“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.”— Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist
With the end of my hunt guiding season comes major reflection for me. It seems that February actually feels like the end of the year as I sit in limbo waiting for spring gardening or turkey season to sneak up on me. Now it’s April and I am aggressively immersed in both! Each season more rewarding then the last, in February I wipe the sleep from my eyes and I reflect on new lessons learned, memories made and feelings felt.
It may very well have been my most successful hunting season personally and professionally (100% harvest success rate), not to mention my most independent season to date. Striking out on my own was a challenge for me and I fostered new experiences. Ultimately, it is the little memories that always make me smile in addition to the gratification of bringing home or helping someone else bring home lean, organic meat to fill their freezer.
Sleeping in a tee-pee and being awoken by two slobbery Coon Hounds in the night, digging up wild onions outside a deer blind in the hill country, finding my first shed antler and broadening my culinary horizons by pushing my wild game limits in the kitchen.
Texas never ceases to disappoint in making one or two great memories. To quote the father of a young girl I guided this year,
“You can’t forget a memory.”
Prior to this fortuitous guiding season, I attended and assisted at Texas Wildlife Association’s Women of the Land workshop in November where I had the opportunity to talk to women from all over the state with different backgrounds and goals. I came to realize that it wasn’t what set me apart from others that mattered so much as what connected me to them.
The land affects me emotionally, physically and spiritually. This reflection is what I always come back to in my thoughts, especially since my guiding season is predominately with first time hunters from all walks of life. At the end of the day, the land, and our relationship to it is where our connections lie.
Being a woman of the land to me is more than just a feeling however. Women of the land is an inclusive, yet unique fellowship of ambassadors across the state of Texas. Whether a cattle farmer, a wildlife photographer, a hunting outfitter, wildlife or ag valued property owner, hiker, birder, vegan, hunter, student, or just a girl with a bunch of ducks trying to make dreams come true (like me)- there is a commonality and relationship between ourselves and the land that binds us together. We continue to educate ourselves, each other and those around us by sharing our stories and being positive Texas land stewards throughout our respective journeys.
Learning from each other and some of the top natural resource instructors in the state, the Women of the Land program gave me so much more then I ever intended to get out of it. Women who are involved in positive land stewardship across the state of Texas will get things done. A connection to the land brought us together to connect to one another, to be complete.
For more information on TWA’s Women of the Land (WoTL) workshop visit: https://www.texas-wildlife.org/resources/events/women-of-the-land-regional-workshop-ledbetter and join their Facebook page today! TWA- Women of the Land.