“Sitting here in the treestand watching my own breath, I hear shots in the distance and hope pigs are scrambling my way. In the pre-dawn hours a stomach's rumble sounds like a hog, a squirrel like a deer, a deer like a human. The early morning loves to play tricks on the hunter. Every shadow is a creature just out of shooting distance...” I wrote this in November while sitting about 30 feet up in a treestand. I was hunting hogs at Great Southern Outdoors in Union Springs, Alabama. The hunt was sponsored by two awesome organizations: Outdoor Women Unlimited (OWU) and Alabama Black Belt Adventures (ALBBA).
“Outdoor Women Unlimited's mission is to provide women and families with education, teaching outdoor skills, sharing the knowledge of our natural resources, while building self-esteem, strengthening individual character and promoting self-reliance in a safe and professional environment,” says OWU founder Rebecca Wood.
All of the women in attendance were members of OWU. Participants hailed from Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. Rather than keep it a ladies-only event, OWU opened it up to the member's husbands. ALBBA co-sponsored the event, making sure we were placed in the lush Black Belt region of Alabama. It was ALBBA's first time co-hosting the event, and needless to say they were ecstatic about welcoming new female hunters to the region.
I hunted solo, and although I didn't kill anything I still learned so much. Most hunters already know the ecology of the land they hunt. Having never been to Alabama, I took immense pleasure in learning all about the flora and fauna of the region from the owner and his son. The hours spent in the stand, I implemented my newfound knowledge, attempting to identify the different trees. I watched the squirrels so closely as to think that I was beginning to understand their language, because yes, they have one. I mastered the quiet, another essential tool for a hunter. When you master silence, the woods become the most deafening nature concert you've ever attended. The harvesting of a creature is the main course of the hunting meal, but instead I filled up on appetizers.
Months after the hog hunt, I touched base with my new friend Rebecca Wood. I was happy to hear that my experience wasn't the only pleasant one. Two others formed a friendship that turned into exactly what helps to make a new hunter. “Members from Alabama and Mississippi have shared two deer hunting adventures since then,” says Wood. “One member, who is a seasoned deer hunter, offered an invitation to a new member to visit her deer camp.” Nothing is better than new hunters connecting with seasoned veterans to help create a larger hunting community for women.
Check out these Facebook pages for more information on the organizations: