Charlotte Gibbins - 24
Growing up in a vegetarian family did not expose me to hunting at a young age.I sometimes catch myself wishing I had been taught to hunt in my early years but, nontheless I was lucky that my family did spend ample time in the mountains surrounding our home doing other activities. Instead of hunting we spent our time skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking, kayaking, camping and biking in the summer. This childhood did instill in me a love and appreciation of the mountains, I am always at my most joyful and peaceful when in the mountains surrounded by God's wonder and away from cell phones and the stress of daily life. For me, there was no better feeling then floating over 12" of fresh powder on a snowboard. That feeling however, has been eclipsed by an even graeter fulfillment brought on by hunting,
It was not until I met my now husband, Justin, that I began to learn to appriciate hunting. My first experiance hunting was one that had me hitting the ground runningMy husband and I took the journey to Alaska, we drove up the Dalton highway into the ACTUAL middle of nowhere and went Caribou hunting up above the Arctic Circle. After hiking 5 miles out into the unforgiving tundra we finally were able to put a move on a gorgeous Mountain Caribou in the velvet. We got set up at about 360 yards (it was hard to get close in that country without alerting the caribou) and I took the shot. He dropped! I could honestly not believe that I had just taken such an incredible animal in one of the most ruggedly beautiful places I have been. Putting a pack full of meat and antlers on my back and cooking up the tenderloins that evening was satisfying on so many levels and from there, a spark was ingnited and has continued to be flamed by each hunt I go on, whether successful or not.
I have been blessed with a talented and patient hunting partner who continually encourages me to become a better hunter of both animals and my faith. Through hunting I have been able to see some amazing places like New Zealand and Alaska and have been fortunate enough to harvest some awesome animals and experience places I had not even imagined. Though we have traveled to some incredible places to hunt, there is nothing like driving 30 minutes from home and being in the middle of prime mountains teeming with elk, mule deer, white tail, moose, bear, mountain lion and all the waterfowl you could ask for. Being able to spend our time in the mountains surrounding our home with our family and friends is more then I could ever ask for.
From the beginning I have been enticed by bow hunting. Due to pregnancies and a busy business I had not been able to take the time to learn and dedicate myself until this year. This past Spring I finally completed my Bowhunter Safety course and attended a few local shoots and practiced in the back yard. My goal was the creme de la creme of of bow hunting, a mature bull Elk. September rolled around and we hit the mountains hard. Never had my heart raced so hard as when we were surrounded by bugling bulls, running in every direction trying to move in closer and setting up and hearing one popping sticks only yards away. The sheer excitement hit its peak when I was finally full draw on a big bull, he was only 10 yards away and completely oblivious of our presence. Waiting for him to take just a few more steps out into the open was the longest but most exhilarating 2 minutes of my life. Though I was not able to get that bull that experience forever changed me and has driven me to try and replicate that feeling again and again.
God has blessed Justin and me with two beautiful children, Madilyn 5, and Oliver 18 months. Both have already begun to establish a love of being outdoors and have each joined us on hunts. We can not wait for the day that we can take them out on their first hunt and watch the joy and pride that comes from getting their first animal.
I feel incredibly blessed that God has given me this life and my goal is to open as many eyes as possible to God's wonder and beauty through hunting. My goal is to encourage other women to learn to appreciate hunting. Whether it is hunting to help feed their families or just joining their husbands or boyfriends in the field. Hunting with my husband has brought us closer together and the knowledge and joy that I get to help pass on to my children is invaluable. I pray that other women can come to understand the beauty of hunting.