After two years of field training Roxie and meeting other women hunters in the field, I decided to get my hunting license so that Roxie and I can increase our bond by working and hunting together. I attempted to take this class earlier this spring but opted NOT to sit through a 10 hr class on a Saturday when I found out that you could do an online course and then only sit in a class for 4 hours to take the test. However, I hadn’t figured out when I was going to do this… until I saw that California Waterfowl Association was putting on a Women’s Hunter Camp. For one flat fee, this camp was going give me the hunter’s safety test, shooting practice/lessons, and a pheasant hunt all in one weekend. So after spending so long training Roxie, this weekend was MY turn for training. Roxie stayed with Tate for the weekend… although I DID miss her training skills.
I studied the online course all last week and stressed out about whether or not I was going to remember the material in order to pass. Hunting isn’t something that I have done all my life like a lot of people and so the information is not second nature to me. Everyone who knew I was taking the exam were very encouraging and told me I would pass without a problem.
Upon arrival on Saturday morning to Birds Landing, there were 15 other women in attendance. Ages ranged from 15 to 60 yrs old. We reviewed all of the course material, did some hands on firearm review and then took the test. After lunch, we learned that we all passed!! I have no idea how many I missed I’m just happy that I remembered enough to pass. Shortly thereafter, we headed out to the sporting clay range where we broke up into groups and had an instructor help us with our shooting technique. I did pretty well and think I hit maybe 30% of the shots. Sporting Clays is very diffucult for newbies so hitting anything is something to be happy about.
After sporting clays, we broke for the evening. I brought the RV and planned to spend the night. I offered up my couch to one of the other ladies, Carolyn. Another couple had also brought their RV. We all decided to go to dinner together and headed into Rio Vista to an infmaous restaurant Foster’s Bighorn. This place was SO COOL and the food was good too!!!! Mr. Foster, was a hunter. He hunted from 1931-1946 all over the world and brought home his tropies. Foster’s Bighorn boasts the largest private collection of trophies in the world. Anything you can think of is on their wall and even more that you can’t think of! When I asked how Mr. Foster could afford all of this hunting and mounting we learned that apparently, he was a bootlegger and back in the day, the restaurant was a “Speak Easy”. People used to pull into the marina via the Delta and take tunnels into the town to the bars. This was all so facinating! I encourage you to check out their website and learn more about them and be sure to visit if you are ever in the area. Here is a photo of our little group. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so all we had was a camera phone. We sat under the elephant. Notice the tusks on the wall behind us.
After dinner we headed back to camp where we attempted to enojy a drink outside but the mosquito’s were eating us alive. So inside we went where Carolyn and I chatted for a while before heading to bed.
Sunday morning came nice and early and after a nice little breakfast in the clubhouse, we were briefed for our first pheasant hunt. We were broken into groups and sent on our way with a guide and a dog. In my group was Carolyn, Pamela, Jamie. Our guide was Clint with his Brittney Cody. We also had a guest, Jamie’s boyfriend Jay, along for the hunt for which I assigned him to camera duties.
Once we were all dressed, loaded and ready, we set Cody loose in the field and he was off and running. Within minutes, we saw our first pheasant walking along side us. He ran the other way and at that point, we opted to let him go becuase there was too much going on in the area in which would have needed to shoot (cars, people in other fields, etc…). We decided to come back for him later. Cody found his first bird and two of us stepped up to shoot…. and missed. By this time, it was about 9:30ish and was already pretty warm outside. We walked and walked and walked and found quite a few birds that ended up flying into neighboring fields. The other birds didn’t want to fly at all. By this time, we abandoned the two-at-a-time plan and when we found a bird, the four of us lined up and walked it trying to get it to flush, which at one point it did and all four of us took shots at it. Apparetnly, we hit it and if flew into a pond nearby and Cody went in to retreive it. We call this bird the “We bird” because we all hit it at some point.
A short time later, Cody was off looking in another direction (he did that a lot) and we spoted the next bird ourselves. We walked it and it started to run. We chased it and it kept running. We cut it off, and it ran another direction. At one point Carolyn and Jamie were practically on top of it and it just kept running. We couldn’t for the life of us get it to fly! We must have chased that bird 150+ yards! This photo is of the four of us chasing the damn bird. Clint and Jay were busy laughing at us. Had Jay known how to use the video feature, he would have recorded the epsiode. Finally, Cody the dog caught up to us and by that time Pamela and I had petered out of the chase and only Jamie and Carolyn were still after him. Then Carolyn petered out and it was only Jamie, Cody, Clint ant Jay. Cody and Jamie finally flushed the bird, it flew and Jamie took 3 shots at it and hit it with two of them. But the bird kept flying into the next field and over a fence. Clint and Cody went in search of the bird but could never find it. The damned thing must have run away. So we walked away from that with no bird, huffing and puffing and sweating like crazy. It was at least 90 degrees by now. For the rest of the afternoon, we didn’t have any other luck and eventually threw in the towel at just after noon. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t get a bird. In fact, I was kind of hoping that I wouldn’t because in all honesty, I wanted my first bird to be with Roxie.
We were the last group in and it seemed that most everyone else got at least one bird in their group and one girl got two birds and she was a total beginner who had never even shot a gun before Saturday! We all were very happy for her.
Overall, it was a REALLY fun weekend despite the extreme heat. It was the first Women’s Hunter Camp that CWA had put on and with the success of this one, will hopefully be doing more for anyone that couldn’t come this weekend. I also hope that more clubs will hear about it and choose to do some women’s hunts on their own. I’ve actually asked a friend of mine to accompany me and a few of the women from this weekend on a small pheasant hunt and he agreed. So that will give us newbies another chance to get out there this season.
For us women, the hardest part about wanting to hunt, is finding opportunities to do so. Many of the women this weekend don’t have family or friends who hunt so the opportunity to hunt is limited. The following blog is from a lady that came out to see us yesterday. She writes about women and hunting. After yesterday’s visit, she blogged about it and is putting a call out to hunters everywhere to help us find opportunities to hunt. whether it be waterfowl, upland game, big game… let us come along! http://norcalcazadora.blogspot.com/
Now, some of you might be wondering why on earth I would want to hunt and kill something. Some don’t understand how killing an animal could be called a “sport”. Well something I have been learning is that hunting isn’t just about killing an animal. It’s about eating what you kill, providing food for your family, doing it in a humane way, conserving the wildlife, being one with nature and for me, bonding with my dog. CWA has put out an amazing video that does a great job of explaining why we hunt. It wasn’t created for the hunter, it was created for the non-hunter as a tool to better understand what hunting does for our environment and for the wildlife contained in it. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this video.
In other news… I have worked with Tate and the bank and will be able to keep the house. Now I need to get final inspection on the garage extension within the next month in order to avoid fees from the city. I am very fortunate to have good friends and great family to come to my rescue and help me get this work done. I am having a construction party this next weekend and if you want to help, grab your tool belt and come on over. Hopefully, we will get everything done in order to pass final inspection and then I can start finishing the little things around the house.
In addition to working on the house, I have tried to leave my weekends open so that I can do as much hunting this season as I can. I hope to head north to Red Bluff/Redding areas and hunt with Jimmy & Ryan and their friends as well as here in the Sacramento area. My goal is to bring a pheasant or two to cook up for Thanksgiving.
Well, that’s all for now! I’ll be sure to post updates when there is something to talk about. Be sure to check back!