I was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas, reared in a large family of 10 children. We never had much; our food came mostly from the land... or from the backyard. Gardens were a necessity, as were chickens and other livestock to maintain and nourish the family. An occasional rabbit or squirrel was always a great addition to any meal, and Mom made the best ‘coon dumplings in town. If whitetails and wild eastern turkeys had been abundant in that day, no doubt my dad and brothers would have hunted every season. However, during that time, these two wild creatures were nearly extinct in Northern Arkansas.
Thankfully, the deer and turkey were restocked after WWII in abundant numbers and the wildlife has thrived. I have been blessed with the opportunity in my lifetime to help promote and maintain these wildlife populations.
My dad hunted squirrels and other small game when I was a child, and I was always curious about all the hustle and bustle involved with these hunting expeditions. It was not until I was an adult and introduced to hunting myself that I understood the excitement of the hunt and the joy of bringing home the bounty to share with family and friends. I was also an adult before I understood the importance of maintaining these populations and the role hunting plays in healthy herds of deer and flocks of turkey.
I was in my late 30's before I started hunting. I learned how to hunt with a muzzleloader and continued hunting with it for several years, even during the modern gun season, until I got my first .243. My husband was my favorite hunting buddy and has been an incredible mentor. He was thrilled to teach me everything he knew and quick to introduce me to new ways of hunting, which included bow hunting. I now hunt every season; muzzleloader, modern gun, and bow. Unlike most who whine and complain about the seasons ending, I always plan for and anticipate the next season. For us, that includes spring turkey season and, if we're lucky, we fill the voids with hunting wild hogs, predator hunting, or chasing armadillos through the cow pastures with our bows. That always makes great target practice! And when we're not hunting, we're fishing. We're never far from the outdoors.
For the past nine years, my husband and I have hosted an outdoor radio program called Outdoors Live. It's the number one outdoor talk show in the Ozarks. It airs live each Monday on KKountry 95.1 FM from 1:00-2:00 p.m. We have had some incredible guests over the years including Ted Nugent, Aaron Tippon, Craig Morgan, Hank Parker, Brenda Valentine, and many, many more. We're also streaming live online at www.kkountry.com. It's an incredible job and we love promoting the outdoors and encouraging more women and children to get involved in the outdoor sports. We love sharing our passion.
Tommy and I have eight children. The oldest four, (Toby 35, Kristi 33, Adam 32, & Jason 29) are grown with families of their own. They have blessed us with seven grandchildren. Our son Casey, age 19, just graduated from the Arkansas Fire Academy and still lives at home. Our youngest three children are adopted (Sara 13, Elijah 9, and Aydan 4). No doubt you'll be reading lots of articles about these guys and their hunting adventures! They are by far my favorite subjects. I am elated to once again be a part of the WomenHunters’ staff and look forward to sharing some of my incredible outdoor adventures.