Area girls and women build bonds, thrive on adrenalin in pursuit of their prey
Hunting is not a man’s sport. Women and girls, throughout the county and Texas, are stalking their prey — from hogs to deer to ducks.
Many of these women grew up hunting and some came to the sport later in life. All derive benefits from the sport that go beyond the thrill of the hunt. And many have passed the love of this sport on to the next generation.
Lori Edwards, a part-time Galveston resident, grew up hunting. The experience helped solidify the bonds between her and her brother, uncles and grandfather, she said. Hunting remains a big part of life for her family.
“We have seven children and four of them hunt, including my 13-year-old daughter, as often as they can,” said Edwards, who is an owner of Waterman Restaurant and project designer for Bayside at Waterman’s, a residential development on the island’s West End.
Two of her sons bow hunt. Edwards hunts wild hog, doves, quail, turkey and duck. But she won’t hunt geese.
“I quit hunting geese when I found out that they only have one life partner,” she said.
O’Connell College Preparatory High School student Erial Cromie had a hunting experience at age 4, but didn’t actually hunt until she was in fourth grade.
“My family was in Fredericksburg for a hunting trip and we had to make a stop at the nearby Walmart,” she said.
“As we were getting back into the car, I looked over into an empty field and shouted ‘Deer!’ and sure enough there were deer. Supposedly the rest of the trip, all I said was ‘I went hunting! I went hunting!’”
Cromie got her first kill, a whitetail deer, when she was in seventh grade.
“It was the morning hunt, and I was sitting in a blind with my mom and dad when two whitetail does walked out. Shortly after, a big eight-point walked out,” she said.
“My dad asked if I was ready to shoot and I took the chance to get my first deer. I held the gun snug against my shoulder, looked through the scope, lined the cross hairs up behind his shoulder, took a breath and squeezed the trigger. When I looked up from the gun the buck ran a few feet and then fell. I had just shot my very first deer. I was so excited that all I could do was shake from the adrenaline rush.”
When Jennifer Provaznik, a Texas City resident, was growing up, she was an avid angler and spent time fishing with her father. She was always interested in hunting, but didn’t have the opportunity until she moved to Texas. Now that she’s here, she hunts “anything that moves, but my favorite thing to hunt is any type of game bird,” Provaznik said. “I look forward to every chance I get to go out and hunt.”
Devin Bullock is a veterinarian technician in Santa Fe. Her hunting story began at age 2, she said.
“My father would take my brother and me and stick all three of us in the blind,” she said.
Bullock shot her first deer when she was 7 years old.
“I’ve grown up hunting deer, hogs and dove,” she said. “It wasn’t until I met my husband that I was introduced to hunting waterfowl, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
Tiffany Stakes’ husband sparked her interest in hunting.
“When we first met, I had no hunting experience,” Stakes, a Clear Lake area resident, said. “He always told me that if it wasn’t my ‘thing’ that’s fine, but it could potentially be something to do together.”
Her husband is a game warden, so she knew hunting would be a big part of their lives. She decided to give it a try.
“I decided to be open-minded and give it a shot,” Stakes said. “From our first sit in the deer blind, I knew I would enjoy it. The adrenaline of buck fever certainly can’t be replicated.”
After the hunt, the work isn’t done. There’s cleaning and processing and cooking or freezing the meat for later. If the hunters can’t eat it themselves, they will find someone who can.
“I won’t personally eat the wild hog, but I do donate it to some people in my hometown who think I hung the moon when they see me coming with a 200-pound hog for dinner,” Edwards said.
Cromie’s family prepares chili, deer kisses, stuffed back strap and summer sausage from their takes. Stakes prepares her favorite dish, Dove Diablo, which is dove breast in a jalapeño bed filled with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled.
Beyond the rush and the food, hunting provides other benefits.
“My favorite part about hunting when I was younger was the bonding that I had with my brother, uncles and grandfather,” Edwards said. “Now it is just about the only time my sons think that I am cool, especially when I hit a difficult target.”
Stakes finds hunting to be therapeutic.
“There are so many aspects of hunting that are enjoyable,” she said. “I love being out in the country with my husband, away from cellphones and work.”