OL¹s Strut Zone caught up recently with hunter, writer, editor, wife, mother, and Mallory Communications outdoors industry freelancer/PR. specialist Stephanie Mallory to get the inside scoop on her experiences in the spring turkey woods.
Steve Hickoff: When, where, how, and/or why did you first start turkey hunting?
Stephanie Mallory: I used to accompany my dad James Davis on his turkey hunts when I was two or three years old, but I never shot a turkey myself until I was in my mid 20s. After graduating from college, I started doing some outdoor writing and editing, and was invited on a women's-only turkey hunt with Brad Harris. I decided that I was ready to give it a try. Brad called up a bird and I shot it. It was the perfect hunt. I was hooked.
SH: What's your most memorable turkey hunting experience?
SM: Hunting in Eldorado, Texas with my good friend Karen Lee, editor of Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin' Sportsmen magazines. We were our own guides‹hence no turkeys, but we had so much fun just exploring the area and goofing off. At one point during the hunt, I was camouflaged so well and sitting so still that an armadillo walked right up to me and actually started to climb onto my leg. I let out a burst of laughter and the armadillo took off like its shell was on fire. I didn't know those little guys could move so quickly.
SH: You can only use a box call, or pot-and-peg, or mouth call. Which one do you choose?
SM: Box call.
SH: What are the three greatest challenges of being a woman in a turkey camp full of men? How could men make it easier for a woman and fellow turkey hunter of the opposite gender in camp?
SM: Although I'm often the only woman in turkey camp, I've never had a bad experience. The guys have always been respectful and kind. I guess the biggest challenges would be fitting in as one of the guys, proving that I'm not some ditsy blonde that doesn't have a clue about what I'm doing and kindly refusing to be patronized when guides or others in camp assume that I'm just some ditsy blonde that doesn't have a clue about what I'm doing. The best way to make a woman feel welcome in camp is to be respectful, yet treat her like she's just another hunter in camp.
SH: What three products do you insist on taking to the turkey woods?
SM: Toilet paper, chocolate, and bubblegum‹perhaps I am to blame for the ditsy blonde perception.
SH: What advice do you have for women who want to start turkey hunting?
SM: If they can't find someone they trust to take them hunting, contact programs like the NWTF's Women in the Outdoors or the state-sponsored Becoming an Outdoors Woman. Both of these programs have a network of experienced volunteers who would love to take those women on their first turkey hunts.