Who Are Women Hunters?

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1 | Tammy Sapp

Tammy Sapp has worked as an outdoor writer for more than 26 years, but her interest in hunting began when she was a kid. “My brush with fur in the ‘70s was less about high fashion and more about helping dad skin and stretch muskrat pelts,” Sapp says. To this day, she still loves spending time afield chasing doves, ducks, turkeys, deer, quail and antelope. “I give partial credit to my fixation on working out — weightlifting, cardio and Pilates — for giving me the strength and energy for trudging through swamps and scurrying over hills and dales,” Sapp says. 

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2 | Morgan Bryant

Morgan Bryant grew up in hunt camp. Her parents are outfitters, so she was exposed to hunting at a young age. “After taking my first mule deer when I was 11, I was hooked,” Bryant says. “Now, 10 years have passed and I have put a variety of game under my belt, including an oryx, a bear and even a B&C mountain lion. As of right now I am into archery elk hunting -- coming face-to-face with screening bulls. There is nothing quite like it!” When she’s not pursuing game, Morgan enjoys spending time with her husband and her new puppy.

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3 | Brita Lewis

The youngest of three girls, Brita Lewis became her dad’s hunting buddy at the age of 9. “I remember going to sit with him a lot and then one day realizing that I wanted to have my own weapon,” Lewis says. “I wanted the challenge.” Her passion is bowfishing and bowhunting, but she hunts just about anything in season. For Lewis, hunting is more than a thrill to enjoy with good friends; it’s part of a focus on close-to-nature, sustainable living. “I like to be as self-sufficient as possible, and I’m a locavore,” Lewis says. She calls her philosophy WildThrive, and she’s dedicated a Facebook page and soon to be website to sharing natural ideas anyone can use in everyday life. 

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4 | Tes Randle Jolly

Tes Randle Jolly, owner of Jolly’s Outdoor Visions near Tuskegee, Ala., is a freelance outdoor photographer specializing in wild turkey and whitetail deer. A third generation racing greyhound breeder and trainer, Jolly worked in the family business until the mid-1990s. Jolly credits her parents with passing on the tradition and respect for the natural world. At 9 years old, her enthusiastic desire to hunt turned to teary-eyed disappointment upon hearing of the men’s only hunt club rule. “Luckily, my parents felt daughters deserved the same hunting education and opportunities as sons. Until the rule was dropped, Jolly’s dad snuck her in disguise as his son, Harvey, wearing baggy army fatigues and a floppy-brimmed hat. 

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5 | Barb Baird

A former small-town newspaper reporter and editor, Barb Baird, now writes about hunting, fishing, shooting and all-things outdoors for a variety of publications and websites. The Realtree News blogger launched an ezine for women who love to shoot, hunt and fish called Women’s Outdoor News. “What a lot of people don’t know about me is that to relax, I will usually play a piece by Beethoven or Chopin on my piano,” Baird says. “A classically trained pianist, I love the canon of European composers. When I’m practicing my bow shooting, I’ll plug into Rammstein. From head-banging heavy metal to a soothing sonata, this range of music represents my lifestyle these days, and I wouldn’t want to do anything differently.” 

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6 | Julie Wilkins

Realtree.com's copy editor, Julie Wilkins, grew up in a hunting family, but she didn’t begin hunting until recently. “Even with the subject of hunting being a part of my everyday life at home, hunting was the least of my interests. My mother and most of my girlfriends didn't hunt. We thought of it as mostly a man's sport,” Wilkins says.  But, interests change as you grow. Wilkins says she doesn’t know what sparked her hunting interest. “Perhaps it was maturity. Maybe I felt less intimidation as more and more women are hunting these days. Whatever the reasons, I quite enjoy all aspects of hunting and hope to continue to hunt every chance I get.” Wilkins also enjoys long walks with her dog, fishing and trail running. 

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7 | Michelle Brantley

An elementary school teacher, Michelle Brantley, is an adrenaline junkie with a man-sized passion for hunting. She’s killed a mountain lion, speared wild hogs and hunts whitetails almost every afternoon during the early season. She cleans and processes all of her own game, which makes up the majority of her diet. “When I was 9 I wrote a proposal on all the reasons why I should be allowed to hunt, and presented it to my dad,” Brantley says. “It took several years to convince him, but to this day my dad is one of my closest hunting buddies.” Despite her passion for the outdoors, Michelle considers herself somewhat girly, as she likes to wear dresses and have manicured nails. Those who know her also know she has a deathly fear of cows.

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8 | Katherine Grand

When it comes to outdoor passions, Katherine Grand has the bases covered. An avid falconer, hunter, outdoors woman and fly fisher, Grand spends more time outdoors than indoors. She’s a part-time fly fishing guide with Willowfly Anglers in Almont, Colo., and works full time with Prois Hunting and Field Apparel for Women. Grand took up the sport of falconry several years ago and has become proficient at capturing and training birds of prey. “The only animal I am afraid of are spider monkeys, as one bit me in the butt in front of a large group of tourists while I was working as a wildlife intern in Costa Rica,” Grand says. “I’ve been plotting my revenge ever since.”

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9 | Stephanie Mallory

Stephanie Mallory grew up hunting with her dad, although she didn’t shoot her first critter, a turkey, until she was in her 20s. The face behind Realtree.com's RealBlog, Mallory owns Mallory Communications, which provides media relations services and content for a number of outdoor companies and publications. Mallory loves all things outdoors and especially enjoys backpacking, photographing and camping in America’s national parks. Mallory once had an armadillo crawl onto her lap during a turkey hunt. “I credit that experience to my talent for remaining absolutely still while hunting,” Mallory says. “I was so one with nature that the armadillo didn’t even notice me. Actually, if I have to be honest, the armadillo was probably lured in by the smell of all of the junk food in my turkey vest.”

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10 | Shannon Salyer

Shannon Salyer grew up in sunny San Diego, Calif., and was the typical beach bum surfer. She moved to the Pacific Northwest on a whim to attend Oregon State University. “I didn’t get into hunting until after college when I landed a public relations job at the top advertising firm in the hunting and shooting industry,” Salyer says.  “There, I met a lot of great people willing to help me learn how to hunt. I thought it would be a great way to get outdoors and enjoy myself. I became hooked after my first bow hunt where I harvested a mature doe.” 

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11 | Karen Lee

Karen Lee is editor-in-chief for the National Wild Turkey Federation, with her primary role serving as editor of its flagship publication, Turkey Country. She began hunting when she started working for the NWTF almost 14 years ago and has since hunted a variety of game (mostly wild turkeys) across the country. Lee went on her first international hunting trip, an African plains game safari, two years ago. “When not working or spending time outdoors with my husband and 4-year-old son, I love listening to live music, especially '80s hair bands,” Lee says. “I recently attended Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp with my favorite group, Def Leppard.” 

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12 | JoLee Liepman

JoLee Liepman grew up in a small town on the Oregon coast with three older brothers and a dad who were all avid hunters and commercial fishermen. “From as early as I can remember, I wanted to do what the boys were doing - ride ATVs, hunt, fish, shoot etc.,” Liepman says. “I even worked on commercial fishing boats in Oregon and Alaska and served as the deckhand on a charter fishing boat during the summers for more than eight years.” Liepman never imagined all of these activities would lead to a professional public relations career in the outdoor industry. Now, as a wife and stay-at-home-mom, much of her time is spent focused on raising her daughter, working out, sewing and other crafts, and spending time with her family in the outdoors. 

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13 | Kristy Barnes

A Realtree licensing account manager, Kristy Barnes has always loved being outdoors. Throughout her childhood her family spent many vacations in campgrounds and state parks during summer break. However, it wasn't until her first deer-hunting experience at the age of 15 that she became hooked on hunting. “I received a brand new Marlin 30/30 as a birthday gift and was eager to try it out. A friend took me out on his family’s land. Just when we were about to pack up and go home, out stepped three does. Through iron sights I aimed, fired and watched the doe fall. It was in that moment of adrenaline-pumping excitement, I knew I'd continue this sport for many years to come.” Kristy enjoys the sport of CrossFit and training for triathlons in her off time. 

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14 | Hilary Dyer

Having grown up the only nonhunter in a hunting family, Hilary Dyer finally caught the hunting bug when she moved to Alabama from her home state of Pennsylvania and landed a job in the editorial department at Grand View Media Group. More than 10 years later, she’s still editing a variety of hunting and fishing magazines and has developed a real passion for the outdoors and shooting. “Dad couldn't be prouder that his oldest girl is finally a hunter,” Dyer says. “I have an 8-year-old daughter who is turning out to be a real spitfire, and we're cultivating in her a love of the outdoors and an understanding of firearms safety and what hunting is all about.” When she's not hunting or shooting, Hilary is busy with her other hobbies, which include cooking, reading, counting typos in the newspaper, and tending a first-year vegetable garden, which is not looking very promising. 

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America's women hunters are stay-at-home moms and former surf bums; classically trained pianists and teachers. They're dog trainers and fitness nuts; adrenaline junkies and business executives. In short, they can't be typecast as this way or that way. Although they share a passion for the outdoors, women hunters are as varied in personalities, likes and interests as any other ladies you'd encounter on the street. The women featured in this gallery represent only a tiny sampling of the fastest growing demographic in hunting. And as you'll see, about the only thing they have in common is an addiction to the thrill of the chase.