On a recent walk with my dog along the river, I happened upon an athletic, delicately-built woman briskly jogging with two handsome, well trained Golden Retrievers. I commented on the dogs’ sleek exuberance, and discovered, much to my surprise, that they were hunting dogs – her hunting dogs. Sharon, it seems, is a huntress – a member of an enthusiastic community of sportswomen in the Sacramento region. Sharon learned the sport as an adult, and her favorite game to pursue is pheasant. She has also gone out for wild boar and deer (“soak the meat in milk,” she advises, “and it will remove the gaminess”). Often hunting alone, she relishes the beauty of her surroundings and the taut, thrilling challenge of game stalking. She described with enthusiasm the wonderful flavor of smoked pheasant (“I freeze them and hand them out as gifts during the holidays”) and the eye-rolling deliciousness of wild boar that’s been baked overnight in a pit in the ground. She also recounted the story of a Mexican gastronomic adventure including a freshly-caught deep-sea fish (hers, of course) and the best hand-formed corn tortillas she had ever tasted in her life. Sharon is a committed foodie, much as I am – but her passion extends to the procurement of the meat she so enjoys. It made me wonder how many other women hunters there are in the region. If you’d like to read about one local woman hunter’s experiences, check out Holly A. Heyser’s blog at http://norcalcazadora.blogspot.com, a funny and very human chronicle of Heyer’s “hunting stories, gear reviews & commentary.” People who hunt for food, she reflects, “are resourceful folks who deserve a little respect.”
If you’re intrigued about female hunter activities in the Sacramento region, here are three resources:
California Department of Fish & Game: (916) 358-2900; a wealth of information about many hunting activities in our region. I was told that there are special “draws” for women hunters for “highly sought after” game like wild turkeys. Call for details.
Founded in January 2009, the Sacramento Valley Women’s Outdoor Connections website helps local hunting enthusiasts “meet others in the Sacramento Valley interested in getting engaged in the outdoors through conservation, shooting and hunting.”
Hastings Island Hunting Preserve in Rio Vista is a favorite amongst local pheasant huntresses; (707) 678-3325