By MARINA SACHT
Shelley Robinson is an attractive, married 29-year-old mother of a five and six-year-old. She operates her business Shelly’s Nails from her Ladysmith home.
But when she dons her camo gear and heads for the wilderness armed with a crossbow and a compound bow, she is deadly.
Shelley is a part of a growing number of women who have started hunting.
“I do nails for a living and hunt as a hobby and to provide for my family.” They use all the meat that she harvests.
“All kinds of women are doing this,” she says. A growing number of women are “heading into the direction of hunting and doing things for themselves, and living off the land,” she says.
“I had no intention of harvesting any animals until I took the CORE [Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education] course taught by David Judson. That’s when I realized how ethical everything should be. I was really intrigued by it.”
Although she got her Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), which is her firearm licence at the same time, she prefers to shoot with the bow because its quieter.
Shelley’s first hunting season was in the fall of 2015. “A friend was helping me and teaching me everything I needed to know about hunting deer on the island. That’s when I shot my first deer, took it home and skinned it.”
The venison was a hit with the kids. “It’s a really lean meat, very flavourful and delicious. We got roasts and pepperoni out of that.”
The health benefits to game meat are many. Game meat is leaner and does not contain hormones, steroids, antibiotics or other additives. Deer is a good replacement for beef. An ethical hunter has a deep respect and appreciation for the animal and for the wilderness. Many hunters volunteer with outdoor clean ups and salmon enhancement programs.
Shelley also prefers to use the crossbow for hunting “because I’m a lot more steady with that and get a more ethical shot.”
The compound bow was given to her by a friend. “I love to shoot this thing — it’s so accurate and it’s light, making it ideal for competitions,” she says. Even though she’s only been to one competition, she is hooked and planning to do more this year.
Shelley took a break this year from hunting. She ate “tag soup,” which means she didn’t get anything, but she did try. “Every year, you may not be successful, but that doesn’t matter because it’s really the experience. You learn new things every single time you go out. I’m just beginning, but now it’s part of my lifestyle. And I hope to teach my children how to do the same one day.”
If you would like more information on the next Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program, contact Dave Judson from the Ladysmith Sportsmen’s Club to register, 250-245-3690 or through Facebook. The next Canadian firearms non-restricted safety course is March 25, 2017.