I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Fitzpatrick in Las Vegas during the 2018 SHOT Show while hanging around the Hornady booth. We traded hunting stories and got to know more about each other and how we each ended up in the outdoor industry. I immediately related to Brad's story as we both took a big risk leaving our typical 9-5 jobs to pursue our passions.
When Brad asked me about collaborating for an article to share my story I was honored and thrilled, to say the least. But there is also a certain level of uncertainty and self doubt that settles in after you agree to be written about. Questions start to consume your thoughts or at least they did for me. Will the writer be true to what I say? Will he/she interpret my story and share it correctly? Will I say something stupid? Will I say too much? Will I say too little? Will I look narcissistic for talking about myself and promoting the article? All questions you never know the answers to until after the article has been published and ultimately once it is too late.
When I saw the article was live on nrafamily.org I was a mix of emotions. As I started reading my fears and doubt melted away. I am extremely pleased with this piece and proud to share it. Brad's ability to speak on such an important issue we need to address and acknowledge as hunters is both refreshing and admirable.
Sportswoman Courtney: Bringing Hunters Into the Fold
by Brad Fitzpatrick - Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Courtney Smith, perhaps better known as “Sportswoman Courtney” on social media, was exposed to hunting at a young age. When her father and uncles went hunting Courtney eagerly awaited their return. She didn’t mind getting her hands dirty—she’d even work alongside her male family members plucking waterfowl and dressing game. But despite her interest, none of her family members invited Courtney to join them on the hunt.
“It was a different time, I think,” she says. “They weren’t purposely ignoring me. I just don’t think that they expected me—a girl—to want to hunt. At that time it was still very much a man’s sport.”
As she grew up Courtney’s interests changed. Falls were spent cheerleading, so she was no longer waiting when her father and uncles returned from a hunt. In high school and college she forgot how she felt when her male family members returned after a successful hunt. Courtney had no problem with hunting or hunters per se, but she never assumed that she would go to the field herself.
That changed when Courtney met her husband Caleb. Like Courtney, Caleb had an interest in hunting but little experience in the field. His desire to learn to hunt prompted Courtney to join him, and by the time that they were married both Caleb and Courtney were so dedicated to the sport that they set aside some time on their honeymoon in Maui for a hunt. Caleb was successful, but Courtney’s experience didn’t go so well.
“It was the last day of our honeymoon and I was hunting axis deer. The weather was not in my favor, 50-mph winds and rain made the spot-and-stalk dangerous and challenging. After hours of trying to get an axis in sight, the weather cleared and I had an opportunity on a good buck standing broadside. Followed by........" Click HERE to continue reading.