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Here's to Our Bowhunting Foremothers

Here's to Our Bowhunting Foremothers

My father lives far away, so for Father's Day he got a call and a giant monkey card, and I hit the archery range with a coworker. I was quickly informed that I was pretty much doing everything incorrectly. That's always great to hear. Luckily, I corrected my mistakes, which were mainly in regard to my poor draw and how I was wearing my release.

After my jaunt to the range, I decided to search the internet for "female bowhunters" to find forums to join for more feedback. Pictured below is what Google's search brought up. Apparently, big surprise, the most searched-for topics in relation to female bowhunters are pictures and TV celebrities. I also found, "New Contest Hot Female Bow Hunters." In an attempt to rid my brain of the angry diatribe that was forming, I decided to refine my search to "famous female bowhunters." I was curious to see what the women who came before me had done. I'm talking about the women you don't see on TV, who weren't featured in a "hot babe" photo gallery because they would laugh at the notion; the unsung heroes of the bowhunting world that did what they loved and blazed the path for us today. Okay, maybe not unsung--that might be a bit dramatic--but you catch my drift...

female bowhunters search

Let's Raise Our Arrows to These Bowhunting Foremothers
The first bowhunter to pop into my head was my new hunting pal Brenda Valentine. This lady may see her fair share of the limelight, but she is the real deal. She is an avid outdoorswoman and conservationist. A few of her accomplishments include National Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, Tennessee Turkey Hunters Hall of Fame, Paris/Henry Co. Sports Hall of Fame, Women In The Outdoors Leadership Award, AMVETS Silver Bayonet Award, and Outdoor Writers Association and Outdoor Channel media awards, and Head Archery Coach for Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn. I'm honored to call her a friend.

Betty Gulman, who passed away July 6, 2010, brought national bowhunting attention to the state of California. According to CBHSAA.net, she began shooting in 1956 with a 45-pound lemon-wood bow and won her first trophy that same year. In 1968 she won Big Game Hunter of the year from Oranco Bowman. She was the first woman to win the NFAA Master Bowhunter Medal, among other numerous first place awards. Read more about this bowhunting legend here.

Carolyn S. Zanoni is another legendary bowhunter. Named Bowhunter magazine's Female Bowhunter of the Year in 1980, Zanoni didn't start bowhunting until the early 60s. According to the Chicago Tribune, Zanoni hunted black bear, antelope, whitetail deer, and even mountain lion with her bow. She had numerous ribbons from various competitions, and the Pope and Young Club bowhunting museum has a mountain lion pelt and mounted antelope she killed on display.

These are just a few of a long list of fabulous hunters who have and continue to inspire women to bowhunt. I know I'm inspired.

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