Hunting has never specifically been a sport reserved for men only. My own great-grandmother was well known for keeping meat on the family table and I still have her little “kitchen gun” in my own collection of hunting arms. Heck, there have been standout lady hunters throughout all of history and a few of them are sports modern-marvels, like Beka Garris, Rebecca Wolfe Spradley, and Regina Brunson who often pop up in conversations about top whitetail hunters. Very happily, in recent years, the numbers of lady hunters have increased fantastically. In fact, according to the National Shooting Sport Foundation, the number of females purchasing hunting licenses has grown over twenty-five percent since 2008. It may not sound like a lot, but I assure you that it is a happy statistic!
I recently had the opportunity to chat with one of Florida’s most notable ladies of the outdoors whom I’ve introduced you to in this column before. Her name is Melisa Jones Tuttle and she recently shared with me a bit about her most recent success in the field. “My heart was so full, with the whole family gathered together the evening before opening day of muzzleloading season. We had chili, jalapeno cornbread, Mississippi pot roast and rice for supper and with bellies full we made our final plans and prayers for the morning.”
I’m a bit jealous, before my last hunt, all I had was a sandwich served through my truck window. But, she continued, “What a way to start off our vacation. I’ve been hunting with my daddy for 32 years and every opening day of muzzleloading season, I arrive at my treestand to find a small cooler filled with snacks and drinks which he’s left for me…. And also, I killed a deer.”
I’ve included a photo of Mrs. Tuttle and her deer, along with her famous daddy, Jimmy Jones. A legend in the outdoors and one of the finest turkey guides you could ever hope to hunt with. But, don’t be disappointed if you book a hunt and don’t get snack packs; apparently those are just for his little girl.
Melissa truly is a remarkable lady, who is hard-working and fearless in the field and alongside of her well-honed skills, she has a great knowledge of the whitetail deer, their habits, and how to exploit the seasonal conditions to her advantage. It’s what all hunters should do regardless of species targeted. If you want to hunt, learn your target animal intimately, because that knowledge will ultimately become the deciding factor in your success.
I love hearing from so many of you in my inbox and I thank you so much for allowing me the chance to visit with y’all here each week. All feedback is welcome and I love to hear a good hunting story, so feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God Bless and good hunting!