Field to table, women bow hunters bringing home bacon
Houston County Courier
by Martha Huett
Eighteen feet up a tripod deer stand on a dewy Texas morning, a Houston County bow hunter waited patiently for a doe to turn to point within 20 yards. Five minutes later, the hunter was on the ground, field dressing the harvest and by suppertime had cooked and served up a hearty venison meal. “I’m the luckiest man alive!” the hunter’s husband, who had spent most of the day relaxing in front of the television with friends, exclaimed about his wife. “She takes it all the way,” he added. Annette Williamson, 52, of Crockett, is a wife, mother, full-time retail food store manager and an east Texas hunter of over 30 years. “My daddy had five kids to feed and hunted to put meat on the table,” Williamson ex-plained about Melvin Currie of Anderson County. “And I hunt for meat, too,” she said, adding that when she started hunting during her first year of a 35-year-long marriage to husband David Williamson, the harvest was necessary for their survival. Now, the Williamsons estimate that they share as much as 400 pounds of venison every year with needy Houston County families. Kendall King, a 24-year-old Houston County resident and Crockett law office worker was just seven years old when she first ‘tagged along’ with her parents on their piney woods hunts near Crockett, Texas. “My mom was a hunter and so was my grandma on my father’s side,” King revealed about her hunting lineage. Like Williamson, King’s hand in the harvest goes from the field to the table. “If you hunt, well, you also skin and dress your harvest,” King explained. About the final presentation on the supper table, King added that she likes it simple. “A little flour on some back strap, oil in the pan, and fry it up,” she stated matter-of-factly. Across the country, the number of women applying for hunting licenses that carry the archery endorsement has seen a dramatic increase over the last two years. According to 2010 figures from the National Sporting Goods Association, more women than men took up hunting last year, with female bow hunters up 30.7 percent. In Houston County, the percentage increase of women applying for the same licenses exceeded national figures at 33.3 percent. This figure released by the License Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Head-quarters in Austin reflects what local licensing agents have observed. “We’ve seen a really big increase in women coming in for licenses,” said Yulanda Driskell, a sporting goods department manager of a Crockett business. Driskell, a Trinity County hunter and mother of two daughters who also hunt, said she’s noticed an especially large increase in the number of teenage girls applying for hunting licenses. King said she believes the spike in interest among the younger generation of women can be attributed to the changes in hunting equipment and gear that better accommodate a woman’s physique and strength, especially in the bow hunting industry. Williamson said she believes that women are starting to realize the advantages they have over men as bow hunters. “Because a lot of women are newer to hunting than men, we don’t have the preconceived notions that men do,” she said. “And we listen better, too.” Williamson’s husband claims that women bow hunters are also more patient, meditative and appreciative. King also stated that women are more practical with their hunting goals than men, and this explains the difference in outcome. “I compete with my husband when we hunt together, and I outdo him every time,” King said, explaining that her husband goes after ‘the big one’ whereas she’s just after meat for the table and the satisfaction of a competitive hunt. When Williamson shopped for her first bow last year, she found several to fit her size and strength. It was a pink-camouflaged bow that she selected, however. “When I saw that one, I thought, ‘Now, that’s the one I need!’,” she exclaimed. To date, Williamson’s pink compound bow has taken down two grown hogs and a deer. She said her next bow hunting goal is to put a wild turkey on the Thanksgiving table this year.