By: Amy Felhaber
A Little Bit About Myself
I grew up in the country, just outside the small town of Eganville, Ontario, Canada. I was fortunate enough to be raised on a farm with lots of land to roam and was able to experience and enjoy the outdoors from a young age. I was raised in a family where my father and brothers religiously attended the hunt camp each fall and it was only natural for me to begin hunting around the age of 15. I became more avid about five years ago when I met my boyfriend Bill, when I was introduced to turkey and waterfowl hunting on top of my traditional passion for hunting whitetails as well as small game.
Fishing has also been a big part of our family, as we grew up with access to the water and private fishing lakes on our property. At a young age, my father would bring us fishing at the lake behind Grandma’s house and we would always bring home a northern pike or two and have some fresh fish for supper. Fishing is always the sport between seasons; summer fishing before fall hunting season started and winter ice-fishing when the fall hunts were over. It’s something I always look forward to during the year.
I could not imagine myself today without being so involved in the outdoors. Within the past couple of years, there have been many successes, as well as many less fruitful hunting adventures. However, I always enjoy my time spent outdoors, and therefore the result of an outing doesn’t dictate my hunting or fishing experience at the end of the day. The fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to get out and be with friends and family and share time together is an amazing privilege, which is why I love to be a part of getting other people involved in these great sports.
I have mostly dealt with guns for the better half of my hunting career; whether it is with deer, turkey or waterfowl. I began hunting with a crossbow for whitetail a couple of years ago and last year I celebrated my first archery kill, which was extremely intense and rewarding. Recently I purchased a compound bow, which I have fallen in love with; it is both fun and challenging and I cannot wait until I have the chance to draw back on something other than my target!
My Hunting and Outdoor Inspirations
One important aspect that I have come to discover over the past five plus years out hunting and fishing is the positive attention and respect that I have received being a female hunter and fisher. It’s very empowering as a female who enjoys the outdoors, and a female in general, to be able to be recognized for accomplishments that I have worked tirelessly for. I began as more of a tag-along hunter; following my friends and family while I developed an understanding of the techniques and stamina required to be a successful hunter. Today, my opinions and ideas out in the field have become more valued by others. My skills have expanded, my hunting and fishing concepts and views of how I hunt and fish today have been field-tested, and I feel knowledgeable enough to share with others what I know. When guiding, to me, being a good teacher and leader are the most important qualities to have because I am demonstrating methods and practices that I have come to know from experience. Hopefully my hard work helps my companion gain enough confidence and knowledge to be able to apply it in their own hunting and fishing careers.
This is where I believe my inspiration came from to become so indulged in hunting and the outdoors. Expanding confidence in myself with achieving such challenging goals, and earning the respect that I receive from all individuals is important to me. I cannot name one individual as being the most influential with respects to where I am now with hunting and fishing (because there were many), and for the most part my inspiration for hunting and the outdoors comes from what I have done for myself. That’s my inspiration – facing adversity and overcoming challenge, and knowing that success sometimes isn’t measured solely by size, volume, or anything tangible.
I understand that time, effort and most of all money can dampen aspirations of becoming a (better) hunter, fisher and outdoors-woman; however, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I am currently attending post-secondary education to obtain my bachelor’s degree in nursing, and even with my tight budget and busy schedule, I always make time for the things that I love: my family, my friends, my dog, and my love for hunting and fishing. This is what I hope others can get out of the PRIMA community: to gain connections and establish relationships with others in the with the same passion, to find the most useful up-to-date information, and to build a community of like minded people that spans from coast-to-coast. While PRIMA will enable women to connect and further enhance their time outdoors, I believe its true value will be in helping us all reach our full potential as women, and overcoming barriers or obstacles preventing us from doing what we love – getting outdoors.
I still remember my first turkey hunt like it was yesterday. We woke up before the crack of moonlight and I was tired as hell but once the fresh damp air of the morning hit my face, I was more awake than ever. All new and exciting to me, I was repeatedly running through the possibilities of the hunt ahead over in my mind: some good, but mostly bad. Tag in hand; this was my morning to shine, as the scouting on the previous morning gave us high hopes. Like most of our turkey hunts that I have
enjoyed in the past couple of years, the initial setup was not the best (it usually never is), and some stealthy shifting took place to get in the best position: close enough to the kill, far enough to avoid being seen. As we got to our spot, I can still remember Bill doing his professional calling work, along with muttering some encouraging words:
“SIT DOWN! GET YOUR GUN UP! TAKE THE SAFETY OFF! WAIT, WAIT, WAIT… OK SHOOT THAT ONE!!”
‘YES, THAT ONE! SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!”
BANG!!! (I missed)
“SHOOT AT THAT ONE!”
“YES, THAT ONE!”
I can still recall the sheer happiness I felt that morning; countless hours of scouting seemed to be over in a few minutes. It wouldn’t be my last second-shot redemption maneuver, but it almost always ends up lethal. We ran over to the bird, and that was it – I was hooked!
I have shot many beautiful mature toms since then but nothing can compare to a first kill. The joy and sense of pride in tagging the bird and bringing it to the general store to weigh it in for the annual turkey draw was incredible, I could not have been happier. These are the memories that I will cherish and remember forever and there are still plenty of firsts for me to be had out in this big wide world.
As I sit here and write this thoughtful story of my hunting and think about the upcoming seasons, I ponder past, present and future hunting to come, and it gets me excited just thinking about the upcoming seasons – it’s a busy and tough lifestyle, but I love it!