Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Women's Retreat with Women of the Four Winds - 2010

A Women’s Retreat – My First Pheasant Hunt
By Karen Butler
This year I was invited to a Women’s Retreat to give a class on Archery, and go Pheasant hunting at the Flying B Ranch, an Orvis Endorsed Shooting Lodge in Idaho.  The event was hosted
by Nikki Atcheson, an accomplished Professional Hunter and Guide from Atcheson and Sons Outfitters.  I must say, this was an incredible experience, not only for hunting Pheasants for the first time, but to meet a group of accomplished female outdoorswomen and hunters.

At Shoot Like A Girl we are never surprised to meet women hunters whose own adventures can hold up to the best of camp fire stories!  At night, we sat around talking about our accomplishments.  I met women hunters who were fanatic duck hunters, big game hunters, elk hunters, pheasant hunters, archery hunters…My favorite stories were from Africa, where a lion pride was none too happy to be surprised, and becoming kitty food was narrowly escaped…but, that is another article entirely!
Meals were really the only time we had to hang out (and the food was phenomenal).  The rest of the time was filled with activities.  I arrived a bit late, and the ladies already had a morning of fly fishing.  That afternoon, we went shotgun shooting!  Now, knowing that I was going on this bird hunt, which I had never done before, I wanted to practice prior to the hunt.  So, Todd and I went to the range, and he must have flung two boxes of clays, with me only shooting about ten of them…I know, I wasn’t very good, but I couldn’t figure out how to get better.  Well, thankfully the folks at the Flying B, we figured it out.  As an Archer and Riflewoman, I aim, aim, aim….as a shotgun shooter, you can’t aim; you must swing through your shot.  Well, the shotgun I was using had a bead at the end of the barrel…so, naturally, I aimed on it…well, they pulled that bead off, and SCORE, I finally figured it out.  As a side bar, when I had been practicing with Todd he told me I wasn’t swinging through, but I just didn’t get

it…  The next morning, we had an archery class, and talked about hunting clothes.  The ladies were natural archers!  That afternoon, we went out and shot rifles!  Whoo Hooo, this was a blast.  The team challenged us by creating different hunting scenarios, and we contorted to try and get into a shot that would be a good kill.  I recommend everyone challenge themselves to recreate field environment shots in their practice to ensure you don’t attempt a shot you can’t make.  I learned, if I am practically laid out on the ground, twisted around a tree, I should get in a better position to shoot.  My favorite shooting though was off the hand shooting!   

This is our dog, Casey!  Out on a hunt of her own!
She's told me, that I am never aloud to go bird hunting
without her!
All these activities, culminated in a full day of Pheasant Hunting!  This was my first Wing Shoot, and I now know the passion folks have for it.  To me, hunting is just as much about the experience as it is providing food for my family.  Well, this experience is totally different than climbing in a tree stand at zero dark thirty, but equally pleasurable.  First, there are the dogs.  We hunted over German Shorthair Pointers, which coincidentally, Todd and I have one of, who had just finished training prior to this trip.  Well, the dogs were incredible to watch.  They have a job, and they are so happy to do it.  When a girl and a dog are working together to achieve the same goal, there is a connection and beauty that transforms you to part of nature itself.  Then there is the walk and talk, being able to talk while hunting was a completely foreign experience, but it was so full of camaraderie and shared adventure, and shared accomplishment.  The hunting was great too.  I was able to harvest five birds. After the hunt, I learned how to clean the birds; so if I the next time I go again, I can take the food from the field to the oven.  
All in all, this was a grand experience.  Thanks to the Flying B and Nikki Atcheson for a  great time!  I look forward to going next year!  For more information on the Flying B Ranch, visit; and for Atcheson and Sons, vist