This female hunter feature is for Chelsea Hansler.
Here we go!
My name is Chelsea Hansler. I am a mom of two crazy little rug rats, ages 4 and 5 and wife to my crazy, bushman I call my best friend. I am now an artist but it was an exciting road to this point. I grew up on a large potato farm and in a hunting family. After many adventures, including moving to the east coast when I was 16 and then joining the military when I was 20, we settled down in Northern Ontario. We strive to live a simple, country life; hunting our own meat as well as gathering and growing our own food. It is important to me that our kids can sustain themselves through traditional methods. It is a learning process for both myself and my kids, but I hope that the skills I teach them will be utilized and passed on for many generations.
Why do you hunt?
Hunting wasn’t really something I ever chose, it was just a way of life. In the fall, the men in our family would harvest a deer and travel North to harvest a moose to fill the freezer for many months to come. I was always around it but it wasn’t until I was a young teen that I realized that I could hunt as well. Most of the hunting parties were composed of all men so I never really thought anything different. Of course, my Dad was thrilled when I showed interest in participating. He taught me when I was I think 5 to shoot and I loved to fish and be outdoors. I also loved archery early on, so hunting came naturally. The “why” runs much deeper to me now that I have children. I want them to understand the relationship between what they are eating and where it came from. I want them to respect the outdoors, and be a part of it. The feeling of pride, providing for your family, is something that I would love for them to experience and carry on.
When was your first hunting or fishing trip, and how old were you?
I was holding a fishing rod, in my earliest memories. I loved to fish. At the cottage, I would take the paddle boat out to the raft and sit there for hours and hours catching fish or at least trying. My first time hunting whitetail was as soon as I was allowed to sit alone. Once I had all my credentials, I would walk out by myself every morning of rifle season in the dark and hope that a big buck would walk by. And well, they weren’t the biggest bucks but I will forever remember those hunts.
What do you like most about hunting or fishing?
Honestly, just getting outside and in nature. It’s so good for the mind and for your health. It’s the common interest my husband and I share. We both LOVE hunting and being out in the bush, so it’s something we try to do often together. I think as a whole though, it brings my family together. My brothers and I are very close and hunting and fishing are something we love to do together. It has especially been a blast now that the kids are able to run around and follow us through the trees. It’s always an adventure.
What’s your most memorable hunting or fishing experience?
Oh man, I can think of so many incredible memories. The first buck that I shot on my own, my first week of hunting. There is truly no feeling like it. Or the first bull moose that I took on a hunting trip with my husband and two brothers. But I would have to say, my favorite hunt would have to be when we took my then 3-year-old daughter on a bear hunt ( she was completely safe). Not because it was the biggest bear, but because she was with me. The glow in her eyes when she got to be a part of it and this way of life that my husband and I are always immersed in was the best feeling in the world. I carried her in on my back and she was a part of the beginning right until the end. To this day, she still talks about it and how we cooked it afterward, etc. THAT is why I hunt.
Do you have a favorite wild game OR fish recipe?
Where we live, bear are in abundance, so we are fortunate to harvest a few in our family every year. So, I have tried lots of recipes with the bear ground as a substitute for beef and have discovered some pretty delicious ones. I know a lot of people turn their nose at bear meat, but it truly is delicious and we believe in utilizing what we kill, from food to crafts. I just recently discovered a tortellini soup recipe I have been making in large batches with bear sausage in it.
Do you have a “dream” hunt?
I could think of so many hunts I would love to go on. Elk is definitely on the top of that list and a Yukon moose.
What would you say to other women who haven’t tried hunting yet?
Don’t let the fear of looking stupid or asking the wrong questions hold you back. The truth is, a lot of guys don’t know the answers either but no one second-guesses them. If you want to be there, be there. Do your research, and learn from experience.
If you’re interested in hearing more about hunting women, check out my e-book.