Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Interview with the Pacific Northwest Huntress... Terry Scoville of Women's Hunting Journal (Part One)

Photo of Terry Scoville's first deer

Fellow Bloggers and Outdoor Enthusiasts:

About three weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a person who was having some difficulty linking to my blog and it went like this:

Hi there, this is Terry from Women's Hunting Journal. I have tried to link you on my blog but blogger says it can't detect a URL for your site. Any ideas? Found your site via Hunt, Eat, Live and I really enjoy reading your blog. Great Great dedication and I love the Eider "thesis" very cool. I hunt in S.W. Oregon in the Klamath basin and we don't get the species you Easterners do.

I'll keep trying to get you linked, let me know if there are any reasons you know of for the difficulty or best yet any solutions. Thanks and keep up the tradition.

When I first created my blog, I didn't expect to be networking with other members of a country-wide hunting and fishing community. However, through one friend I have found many and often I find myself browsing through the articles that are different but so similar to my practice in Downeast Maine.

I hadn't checked out Terry's blog at this point, but felt compelled to do so and it became quite apparent that my interest in her world became what blogging is all about. Her experiential writing from the field and how it applied to women generated a need to find out what drives a female to have a passion for hunting much like me.

Before I continue, I need to inform you all that I have two young girls, 4 and 2 respectively, and it is very important for me to effectively introduce them to a world I care about so much. I've had my oldest freshwater fishing for bass on the open water and trout through the ice, and my youngest emulating her older sister. But fishing is different than hunting, in a world that animals are portrayed as one of us through animation, Bambi and Nemo have become silent advocates against hunting and fishing. I needed to establish a dialogue with Terry about how she became the huntress so well presented in her blog.

Through several e-mails, we began to share experiences, stories, and general information about what we possess in our gun cabinets to the types of game we pursue to the nature of better representing our sport.  It then became apparent that I must allow her to answer some questions so that young women who either hunt or aspire to hunt can feel confident in developing their persona in an increasingly complex and changing world. In addition, her life can in fact become a useful device for fathers who want to encourage their daughters to grow up with hunting as a part of their life as opposed to something they just do to make their dad happy.

So I proposed this to Terry: I interview you as an ambassador for women to hunting and you can do the same with me in any direction you choose. This is what I received from her. Enjoy!!!

Why is it that you have found yourself blogging and more importantly why the development of Women's Hunting Journal?

It was this past March when I was having lunch with a good friend Cristina Acosta, who's blog (Create and Relate) suggested I start a blog dedicated to women's hunting. Her reason being that I seldom grew tired of sharing my stories about being in the field and pursuing my passion for hunting. I feel history has overlooked women's hunting. There are some books noting women hunters as early as the 1800's, but for the most part hunting is perpetuated as a male dominant pursuit. I feel the presence of more women hunters will eventually break the negative stereotypes that exist regarding women and hunting.

In the field a women learns self reliance, confidence, gains clarity as to her strengths and weaknesses, thus learning what her own guidelines for hunting. For example, packing out big game animals: deer, elk, moose, bear. Being typically not as large in stature or as physically strong as a man, a woman will need to make more trips packing out the meat or hunt with a partner to help pack out meat. As for waterfowl and upland hunting, I feel that abilities between men and women are equal. Women's Hunting Journal creates a public arena for conversation about women in the field.

On your blog under the section “About Me”, you mention your experience in years and address your enthusiasm towards hunting, if you were to add anything else about yourself what would you share?

In sharing my stories on Women's Hunting Journal, my priorities are integrity and keeping it real. Being true to the hunting experience is about being present, not just on the physical level but emotionally and spiritually as well. I feel that a good hunter/huntress is the epitome of a good conservationist. Conscious hunting includes both internal dialogue and shared conversations about morality, ethics, connection to wild places and wild things, and respect for myself and my quarry. How a person pursues hunting and conducts themselves in the field is a reflection these conversations.

How do you feel about the status of women in the field based on your experiences and response from your blog? Are there any avenues of improvement, declination, praises, or concerns?

Based on comments and reading my analytics, I can see that my blog is affecting readers in a positive way. There are readers from all over the world who are reading about my experiences as an American woman huntress. When readers from countries such as India, Nigeria, Turkey, Madagascar and other countries where women do not have the full political, social, economic and religious rights that I have, then I feel my blog stories are examples of such freedoms to the rest of the world. On that level it is a huge responsibility to maintain the integrity of Women's Hunting Journal and to continue to post my experiences as a woman in the field.

What was the defining moment for you that stoked the fire inside for hunting? There are experiences that turn us on to things, and experiences that turn us off. Have there been times that your dedication to hunting became questionable? If so, how did you manage to handle this challenge?

As a woman there is not a specific moment that got me hooked on hunting. Rather experiences as a whole which took root when I was young. Everything is connected to everything else. Learning in school was difficult and it didn't take me long to realize that I was more at home with myself if I was able to be physically active in learning. I am a kinesthetic learner, hence all the years ski racing and pursuing sports. So when my father started taking me hunting and fishing I caught on quickly and found great confidence in those arenas. The time and energy my father shared with me continues to keep his spirit at my side long after his passing.

As for a time in my life when I questioned my hunting, yes there was. I was about 30 years old and questioned my entire existence. I put my shotgun down for 9 years and reassessed my reasons/motives for hunting. That period of my life was one of great growth and a time I reassessed my reasons for being. I wrote a post about that time in my life titled, Why Do You Hunt?

Stay tuned for Part Two!!!

1 comment:

Live to Hunt.... said...

Downeast, this is a great post interview with one of my favorite people. Terry. I too have come to get to know her via email and blogging and look forward to the day when I make the drive up I-5 to go waterfowling with her. She is such an inspiration to me for my own 7 year old daughter.