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This Female Hunter Feature is for Courtney Wilhelm. Here we go!
My name is Courtney and I am an avid outdoorswoman and huntress. I live to be outdoors and thankfully, I was exposed to the outdoor lifestyle at a very young age (thanks to my father). As I have grown older and my skills have expanded, I have made it a personal goal to hunt a new species in a new state or new terrain each year to continue to expand my hunting skills. My hunting adventures have taken me around the country, from the marshes to the mountains to the desert and everywhere in between, and I hope to soon broaden my horizons and hunt outside the country as well. I love knowing where my food comes from and am constantly looking for new recipes to try. I hope to be an inspiration for fellow female hunters to put fear aside and pursue their outdoor goals and dreams.
Why do you hunt and fish?
I hunt and fish thanks to my father who introduced me to the outdoor lifestyle. It has always been a family tradition to welcome hunting season and hunt with my father. My family processed our own wild game and I value knowing where my food comes from, plus being able to provide for myself and family. I also enjoy hunting and being outdoors to disconnect from social media and the stresses of life; it is a way for me to relax and reset, and I consider spending time outdoors as a method of self-care.
When was your first hunting memory, and how old were you?
I was very young! I can’t recall my exact age, but I remember my dad scooping me up in my onesie pajamas, giving me an over-sized blaze orange cap and jacket, and taking me along on his hunting outings when rifle season rolled around.
What do you love most about hunting and spending time outdoors?
I love hunting and being outdoors to disconnect from the stresses of life; it is a way for me to relax and reset, and I consider spending time outdoors as a method of self-care. I always appreciate the wild game meat — that is the real “trophy” to me after a hunt.
What’s your most memorable hunting experience?
My most memorable hunting memory is probably my Spanish goat hunt on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a major step outside of my comfort zone following a breakup, and it was so empowering. I did my own research, selected a guide for my hunt, and made the solo trip from my home in North Dakota to beautiful Hawaii. Another hunting highlight was the harvest of my first solo archery deer, my best whitetail buck to date and taken in full velvet. One more highlight is the harvest of my first elk this past fall (September 2020), a satellite bull taken with my bow in Montana.
Do you have a favorite wild game recipe?
I really enjoy a simple, seasoned deer or elk backstrap on the grill. I also enjoy meatloaf and smothered enchiladas made with venison. Dove/duck cream cheese jalapeño poppers are also a favorite.
Do you have a dream hunting excursion?
That’s tough… If I haven’t already done it, it’s on my bucket list! I would ultimately like to hunt caribou and sitka black tail deer in Alaska, plus everything New Zealand has to offer. Eventually, I would like to hunt Africa as well.
What would you say to other women who haven’t tried spending time outdoors yet?
Have no fear! Be confident and don’t be afraid to try something new. Good things come when you step outside your comfort zone!
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