Growing up in the outdoor industry has been a blessing beyond words. It allowed me to grow a strong work ethic, incredible value for life, and a passion that can’t be taken away. I have always been surrounded by fellow outdoorsmen. Now in my life, I see how this exposed me to lots of good people and I realize how spending time outdoors with my family helped me turn into who I am today. I have learned so much about outdoorsmen and while there is so much to be proud of, there are some things that trouble me greatly. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see how divided we are as hunters. Bow hunters versus rifle hunters, high fence hunters versus low fence hunters. and the “I don’t use a feeder” hunters against other hunters and on an on. I don’t get it. I support all legal means of hunting and I do it all. I support any legal form of hunting and don’t take sides or pick favorites. We need more hunters involved in our hunting heritage and the infighting among hunters is detrimental to the future of hunting. If hunters don’t like a form of hunting, then don’t do it.
But don’t slam other hunters that hunt differently than you do.

The crossbows introduction to hunting was a long one. Lots of people did not support it, thought it was unethical and unnecessary. I remember being twelve years old testifying at the Texas Legislature to get the crossbow legalized during archery season. It seemed like a no brainer to me; crossbows were fun and affective! They benefited handicapped people and those who could no longer use a rifle or compound bow. They got new hunters involved in our sport. My journey in hunting is a testament to the positive impact the crossbow has on people’s lives.

As a little girl, I went on a hunt where I was told to shoot a caliber that was too large for me. The guy had me shoot it over and over again trying to drive out that fear, when all he was doing was driving me away from hunting and making me gun shy. My dad was heartbroken that I had become so scared of guns- he didn’t want me to miss out on growing up hunting. So, here came the crossbow.

I first shot a Horton crossbow when I was 8 years old and fell in love with it! I practiced really hard every day and my parents took me down to South Texas where I had the opportunity to take two javelinas with excellent shot placement. A year later, my mom took me on my first whitetail buck hunt, which my dad filmed for our hunting show. I took him down with a perfect heart shot. Looking back on the footage, I realize how immensely blessed I am. Not only did I have an innovative (yet controversial) tool that helped my gun shy self accomplish a landmark achievement as a huntress, but I had parents who nurtured and supported me in the outdoors from the get go.

Fast forward a decade or so and you’ve got a 22 year old huntress that uses a crossbow, compound bow, bolt action rifle, AR, air rifle, and even pistol. There are two morals to this story:

One: Every kid is different when being introduced to hunting. Be patient. Cater to their needs. They are the future of our hunting heritage. How do you spell “love”? T-I-M-E! It takes time and the reward is well worth it.

Two: We as hunters have enough forces from the outside fighting against us. We need to unite to defend our way of life. Controversy is inevitable. If you don’t like a specific method of hunting that is absolutely okay. Just don’t belittle it. Educate yourself to all the positive benefits it brings to the future of hunting! When it comes to individuals, to each their own. When it comes to our hunting culture, what benefits our future generations benefits us all.