurhmann seems to pound the “roaring” part of the “Roaring 20s” into the audience, with sensory overload. That overload is also a message about the decade’s overflowing wealth, alcohol and possessions.
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
People often ask Becky and I how we met. Like many other women, we bonded over “motherhood” when our children attended the same Preschool. Through the years, we‘ve been there as our babies have grown into teenagers and along the way, laughed until it hurt and cried until there were no more tears, always thankful, that there was another Mom out there experiencing the same adventure.
In honor of all Mothers this upcoming Mother’s Day - we bring you an Ode To Motherhood.
And so it began...
1. Buying not not one but four pregnancy tests - confirming and reconfirming that there really is a baby in there! Going to the OB/GYN and being utterly horrified when he explains EXACTLY how that baby will come out!
Thinking...the hell it will!
2. Reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” three times. Buying maternity clothes long before they’re needed. Stocking up on baby must-haves way before they’re necessary. Decorating the nursery before one should. Telling everyone you can about your birth plan. Picking a name that is perfectly perfect....and then waiting....waiting...waiting.....
3. Feeling the first contraction and realizing what you’ve always known - you don’t do anything in life naturally. You eat processed food, you don’t recycle, your carbon footprint is enormous, you medicate to fly and aging gracefully just seems moronic.
Give me the big needle in the back please and make it a double dose - I feel more pain than the average person.
4. Seeing, for the first time, this tiny, pink, wrinkled up creature whose piercing cry is like nails on a chalkboard.
Oh hell, what have I done?
Watching her sleep for hours on end, poking her every 15 minutes to make sure she is breathing. Terrified she will flip onto her stomach and suffocate. Thankful each morning when she’s still alive!
5. Boiling bottles, fretting over the fact her IQ may be lower because you started her on formula, the guilt of returning to work and the secret guilt that it’s kind of nice to be back there.
Getting out of the house takes a good 45 minutes, packing the matching baby bag and diaper bag, the stroller that weighs at least 55 pounds, the car seat that never quite fits back into it’s holder, goldfish and cheerios in those perfectly proportioned plastic baby cups.
Driving back up the driveway 5 minutes later because you forgot her blanket.
6. Deciding the most special baby in the world is lonely and needs a sibling.
Hoping the second one is as cute as the first!
7. It all works out perfectly because you’re still wearing the majority of the maternity clothes from the first baby.
Who cares - all you do is work, take care of the baby, eat and sleep.
The new doctor tries to talk you into Lamaze classes again - - explain this is not your first rodeo. You have absolutely no desire to breathe through any plan that doesn’t include high powered meds.
Oh Hell, what is she writing down in your chart??
8. Baby #1 tries to feed Baby #2 dog food! She looked so innocent while doing it...but it’s obvious she hates her. You’ve ruined her life.
They both cry in unison. That blood curdling, open mouth, closed eyes, turing bright red, then blue, cry!
This must be the 10th level of Hell!
9. Two baby seats, and a stroller for two - cute matching bags go out the window, any old bag will do. Hoping against all hope you packed the right size diapers and formula, knowing you can find some cheerios at the bottom of the bags.
Throw up in the van, throw up on the rug, throw up all over your new shirt. Ear infections, fifths disease, rashes and strep. Antibiotics, cough syrups, baby Tylenol, Vicks and cold compresses.
Fish sticks become a complete meal, add Mac & Cheese and it must be your hubby’s birthday!
Where are the matching bows??? They must have matching bows! Heads will roll if I don’t find those bows!
10. Dance class, tumbling, four year olds playing soccer while skipping down the field,
the Easter Bunny and Santa photos scar them for life, finally doing Disney and realizing you are more excited about seeing Mulan than they are.
Suddenly wake up from this hazy dream to find there are clones of you and your husband everywhere you go...they look crazed and tired.
11. Number 3 is almost here - most people think you’re crazy, others outwardly pity you, no one believes it was planned.
Building a new house, selling the old one, moving into a rental when the new one isn’t ready. The builder becomes your mortal enemy, your husband is just glad you’re not yelling at him anymore.
Outraged when the nurse at the hospital tells you its too early for the epidural. Lose your mind, your chart is checked, shot administered, emergency averted.
12. It’s a boy!!!
He wears pink onesies and pick socks, eats dog food every so often (you checked - its actually not a bad source of protein), the girls carry him around and you’re just thankful for the help. Hope against all hope he’s as smart as the other two, convincing yourself he’ll be fine - a kid can learn a lot from watching every episode of Zack and Cody.
13. Homework and class projects that keep you up all night, Christmas programs that never end, field trips you forget to sign up for, much less pay for. Basketball, tennis, baseball, cross country, soccer, birthday parties, movie parties, bowling parties, painting parties...I am seriously out of money!
14. Uncontrollable giggles, slumber parties where no one sleeps, crushes and tears.
Deciding the meanest human being on earth comes in the form of an 11 year old girl!
Hair pulling, screaming out “MOM” at the top of their lungs just to ask you a question, footballs and baseballs in every corner of the house, name calling, closet raiding, clean clothes on the kitchen table, dirty clothes everywhere else, threatening to put the dog to sleep if someone doesn’t feed him.
I don’t know - made sense at the time.
15. Grades matter, permits, licenses, ACTs, SATs, everyone has an I-pad, I-pod, I-phone - except you! Confirming there is no greater power on earth than taking away I-pads, I-pods and I-phones!
16. Oh Hell No!! How much do I weigh!?
Stalking old friends on Facebook and noticing how much they look like their mothers.
Joining a gym, planting a garden, reading a book, taking a trip that doesn’t include visiting an aquarium, a zoo or having breakfast with a princess.
17. Watching your eldest drive away one morning, with the younger two smiling and waving out the back window.
Googling - how old is too old to have a baby?
Buying a new car instead.
18. Seeing a random stranger out with her precious new baby.
Oh Hell....really wishing you could do it all again. But this time you’ll do it all perfectly! Promise...
Christmas came early for Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
Thanks to General Manager Ruston Webster, Locker is a beneficiary of an improved supporting cast. Thanks to owner Bud Adams because he gave Webster the money he needed to add free agents and draft picks. Coach Mike Munchak now has the personnel he needs to make the playoffs. There will be no excuses.
Since Mothers Day is this month, I thought I might do a couple columns on the female type sports in our outdoors. This is the second one. JLS
They come from everywhere and do everything. One from Los Angeles owns a women’s professional basketball team and is an entertainment litigation attorney. One is from Detroit and works for the school board. One works in a shipyard in Mississippi. One is a high school student in WI. One is a physician in Oregon. As I said, they come from everywhere and do everything.The sound of women’s laughter fills the air, accompanied by the screeching that women often do when they meet someone they have not seen in a year. As could be expected, they are doing a lot of comparing of clothing. Not to be expected is the style of clothing and the piles of equipment that is rapidly mounting on the big front porch. The clothing is camouflage and the equipment is composed of bows, arrows and knee-high boots.
Following a desire and push by Robert Pitman to get more women involved in hunting (he put his money and efforts where his mouth is), Does and Bows grew. The annual bow hunt for women only, grew from seven the first year to a capacity of 33, a few years later. At that time, women bow hunters were not on television every week nor were they the sexual centerfolds for hunting magazines. We had a waiting list for hunters.
To see this group of women unpack the latest in hunting equipment and know how to use it was definitely not the norm. However, in a few years, it became so. Hunter skill level varied from entry level to professional with world champion archers rubbing quivers and trading tips with beginners. Actual competition did not exist. When one woman killed a deer, they all celebrated. The pros spent hours coaching the newbies.
Does and Bows became an industry pattern for a few other outfitters. Hosted by the famed, now closed, White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, AL, it was the first such venture in a struggling industry. “It is the women who take kids to soccer and dance and ball practice.” Said Robert Pitman, owner of the sprawling lodge. “We need to get them started taking the kids hunting.” A few years later, one hunter brought her 13-year old daughter to the hunt and they became regulars.
Strangely enough, industry wide, women began to show up in serious magazine articles and on television. Today, it is hard to find a television, hunting program that at some point does not feature a woman. Make no mistake they are not just there for window dressing (most of them). They can hunt with the best of the men and some of them may be better hunters.
Over the 13-years, the hunt existed. I saw a lot of growth in the skill level of the hunters. I saw several women kill their first animal at White Oak and made note of how they had grown in hunting ability since their first year there.
The archery/bow hunting industry also took note of women during these years and began to provide products designed just for them. Shorter, lighter bows became stock items with every bow company. These were serious bows, bows designed to shoot fast, accurately and kill animals up to elephant size. Women’s clothing began to show up in real camouflage designs and other manufacturers started taking notice of the “new” corner in the market. One year, according to a survey, women were the fastest and maybe only growing segment of the hunting industry. I would not be surprised if it is not still.
I am proud to have been a part of the formation of Does and Bows. I was at every hunt. I grinned as suddenly other outdoor writers began to see the marketability of stories on women hunting and more than happy to share information with them and get them with the women for interviews. I grinned even more as other outdoor guides and outfitters tested the waters of hosting women hunters.
Many made a logical and common mistake. They dumbed down the hunt. They allowed women to only kill does, not trophy animals. They did not regard the women as serious hunters. They quickly learned. I pushed hard to do more with women in the hunting sport.
Hunting today, especially bow hunting is alive and well. PETA and other so-called animal rights organizations are learning to leave hunting alone and fund their sky-high salaries by begging money to save poor, bedraggled pets. Each year I hear stories and get pictures of women with their kills. Lately, the women have been young…as in teenagers. I like seeing that.
It feels good to look back on my half-century of hunting and think of the changes. My earliest mentors would not think of going to the hunting camp without their wives. They were not there to cook, either. As a youngster, growing up in LA, I just assumed all women hunted. It was somewhat normal in LA.
As I became involved in the hunting industry, I was again surprised they were not. Only a few hunted and in most camps, were degraded by the men or relegated to doing the camp cooking. Even fewer bow hunted.
That changed at White Oak and at many other locations. At Does and Bows, there were no men with whom to compete; only other women and you could not really call it competition. The women were comfortable.
Today, it is as common to see a woman in camouflage as it is a man. Not just at Wal-Mart, either and not as a misguided fashion statement complete with tattoos and pierced noses. You can quickly tell the hunters from the rest.
I am glad to think hunting is in good hands. I think Robert Pitman’s goal has been reached. I truly think the women are taking the kids to soccer, dance and…Hunting.