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by Synthia Wilson
I began my early childhood years as the daughter of a Midwest Kansas farm family of four and had a childhood living in the outdoors as my playground and my paradise. I spent my free time in the woods, playing in the creeks, exploring, looking for rock fossils, fishing, gigging for frogs and seeking other treasures such as turtle shells. My families’ heritage in this area of Kansas goes back at least 5 generations to 1861 when Kansas was formed. In those days people came west with a “rifle and a Bible” and the preferred weapon was the Kentucky Rifle and a varmint gun. My ancestors were the first American settlers to Pottawatomie County, Kansas, at a time when elk and buffalo still roamed the plains and deer were in abundance. This was also during the time when there were still confrontations with Indians. I am a descendant of Swedish, French and German settlers from this time period, who learned how to live off the land, growing their food, trapping what they could. My family for generations hunted what game they could find. Many of my family members in Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado still hunt and consider wild game their mainstay of meat supply. We hunt not only for the quality of meat but also for the satisfaction taking part in the harvest so we can put a variety of meals on the table.
As a child I was a successful angler and enjoyed catching bass, crappie, and catfish. I began hunting for quail and pheasant when I was 8. My family influenced my desire to hunt. Both of my parents hunted deer, rabbits, squirrels and coyotes. Plus my father was a fur trapper. My mother grew up with her family in Wyoming. They hunt elk, moose, mule deer and antelope for part of their main stay of food. Our families also learned how to raise a garden and do home canning.
The School of Hard Knocks
cI grew up in a generation of kids that played Cowboys and Indians and always liked to pretend I was the one with a bow and arrow and this love stuck with me, blooming later in life. My initial interest in bowhunting was sparked in 1984, when I took a class my senior year college on Traditional Archery, shooting a recurve bow. I was immediately hooked and wanted to own my own bow some day to hunt with. I am completely addicted to the outdoors and have such an incredibly deep passion for hunting and fishing that sometimes it’s hard for me to get my mind off of it. When I am outdoors all of my senses come alive and I enjoy the sounds of the song birds, watching the animals play, hearing the turkeys call and listening for that small snap in the woods that might indicate something is near. I have never left the woods empty handed because the knowledge gained is in itself valuable.
I married my husband Ken in 1985. Ken had not hunted deer before we were married, but began to bowhunt with my brother, Stanley Mars. Ken gave me my first Browning bow in 1992, which I hunted with for several years. I currently shoot a Hoyt bow, which I was set on after having the opportunity to tour the Hoyt plant in Salt Lake City, Utah. I started shooting at local 3-D Archery Tournaments and Clubs, winning first place in all but my first tournament. I also have several rifles to hunt with.
On my first deer hunting trip out, I took a buck within 10 minutes of getting up in my tree stand, which I consider beginners' luck! It was a great experience to share with my husband. My first 3 years I hunted mostly with Ken or my brother Stanley Mars. But being the independent person that I am, I quickly wanted to rely my own instincts for hunting tactics, deciding on a hunting location and timing. Building upon my own experiences and learning the behaviors of the deer that I hunt has given me greater confidence. I feel however that we can always learn more. Hunting is a stress reliever for me and gives me the peace I crave. I so much love the things God has created for us to enjoy. You can not be in nature and not see God’s handiwork. Being outside is the part of living for me that makes me really feel alive! Like most people I did not grow up eating from a silver spoon, so my hunting always has had to be worked around my job. I believe in the principals for Quality Deer Management and therefore am not strictly a trophy hunter.
My husband and I both hunt, but with balancing a family, it is difficult for us to hunt together. I have a young daughter Selena who is 10 who is learning more each year about hunting and has been out turkey hunting with me. She already is a great angler and enjoys going to Youth Fishing Derbies, trout fishing and pond or lake fishing. She also goes out in the woods with me shed antler hunting and looking for nature’s treasures. I also have a special needs son Clayton who is 5 and is Autistic. It is difficult to explain how vastly different the dynamics of a family are when you have a special needs child at home who requires constant supervision. The support of family and friends is invaluable.
Steward of the Environment
In 2000 I became a landowner and manage a 160 acre property that had been in my family since I was a child. As I look over the creeks, valleys, trees and ground I am reminded that this all will still be here long after I am gone. In considering my responsibility as a steward of the earth, I am reminded of the words of Genesis 1:26-28. The property is divided between crop land, conservation areas and forest. I strive to manage our property to develop it into useful habitat that is good habitat for deer, turkey and quail. These conservation practices have taken years of research and dedication to a common goal from multiple sources and will be ongoing. I am currently in the process of joining with the state of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Kansas University to develop some research projects which use Quality Deer Management goals and guidelines. My conservation practices include--
Areas of Involvement
I enjoy sharing what I have learned with others and am actively involved in both community and educational work. Through teaching, seminars, mentorship with individuals and membership involvement with various organizations, I am able to impact others and pass on my knowledge. I dedicate between 300-500 hours per year to various non-profit programs and organizations.
I have conducted seminars for Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas retail stores. I have also attended various hunting expos as a speaker. The quality of my Whitetail Deer Hunting seminars has been rated superior by top sportsman such as Dick Idol, and by nationally known trick shooter Frank Addington Jr. I also have done radio broadcast interviews with local stations. The following are some of the other areas where I invest my time:
Honors & Awards
Tools of the Trade
Opportunities I am Seeking
You can contact me at www.synthiawilson.com or on Facebook.
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