Knowing I have never (as of yet 🙂 ) scaled steep mountains in pursuit of mountain goats, or hunted bear in Quebec from a campsite, or spent nearly a month in the sub-zero temperatures of Alaska in pursuit of game–I was still encouraged by some hunting friends to enter an essay in the Tahoe Films Hardcore Huntress Essay Contest. I was not lucky enough to be chosen as one of the final 10 and have to be honest when saying I was really moved at reading some of the essays. Some of those women are TRULY hardcore.

In any event, I wanted to share my story, my essay, my entry with my blog followers. I feel truly blessed and I am grateful to all the mentors and good people in my life that have made this new found love something beyond words. My only hope is that most women could have the opportunity of this gratifying feeling and a few of the life enrichening experiences that have been a big part of my life the last three years. My old life seems a lifetime away and every fiber of my being is permeated with this new found love, lifestyle and journey. Every week brings a new experience and a quick glance at my calender brings this reality to fruition.

I encourage every woman to step out into the outdoors. If you don’t want to harvest game, get involved by filming your spouse or hunting friends. Become a part of a growing trend. The first step may be the hardest, but you will find that there are many women out there that would be more than happy to help you with that. All it takes is an email, research on the computer, or a phone call….and you too can enrich your lives and experience all the outdoors has to offer. I can assure you that you will not regret it; there is so much for you to gain. What do you have to lose? You might even be surprised what it can do for your marriage or relationship.

Here is the essay that I submitted:

Life has an uncanny way of putting you where you were meant to be. I never imagined mine would take me from sitting on the couch, remote in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other to sitting at the base of a tree with a shotgun resting across my knee. Or in a ground blind, a compound bow in my lap, on the edge of an alfalfa field in Wyoming a mere 80 yards from the North Platte River; even more remarkably scaling the mountains of southeast Montana in search of a prized longbeard on a quest to complete the coveted Turkey Grand Slam.

At least not in this lifetime did I dream this possible. It happened before I knew it and without any warning. My life unfolded from a guarded comfort zone with the spontaneous opportunity to tag along with my husband on a hunt a short three years ago. From a non-hunter who, at that point in my life, spent very little time outdoors to an avid hardcore huntress doing things that I never dreamed I could physically do.

Competitive by nature, always setting personal goals high and demanding of myself to perform better and learn more has presented awe-inspiring experiences with a few hardships along the way. Always challenging myself, I set a goal in my first year of hunting to harvest game with a compound bow, shotgun, muzzleloader, and rifle and accomplished that in 10 months. As an avid huntress I have had the opportunity over the last three years to hunt in ten states, adding an 11th and 12th this fall. Hunting has shared with me the inspirational experience of watching new life as the earth wakes up and the stirring emotions of witnessing the last breath of life leave from a successful harvest.

I have been faced with many new and challenging feats that were life changing—sometimes I have to step back to realize ”this is me”! Last season, my most hardcore yet, left me yearning for more. I logged just over 289 hunting hours; experiencing my first unguided archery stalk hunt in Wyoming where I had the opportunity to hunt whitetail deer and antelope. This hunt included several seemingly endless days sitting on the edge of an alfalfa field in a blind, stripped down to my base layers and bare feet, as the high temperatures and hot sun beat down on the blind like a high priced sauna.

My most inspiring hunt was an unguided turkey hunt in the mountains of southeast Montana. I learned so much about myself—not that I didn’t question my sanity several times during this hunt while trekking up the side of a mountain for the chance opportunity that a flock of turkeys “may” be on the mountain top.

You see, my life may never again be normal when compared to my friends and family, but you will never hear me complain for what I have is richer in experiences than most can ever fathom.

I encourage all of my blog readers to go to the Tahoe Films website and read the Top Ten Finalists essays and cast your vote; those top ten finalists are truly outstanding.

© Nancy Jo Adams 2009