Women Who Hunt
In Episode 3 of the Outdoor fEAST Podcast Todd sits down with Katrina Talbot who operates the BOW program in New York. BOW (Becoming An Outdoors Woman) provides opportunities for women to explore hunting and determine if it’s right for her. This is a great conversation about all the work being done in New York state and really developing women who hunt.
The Outdoor Feast Podcast has Katrina Talbot on. Listen how the BOW Program identifies women who hunt Click To Tweet
Welcome to the outdoor feast by modern carnivore. If you’re new to hunting, fishing or foraging, we welcome you to the conversation. Get ready for stories and insights that start in the northeast, but range to the south, Far West and wide-open spaces in between. Now, here’s your host, Todd Waldron.
Todd Waldron 00:30
Welcome to the outdoor feast. This is Todd thanks for joining us this week. Welcome back. I am thrilled to be talking this week with Katrina Talbot from New York’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. Katrina is the state coordinator with the Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany, New York and I had the chance to sit down with her back in November at the Albany headquarters for DC and we had this great conversation about becoming an outdoors woman and what it means to the participants and all the great mentors and the teachers out there and how it contributes to their personal hunting stories and to the future of conservation in New York State. why it’s important. So, Katrina is a she’s a Hunter, she’s a conservationist, she started hunting as an adult. She was a vegetarian in high school. So, she’s going to be sharing her story about what the program is, and how she got involved with it. And also, a little bit about her hunting season this last year, and the deer that she harvested so I’m absolutely thrilled anytime I have a chance to sit down with Katrina. It’s always a great conversation. Becoming an outdoors woman’s doing great things in New York State for a lot of my friends, and I just asked you to support it. So, thanks for listening. If you haven’t subscribed yet to the outdoor feast podcast by modern carnivore, please do so. Wherever you listen, please Also, consider subscribing to the modern carnivore podcast with my good friend Mark Norquist, and thanks for checking us out on the social channel. Animals at modern carnivore and on the website at mod carne. com. So without further adieu, here’s a conversation with Katrina Talbot, New York director becoming an outdoors woman program with Department of Environmental Conservation. We are in Albany, New York at the Department of Environmental Conservation building with Katrina Talbot. And Katrina is a wildlife biologist and you are the program director for becoming an outdoors woman right for DC.
Katrina Talbot 02:25
Yes. Yes, I am.
Todd Waldron 02:27
Thank you for being on the podcast. It’s great to have you.
Katrina Talbot 02:29
Yeah. It’s great to be here. Thanks, Todd
Todd Waldron 02:31
So, let’s just jump right in. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your hunting season this year, and then we’ll get into what you do and some hunting trends.
Katrina Talbot 02:39 – Women Who Hunt
Sure. Yeah. So I am, like you said a wildlife biologist in the hunter education program at DC and I am the statewide coordinator for New York’s becoming an outdoorsman program. So, I took over the program a little over a year ago now last September, and Bo has actually been in New York for 27 years, 26 years now we’re going into our 27th year. So, my predecessor Kelly staying brought it to New York after she went out to Wisconsin in 1991. When it was created, and she realized what an amazing program it was to recruit women into a whole array of outdoor sports. She brought it here. And yeah, I took it over from her last year.
Todd Waldron 03:23
I had no idea that it had been going that long. That’s incredible. 26 years. He said, Yeah,
Katrina Talbot 03:28
yep. And it’s actually in over 40 different states, two different Canadian provinces. It’s a really huge program. It’s really popular. And its sort of getting a resurgence right now, because of the R3 movement. A lot of states are willing to support it a little bit more. Because it is so focused on recruiting women into hunting, trapping and fishing.
Todd Waldron 03:47
Yeah, for sure. So, talk a little bit about that and lead right into that conversation.
Katrina Talbot 03:51
Okay. Yeah. So I mean, as you know, I love that we’re linking this all in with modern carnivora and breaking down barriers and the whole are three movement because Really bow and our three just lend to each other so well, women face a lot of really specific and unique barriers to getting into outdoor sports, especially hunting and trapping, or just a lot of, you know, factors go into it that men in general just don’t have to worry about, you know, historically women’s place wasn’t necessarily in these hardcore outdoor sports. I mean, women have always been hunting and trapping, but they haven’t necessarily been recognized for doing it that long. And really, when you’re talking about like, you know, inspiring kids and inspiring new generations and even adults, you can’t really be what you don’t see, right. So if you don’t see a lot of women out there doing it in media in publications and marketing, then you’re not really sure if it’s for you. So what becoming outdoorsmen does is tries to break down a lot of those barriers and provide women with sort of inspiring mentors show them that they can do all these things. We provide them with this really big fun Welcoming non judgmental atmosphere where they can learn lots of outdoor skills.
Todd Waldron 05:06
How do people find that and get involved in? What’s the whole program? Like, like, talk a little bit about that, like, what’s it been like for you in coordinating the program? And what’s it like? How’s it structurally works and everything like that for people to find it?
Katrina Talbot 05:20 – Women Who Hunt
Sure, yeah. So, you can find us on our webpage, you go to the New York State DC web page and just go into the search bar and search becoming outdoorsmen. Were there We’re also on Facebook. So basically, we run the structure of the program is there’s a big workshop every year usually in September. It’s three days long. We offer over 50 different classes. You choose to take four different classes; you learn four different skills throughout the weekend. And it’s all women who attend. We have a really incredible group of completely volunteer instructors who are highly skilled and really incredible. What they do and also really incredible of being, you know, really patient, inspiring teachers. So, women sign up for that workshop. And it’s, it’s really, it’s like an electric event. It’s really exciting. It’s really inspiring to be part of it. Before I was the coordinator, I instructed for four years, a whole slew of different classes. I helped teach crossbow, archery, backyard ecology class, a lot of stuff like that. And it’s just really great to help these women help pull them out of their comfort zone and empower them to realize that you know, these things that they’ve went maybe some of them have wanted to do it their whole lives, and now they feel like they actually can. So, it’s an educational program for adult women, it’s ages 18 and up we are ages at the workshops range from 18 all the way to 85. Our mean age is our average age is around like 3748 result. But yeah, so the structure of the program, we have the big workshop in September. And then we have smaller breakout like beyond bow, or what we call them like one to two-day workshops that are usually like continuing education. So, you learn the basics of shotgun shooting at the big workshop, you learn it for three and a half hours and you are really jazzed about it. You want to start like shooting trap and skeet and maybe even small game hunting with a shotgun, but you’re not quite there on your marksmanship yet. So, we’ll do a beyond bow event where women who took it at the bow workshop can then hone in their skills in a full day workshop, shooting trap all day, really, really sort of practicing the details of it and getting better at it. And this year, actually, I’m starting in 2020, a winter workshop to teach women winter outdoor skills. So that’s going to happen in February in western New York, which I’m really excited about. Because you know, when lasts up to six months in New York State. And if you’re lucky, yeah, I used to live out west. And it was great because everybody wanted to do stuff all winter. I mean, it wasn’t as gray out there. So, I think that contributes to it. But people were just a lot more just, you know, get out and like snowshoe snowmobile ski do whatever they could go ice fishing. And I feel like that just makes your whole year a lot more enjoyable. Yeah. And so, I really want to start pulling women into the outdoors during the winter and make them realize they’re actually you know, holed up in your house all winter. There’s a lot of really rad stuff you can do all winter long to
Todd Waldron 08:36
just embrace it, right?
Katrina Talbot 08:39
I mean, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. There’s going to be snow. So, you might as well find some joy in that.
Todd Waldron 08:43
Yes. So. So this is fantastic. So, it gives women an opportunity for skill set building and an opportunity in a nonjudgmental way just like an inclusive community. It also helps them I think, build a community of support beyond just the training itself, but like making friendships. And getting to know other people absolutely are also interested because I feel like that support group, specifically for the outdoors and for hunting is really important if you’re starting out your hunting journey.
Katrina Talbot 09:12
Yeah. And that’s one of the big barrier’s women say that they face is, you know, they’ve learned these skills and now what, like they don’t know where to go. They don’t know who to go with. They want to meet other like-minded women. And so, this definitely provides that outlet for them. Yeah, they meet other women that are all in the same boat. And so, they feel like they’re on a level playing field. And you know, we have women who’ve been coming to these workshops together. They met at the workshop 20 years ago, and they’ve been coming together every year since then. So, it is a great way to build like beautiful friendships and just help you connect with a community of like-minded people who, you know, are really interested in conservation and just enjoying the outdoors and getting out there as much as possible. So, it really helps with that.
Todd Waldron 09:59
Yeah, I can totally see that Katrina. And so, when I talk to people about reasons for why adults start hunting, for instance, key what sparks their curiosity about hunting, there’s usually a couple of themes there. It’s like having an honest connection to their food. It’s disconnecting from the day to day grind, you know, outside. It’s like having a responsible, its health, you know, the benefits of health. Do you see any resounding themes like from your participants in your bow programs, when they’re talking to you about what brought them to you? Do you see those kinds of themes? Or do you see other kinds of themes that just continuously like show up?
Katrina Talbot 10:35 – Women Who Hunt
Yeah, absolutely. You know, now more than ever, I feel like you know, so the locavore movement is like this, this buzz phrase right now, right? But really, in my opinion, that’s just a fancy new word for why everyone’s always been hunting forever. It’s to put clean, organic, free range meat on the table for your family and women are getting a lot more involved in that right now. So that is really what’s pulling a lot of women in this past September’s workshop, we overbooked on our bow hunting class that was incredibly popular. And our different hunting classes definitely, it, it ebbs and flows each year, which one is the most popular, but right now women are just really into sourcing their own food and contributing to putting food on the table for their family and for themselves. And it’s really exciting. So definitely being connected with your food and being able to put this like, you know, there’s nothing more free range and organic than then a deer that’s been out there its whole life and let a good happy life and hopefully died a really quick death and there you go. So that is a huge motivation for women. Just really connecting, getting back and connecting with nature is another reason that women really want to do it. So yeah, it’s those are really like the resounding themes on why women want to not only get in the outdoors, but especially focused on like hunting and trapping and fishing.
Todd Waldron 11:55
It makes a lot of sense. And so, you want to talk a little bit about the significance sense of all this. So, you’re in the hunter Ed world, what’s happening from your perspective and like overall hunting numbers and its impact on conservation and beyond the personal. I feel like there’s personal gratification for everybody. It’s also really significant to conservation in general right now that we’re seeing this trend in this shift. Right? You want to talk about that?
Katrina Talbot 12:20
Absolutely. Yeah. So you know, that, you know, overall nationwide, and in New York, the number of hunters is on the decline, and it’s been steadily for years, we basically have the boomer generation who’s aging out, and we don’t have a generation that sort of come back in and fill the ranks as quickly as they did as far as sort of putting hunters back out on the landscape. And the further we get from that, the further we get from knowing where our food comes from, and even just knowing how conservation in general works like wildlife management, using hunting and trapping as a resource for wildlife management, how wide life diseases spread, we keep getting further and further away from that. So you know it In order to just increase the general awareness, but also keep the tradition alive, we’re really exploring our three efforts and trying to figure out how we can reach these new audiences, it’s not going to be the same like family tradition, boys camp that you’re going out to, that’s the reason you’re going to get into hunting anymore. We’re really exploring people’s motivations for it now. And really, what we’re seeing is that everyone still has the same motivations, they just, you just need to communicate it differently. So, providing inclusive programs like these is what’s really important. So, providing hunter education classes in different languages is really helpful. So, we do that we have Spanish, Chinese language classes, we have a whole range of them, just to help bring people in and make them feel like this is for them to you know, we try to target college students as well. So, we’ve been going around the state and giving hundred classes to college students, kids who are kind of interested in it. They didn’t grow up in hunting households, but there are Little intrigued by it. And so, we’re kind of tailoring the messaging specifically to them, which is really, college students really want to learn about the conservation aspect of it. You know, they’re interested in the organic food, but they also want to know how this actually contributes to wildlife conservation as a whole. And they want to be part of the bigger picture of it. So, I think really like reaching out and providing that resource for people is what’s really important and that really resonates with women, especially, you know, women want don’t want to go to a hunting camp and compete. That’s something that research tells us over and over and over again, is that these workshops and these hunting clinics, women don’t want to have like a big buck competition when they’re trying to learn how to shoot a deer, or even when they’re in their first five years of hunting. They just want to learn the skills as best they can and get out there and enjoy doing it. And so, you have to learn that like what messaging used to work to recruit new hunters is not what’s going to work recruit hunters today. And you know, if we really want to keep conservation funding and conservation efforts and the passion for conservation alive, we need to really learn how to tailor these messages to all these different groups, which is what we’re trying to do now.
Todd Waldron 15:13 – Women Who Hunt
Yeah, it’s so important. And I feel like hunting has always been an important part of conservation from a funding standpoint and so forth. It’s a privilege, right? It’s an it’s a privilege. We have a license with society, as long as society 90 90% of society doesn’t honor 95% of society doesn’t have. And so, we have this social license of acceptability. I feel like with hunting, where as long as it’s relevant, as long as it’s justifiable, you know, that society will say, okay, we can understand this and everything. And so, what’s happening, I think now, especially at a critical point where boomers are aging out of hunting, and those messages that you’re talking about society is shifting is becoming more diverse. So, I feel like having a diverse base of and I’m not just talking gender based, but I’m talking like being able to have a diverse base of conservation supporters and hunters out there. And being inclusive and everything like that is critically important because in order to, in order to speak to society, we have to be kind of a mirror of society, in my opinion, you know what I mean and be able to communicate that.
Katrina Talbot 16:18
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, you know, that’s something that I keep sort of shouting off the rooftops here is that like, it’s not only about recruiting new hunters, it’s about just increasing public support for hunting in general, because that is also you know, one of the really significant barriers is if you are sort of interested in getting into hunting as an adult, but your entire community as opposed to it, you’re a lot less likely to do it if you don’t feel any support and you even feel like you know, you would almost be vilified for doing it. But on a positive note, there’s a lot of recent surveys from National Shooting Sports Federation that shows that public support in general in America is really high for hunting for food. public support for trophy hunting in other countries is very low, which it always has been. But regardless of that hunting for food in the US is actually has a great amount of support, even though we don’t have more people hunting. But also, I mean, so while those numbers of hunters are going down, the only demographic that’s steadily increasing in the hunting community is women. So, women are just, they’re the only ones steadily going up. So we’re trying to really provide an avenue for them to feel supported and seen and just, you know, get them out there so that more women and girls can see these as like possible mentors and figureheads, and see that they can get out there and do this too, and really contribute to the ecosystem that they live in, in a positive way.
Todd Waldron 17:50
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And so, I think the last I read, I don’t know if these numbers are still relevant or not, but from like, 2006 until now, like 2009 The number of participants women hunting like it’s like three, three and a half million or something at this point nation. Does that sound like? Yep,
Katrina Talbot 18:07 – Women Who Hunt
yeah, it’s like roughly three and a half million. Yep. It’s skyrocketed in the last, like 15 years, and especially in the last five years, it’s still going up. And it’s the only the only demographic that’s like on a steady upward trend. So, yeah, I mean, we really need to figure out how to tap into that. And, you know, last year, I created this woman hunt, fish, New York photo contest to sort of highlight all of the women who hunt and fish in New York and trap. Because when you look at marketing and publications, like you pick up whitetail, unlimited magazine, and you can count there’s 136 photos of men, and there’s four photos of women, two of those photos are them and being mothers. One of those is Flo the progressive lady, and then maybe one of them is a woman holding ammo. So, it’s really frustrating and I So that, you know, you pick up magazine after magazine after magazine. And you see that and even, you know, our DC publications, I was trying to come up with some new advertising. And we had very few photos of women in the field actually doing these things that I know for a fact that they’re out there doing. So I thought, what better way to get that as a source than like, just get the women get real photos of real women out there, not Instagram models who are all dolled up, which I mean more power to you, if you can get up at three o’clock in the morning and do your full hair and makeup to go hunting. And if that makes you feel great, I’m not judging it, but I certainly I’m about that person. And I don’t necessarily find that an inspiring photo to look at. So, I wanted, you know, photos of real women actually out there doing these things. And it was incredible. We just got this huge response. It was really positive women and men, everyone was just so excited so many people thanking us, we ended up with over 3000 photo entries, which is by far the most Successful photo contest the agency has ever put on. And I think it was just this, this market that was out there like begging to be recognized. They were just waiting for this opportunity. And so, we just gave them that outlet to really be seen. And there was no the really great thing is, you know, I fought back a lot. There are some people who kept saying, like, well, you need a prize, like what’s the tangible prize going to be for this contest? And I didn’t want there to be a tangible prize. I wanted to see how supportive this community was. I wanted to see like, all you’re going to get is your face on some hunting flyers pretty much and you’re going to be in our marketing for becoming outdoors woman and for DC for hunting and trapping in the future. And they didn’t need a prize. They didn’t want a prize. They a bunch of people didn’t even want to win. They were like, I just hope you can use this to help encourage other women to get out there in the field. And it was so inspiring and so encouraging. So, it was really incredible. And it just shows that Yeah, they’re out there. You know, women have always been a part of the hunting community and they’re ready to be recognized and respected as a part of that community.
Todd Waldron 21:06
That’s fantastic. And you know, what happens is that snowballs and amplifies itself, right? Because like when you see that momentum moving ahead, and it’s like, 3000 pictures come in. I mean, that’s amazing, right? That’s a huge response. And then all of a sudden, other people are like, Okay, wow, I see this and like, now I have my support group. Now I have this path. Right? Yeah. You know, I have this community. I have this, you know, this opportunity to do it. And I have other people and I can see that moving forward. And like, I found that in general, with our events that we’ve done in New York City, for instance, like there’s this, like, when you talk about barriers for hunting, there’s common themes, like in with urban people that, you know, there’s oftentimes it’s like access. Yeah. And we think about access in terms of having a place to hunt. But like, what if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years like with having conversations that access can be So much broader than just having that physical place to hunt because like those access issues come into having access to information, access to support, having access to community having access to role models, having access to places that you can get gear and figure out all that stuff.
So, like, women’s gear,
Todd Waldron 22:19 – Women Who Hunt
yeah, let’s do it. So, but like that, that, you know, providing that outlet for people is so important because it initiates that access in my mind, you know, you want to talk about women’s gear
Katrina Talbot 22:30
Gear is just super frustrating. I just want to complain about it. For years, you know, we went on the that was another motive motivation for the photo contest is like well, maybe if people see how many women are actually out there in the field using this stuff will stop getting just the shrink in pink, right? So just men’s style clothing that’s made a little bit smaller and throw some pink on it. And of course, women are going to love it because I definitely need everybody in the woods, especially the deer to know, but I’m a check. So, it’s got to be pink and If you want to wear pink, that’s great. I don’t blame you, but it shouldn’t be our only option is the problem. And it is really hard to find affordable women’s gear that’s the same quality as men. That’s not paying. It’s just It’s crazy. I mean, there’s definitely you know, there are some companies like first light is doing an amazing job. They brought in women consultants to actually say like, Well, no, this is not what we want. Like our bodies are built differently. We don’t want all this shoulder room. We need more hip room, man. And, you know, we need stuff to come off easily so we can go to the bathroom in the woods, like that’s a challenge that men will never understand. So, you know, my husband was marvel that me this past weekend, I spent 12 hours Saturday on opening day out in the woods and every time I had to, you know, pee in the woods, he was like, Man, that is a real pain. I was like, Yeah, my struggle is real. You don’t understand. I mean, honestly, I’m still wearing like extra-large boys hunting clothes in a lot of my gear because it’s a lot cheaper than buying the stuff that’s made for women. And it actually fits me. But it is really, really tough. But the more companies that, you know, realize that women are the fastest growing demographic of hunters out there, I think, the better it’ll be, you know, they’ll be great. Every woman I know who hunts is constantly, all we do is send each other gear links, like, try this jacket, this is really great. These hunting pants are actually super warm, your back doesn’t get cold. It’s really hard to find. It’s really frustrating. And yeah, I mean, I think companies are finally starting to get away from the idea of like, well, we’ll just give them the same thing that men have just a little bit smaller. But there’s still a lot of work to be done on that front.
Todd Waldron 24:41
Yeah, a lot of work to be done. I did a podcast A while back like this was a generic podcast, but like, how to get started with hunting for under 300 bucks or something like that so that I engage the community and said, Okay, what recommendations do you have like hunting can be so technically frustrating in the sense that there’s so much stuff out there. It can be overwhelming. Like it can be overwhelming for me sometimes looking at a catalog or on a website, and it’s like, what do I really need? Like there’s like these 10 coats and all these different layers and all this different stuff. And I feel if I feel that way, I feel like a lot of people that are just getting started must feel like holy smokes like what do I how do I even what do I really need? Yeah, like, what’s your advice like for women that are participating in the bow program? What do you usually mean for advice to them? We,
Katrina Talbot 25:29 – Women Who Hunt
I mean, my advice is honestly, like, the most important thing is getting out there. Like just start getting out there and the rest of it will come together. You’ll figure it out as you go. Start with what you have, take some ham downs, buy some, you know, cheaper stuff until you figure it out. There’s no reason to go out and buy a $400 coat. Before you even know if you’re a person who gets cold sitting out there or if you prefer to walk around a lot more and you’re going to be really sweaty. So really until you figure out how the whole sport works. It is, you know, it can be so gearhead, and so techie just the way that like skiing and rock climbing and all other outdoor sports can be that like, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune just to get out there and do that which can be really intimidating to a lot of people. But I say, you know, the most important thing is just like find other people who do it, get their advice, you know, Facebook, social media blogs, now, everyone is so willing, especially the female community of hunters is so willing to offer up advice and be mentors and just help you out. If you have a question. Just ask. I mean, really just like getting out there and asking before you get too intimidated and back away, or certainly before you spend a fortune on all this stuff. But I mean, I know firsthand how difficult it can be like I didn’t grow up in hunting culture. I didn’t grow up in gun culture. I was a vegetarian through high school. And so, all of this was really new to me when I went to college, and I started sort of getting involved in this whole community. And then as my career progressed Um, and I moved around the country I just really realized this was like something I was really passionate about and really wanted to be involved in. But I was also really lost. Like, I didn’t know, you know, what kind of firearm would fit me. I didn’t know what kind of gear I was supposed to use. I didn’t know that what was your best friend? I didn’t know any of this stuff. But yeah, I mean, just really reaching out and communicating with people. You know, the hunting community can seem really intimidating when you’re getting into it, especially as an adult. But it’s a really warm and welcoming community in general. You know, if you just ask, there’s a million people who will help you out and who are willing to take you give you hand me downs give you advice. So that’s what I say don’t go out and spend a fortune just kind of try to figure it out as you go. And who cares if you are wearing mismatching camel for the first couple of years that you’re hunting and you’re just kind of piecing together your gear. That’s not what’s important. You know, how you look out there as an important it’s, you know, getting out there and getting food on the table and connecting with nature. That’s the important thing to focus on.
Todd Waldron 27:58
Yeah, I agree with all that. That whole heartedly I feel so similarly about that Katrina, in the sense that start simple. You don’t have to have the latest camouflage fashion; you don’t even need camouflage. You can I mean, use Multi Purpose clothes to stay warm, stay dry,
Katrina Talbot 28:14
good pair of flannel, sir Pete sakes.
Todd Waldron 28:17
Exactly. And the thing is like you bring up such a good point is like when you’re first starting. It’s, you’re still at that stage where you don’t really know how that’s going to evolve, right? So like your style, for instance, like there’s so much I mean, if you end up gravitating more toward being a very mobile bird Hunter, as opposed to being like a standard hunter in the woods, so that’s going to be you know, totally different as far as consideration for what you might need. Yeah. So yeah, having starting simple not worrying about the, you know, the fashion of the whole thing, and just like and using whatever works, stay warm, stay dry, be comfortable, make it a positive experience.
Katrina Talbot 28:53
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, focus on what really matters and that any of that stuff, it’ll all come together
Todd Waldron 28:58
eventually. Exactly. It all comes together. And so, do you have any, like any cool personal like anecdotal stories that you want to share, like through the program, like things that you’ve experienced that were really cool or some of your participants or anything like that? Sure.
Katrina Talbot 29:12 – Women Who Hunt
Yeah. I mean, it’s really like I said before, it’s a really inspiring program to be involved in because we get such a wide range of women. I mean, our courses are not only the consumptive sports, you know, we do have hunting, trapping, fly fishing, Lake fishing, we offer fishing, game cooking, we have a whole class on field processing. I’m introducing a butchering class. So, we kind of teach you all of that, if you want to get into that aspect of the outdoors, but we also offer a ton of non-consumptive classes. So, stand up paddleboard kayaking, backcountry camping, wilderness, first aid, canine first aid, we do a ton of stuff. So basically, if it’s something you do in the outdoors, we’ll teach it to you, but it’s great because our participants come in and we have such a wide range like some women have, you know, been No doors either whole lives, they just want to really learn new skills and really broaden, you know what their options are outdoors. We have other women who’ve honestly literally never stopped off of a sidewalk like to them a gravel path is wilderness hiking. And that’s like as hardcore as they’ve ever gotten. So, you have this huge spectrum of experience levels, and to just see them open up and to watch their eyes as they realize that like, I’m empowered, like I’m strong enough to do this. Like, if you’re strong enough to step out there out of your comfort zone and come and learn all these new skills with a bunch of strangers, then you’re strong enough to get out there and do these things on your own as well. And a lot of women just don’t realize that so it’s really exciting and you know, a lot of the women stay in touch with us and we get photos of them on international trips by themselves. We get photos of them with their first turkey harvest or first deer harvest. I love seeing them teaching their kids and their friends like you know, I came back and I raved about how great this course was, and I you know, took my friends on the back country paddle in the Adirondacks was super, you know, exciting and now everyone wants to camp with me. And it’s just, it’s really, really incredible. Some of the great things to our some of our instructors at the workshop came as participants loved it so much that they took up a new sport and started teaching it our rifle instructors that way, she’s an incredible, phenomenal rifle instructor, and she just started as a participant years ago. So, it’s just it’s really, really exciting just to let women see that they these are all options for them. And you know, they’ve either been told their whole lives that it’s not really an option or they just never had the confidence, but seeing that open up and seeing them get out there and do it. And I mean, I you know, I’m a biologist, so I love all of like the gnarly, you know, gutting and field dressing and skinning of stuff. I think it’s fascinating and I can’t get enough of it. But it always amazes me like how many women don’t realize that they’re into that too. They think it’s really cool. Like I, we had probably five of the women in our field dressing class this year, we’re like, oh no, I have no interest in like hunting, I just like, really want to see what this what this is, like I want to see like, you know what, where your food comes from, which is like a really cool perspective, you know, just like having an open mind, and being able to just like, see what that’s like. And you know, we do a screening of furbearer session in the evening that like anyone can come to its part of our like, trapping class, but anyone can come to it. And there’s some years where we have like, 2530 women coming just to be like, I want to see what that looks like, I want to see what this process is like. But you know, it’s great because it all goes back to being in touch with the world around you again, you know, like if you realize that like this is actually how organisms’ function. And this is how this process leads to conservation. It’s really, really rewarding.
Todd Waldron 32:49
So, it all goes back to that connection, being connected. Feeling that sense of connection to your food, and to nature and to the outdoors into yourself. Ultimately, yeah
Katrina Talbot 33:00
Literally knowing where your food comes from feeling like you’re contributing to your environment in a positive way is like such an incredible feeling and watching other women experience that transformation and like gain that knowledge is just so incredibly rewarding.
Todd Waldron 33:15
Yeah, and its pretty cool story you’re talking about, like one of the participants actually being like one of the one of the instructors that later on but yeah, that is so cool. It is really great to see that continuity there and to see people follow through with it and like stay engaged with it and send pictures and everything like that.
Katrina Talbot 33:33 – Women Who Hunt
yeah, it’s so great. It really does. Like it becomes like a big family, you know, like we stay in touch for years. And you know, they follow up with us, they want to come back year after year. So, it’s just, you know, it’s a testament to how great the program is and just really how many women want this, you know, they’re searching for this. You know, we try to keep it really affordable and accessible for everybody. We offer scholarships, we try to keep the prices like lowest possible because you know you can go to any Rei or you know any outfitter will offer you this experience for several thousand dollars, but that’s really prohibitive for most people so the goal is to get everybody involved in this and so having you know, like instructors and people like me who are adult onset hunters who kind of, you know learn by family and friends around them and by their community, it’s you know, that really inspires them also to see you know, I’ve only been hunting for three years now I just harvested my second deer last year I got stuck around for a full year last season, which was really frustrating. But it all came through this year but like just being able to share those stories with women with women is like really inspiring because you know, a lot of what you see is like the grip and grins on Facebook and they’re like oh, if I don’t get this giant buck then like what’s the point but that’s not at all how it is like women don’t they’re not inspired by that. Like they’re inspired by you being like yes, I feel acted with nature again, I feel like I’m contributing to putting food on the table. I feel like, you know, this is my serenity zone is just like getting out there and sitting in the woods for eight hours. And that’s what they want. That’s what really inspires women.
Todd Waldron 35:12
Yeah, yeah. And social media is like it can be such a powerful tool in a positive way because it can build the community. And that can also be intimidating too, because I feel like some of my advice for new hunters is like come hunting season when social media feeds start blowing up with high risk pictures. Don’t let that kind of get to your head and thinking that everybody else out there is like, right, it’s coming together. It’s so easy, because it doesn’t it does
Katrina Talbot 35:36
no one’s showing pictures of them sitting in the rain on a 30-degree day for four hours. Like that’s not that’s not fun right on is showing like the 5000 squirrels that you saw at your tree stand and not a single deer for a whole season.
Todd Waldron 35:49
Exactly. So be yourself. You know, don’t try not to compare yourself to others and get too wrapped up in all of that. Talk a little bit about if you want to about your gear this year, because I mean, talk about endurance and cold weather and you know being understand and outdoors for long periods of time.
Katrina Talbot 36:05
Yeah, so share it. Yeah. So, I got my first deer three years ago, the last day of the general rice rifle season I went out with one of our bow instructors actually and she helped me get my first year. Last year I went out on our property and I barely even saw anything. I think I scared up to dose the whole season. I never saw anything. So, it was really hungry for it. This year. I was like super determined as a deer. I am going to eat something this year. So, it’s really excited. So, my husband and I went up to our friend’s property that he hunts on in Central New York. I spent opening day was like 21 degrees max all day. I spent 12 hours out there. Just saw some turkeys.
Todd Waldron 36:48
that’s a cold day
Katrina Talbot 36:49 – Women Who Hunt
It was a cold long day. I was using a lot of hot hands for sure. That’s an um, but I didn’t see anything. Two of the guys we were with shot those filled their dough tags. So, the next morning I was determined. I was like, all right, this is today’s my day. I sat out for another five hours. Those turkeys just kept taunting me that was about it. I didn’t see any deer. My husband got his doe tag filled. So, then we came back to Albany. I drove super-fast the whole way back, no bathroom breaks, no coffee breaks, like we got to get home I need to be able to sit out for the last hour of shooting. And so sure enough, I like drop the baby off in the house, change it to my ammo super quick sprint out to our food plot. I sit over our food plot for the last hour of legal shooting and squat. I don’t see anything. I have a chickadee land on me that’s about it. So, it’s like well, this is a bummer. And like I know you don’t get frustrated after like the first two days of the season. But it was like
Todd Waldron 37:49
it’s a long time to be sitting out there in the cold
Katrina Talbot 37:51
Yeah, I was like on 1617 hours. I was like okay, well, what am I doing right? I started questioning everything right like maybe I don’t say It’s still enough. I thought I did. I mean, if you have turkeys coming in at like 15 yards then like you must be sitting still enough, right?
Todd Waldron 38:06
Oh, yeah, but the mind starts just great.
Katrina Talbot 38:08
Yeah, maybe I’m not taking my scent control seriously enough, like, I don’t know, like, what am I doing? Maybe I actually started questioning my vision ability. Like maybe there’s deer all around me. I just don’t see them. So yeah, when you sit there for 12 hours, you have a lot to think about. Right? So then in the morning, Monday morning, so our friends all came back to our house to hunt our property for the week and my husband was like, thankfully he was really adamant. You know, he was like, Katrina needs to be the first one out on the property like she’s, you know, she’s been watching everybody harvest deer on our land for the last four years. She hasn’t done anything on our own property. So, like, Let’s give her first crack at this like just let her have today. I took off Monday from work just so I could sit out again all day and see what I could get. So sure enough, I went out with him. And it was just amazing. You know, the first 10 minutes of legal shooting I had this little buck come in and he was walking and I just saw a little flag go up in the brush. I got super excited. I got my gun up and ready to go. I had it on my shooting stick, and he’s in my sights and he’s just walking straight towards me. He doesn’t he’s not giving me any shot. He’s not turning straight on. Yeah, straight on, like headshot, but I wasn’t going to take that. So, I was like, all right, buddy. And I was like, this is happening. This is happening. You know, it gets harder and harder to control your breathing. And then I’m like, he’s filling my scope, like filling it. And I was like, does he step on me like he’s coming super close. He has no idea where they’re finally my husband turns around and realizes like, I’m already gone up on this deer and he was like, oh, man, so he tries putting a grant out to like, get him to stop. He doesn’t even hear us. Just like, all right. Yeah, he’s like, he’s just like, focused on one thing. And then sure enough, he just gave me a shot. He turned to run up the hillside. Perfect. broadside shot. So, I did it. I got him. He only went 20 yards. We let him rest and he was great. I mean, it was it was a really perfect shot. It was a good harvest. It was really satisfying. It really felt like I earned it this year.
That’s a long time.
Katrina Talbot 40:10 – Women Who Hunt
Yeah, it was a lot. Nick was like, yeah, you had that like that, that crazed look in your eyes. He’s like, it’s like an addiction. And I was like, yeah, it’s just, I, that’s all I could think about was like, getting back out there. So, it was really great. It was super satisfying and like to put in that much work for it. And then have it you know, come to fruition like that with like, a good clean harvest a really quick death. Really, you know, great, phenomenal meet. It’s just super, super satisfying. And having my two-and-a-half-year-old say Good job, mom. It was really fun too. So that’s awesome. And she digs that she’s like, really into the deer. She’s like, really? Yeah, we dragged it back to the house. I showed it to her it was all got it and we were a little apprehensive about it. I mean, I’m pretty firmly believe that you know, if you introduce all of to them at a young age, it doesn’t become weird. Yeah. And she should know where her food comes from. So, she was like, why is it all open? Like that? was like, well, cut that’s how you get the meat. This is how it becomes me. She was like, Oh, that’s a lot of meat. Like, yeah, a lot of meat. She goes, it’s going to be so yummy.
Todd Waldron 41:19
Katrina Talbot 41:20
We did it. Right. Yeah, like winning.
Todd Waldron 41:23
Congratulations. Yeah, yeah, that’s a great. I mean, what a what a difference test though. Like 1920 hours. I mean, cold. This ball has been really cold, cold hours. It’s hard to sit still. And like I can totally relate what you were talking about, like all those things going through your mind. It’s like it happens. And it’s like it’s ever going to happen. And it happens. Yeah, that’s so cool. It’s really great. Any advice that you have Katrina as far as like, what people can do to support Bo becoming an outdoors woman program like conservation groups, like what you feel would be helpful for listeners. know where to be able to be able to help and support what you’re doing or anything in general that you want to talk about like to that?
Katrina Talbot 42:06
Yeah. So, you know, a really important factor of bow is, you know, we try to keep it affordable and accessible. We are a nonprofit organization. So, we are run with this partnership between New York State DC and New York outdoors woman, which is a nonprofit organization. So, we actually don’t have any funding. The only funding the DC gives is my salary. The rest of the program is completely funded by participants and by donations. So, when you register for our workshop, you’re paying for the whole thing. All of our instructors are volunteer. So, your registration fee is covering your food and your lodging, and maybe some equipment for the classes, but in general, it’s all supported by that. So, we take donations, certainly, we do have a pretty good scholarship program and we’re always willing to take other scholarships on. We have a carol Drury military Scholarship Fund for Women who are either Active or used to be an active military service to help them afford coming to the workshops? And yeah, so, you know, any monetary donation for scholarships is always appreciated. We also take gear donations from big companies, we have a whole list of outdoor Outfitters and companies that contribute supplies to our classes and stuff because like I said, you know, it’s all volunteer. And so that always helps. And then honestly, like spreading the word, you know, our biggest form of advertising is word of mouth. So just talking about it, encouraging other women to go is huge. And also reaching out and telling us what you’re looking for, you know, if there’s like some outdoor skills class that you’re really like dying to learn and dying to get into, like, let me know, and I’ll make it happen for you if I can.
Todd Waldron 43:52
That’s pretty cool. And so, what’s on the horizon for 2020?
Katrina Talbot 43:55
Great, so yeah, so we’ll have in the Catskills and deposit New York in May There’s going to be a hunting one at bow hunting one on one class. So, it’s going to be two full days of bow hunting immersion. So, you’re going to get your bow hunter education certification as well as some really in depth, like field dressing of actual deer 3d target, shooting a lot of bow handling a lot of tree stand us safety, things like that. And then September of 2020, at Greek peak ski resort, September 10, to the 11th to the 13th. We will have our big fall workshop, which is the big three-day workshop. Around 130. Women calm 50 different classes. So that’s what we have in the works right now.
Todd Waldron 44:41
That’s a big class. I mean, that’s yeah, that’s pretty exciting. Yeah, that’s pretty cool stuff. Yeah. What do you want to talk about anything that we haven’t talked about, or I haven’t asked you, that you feel like people need to know or should know or just anything you want to share? As far as
Katrina Talbot 44:57 – Women Who Hunt
I guess, yeah, just if you are passing passionate about hunting and about conservation. Reach Out and mentor somebody. That’s that, you know, that’s the huge barrier is finding mentors, I was lucky enough to have, you know, my husband was a phenomenal mentor. people I work with are really great, but most people don’t have that opportunity. So, if you enjoy it, you don’t have to be the best hunter out there. You don’t have to be bagging big box and, you know, filling your bag limit on dogs every year just to take someone out and teach them. People just want to share the knowledge and feel safe and have someone to go with. So, if you’re really passionate about it, and you’re really passionate about keeping the tradition alive and teaching people about conservation, reach out, find somebody either become a hunter Ed instructor, and help contribute to our classes. Or and or reach out and mentor somebody, you know, offer advice, just, you know, help build this community and keep it going.
Todd Waldron 45:58
It’s great advice. I think that what’s interesting is we talk a lot about barriers for new hunters, right? There are some barriers or some concerns for people about mentoring, I found like, you know, they’re like, Oh, well, I haven’t been hunting long enough, or, oh, you know, me like taking somebody out, or I don’t know this person or something. So, there’s definitely some psychology, I suppose for people that might have some concerns about just stepping out and putting themselves out there and being a mentor. But there’s so much of an opportunity to do it. And oftentimes, you know, it can be at so many different levels, because sometimes it’s just being a resource to email or call or something. So, you can get full-fledged into taking somebody with you and being in the outdoors and spending the season with them. You can also be a mentor just by being a sounding board and just like being Hey, we’re on social media. And you know, I’ve had people reach out and say, Hey, I’m coming up to the Adirondacks. And what do you think about this this time of year, and so that’s mentoring to you know, that’s just like being there for people and supporting them. One of the things I’m most excited about this year is we have quality deer Management Association in Washington and Saratoga County and the capital region. Yeah. Matt Ross with QDMA and the local leaders and john bow from Cornell extension had this great field to fork program going Yes. And so, I’ve been a mentor and there’s been a couple other my friends that have been a mentor and along with some great folks from QDMA, it’s such a cool process to walk through. And so, we went through the hunter ed program and walk through a weekend of that and like then some initiating and then a range day. And then it’s so exciting. Like we’re starting to have some of the new hunters harvest some deer their first year. Yeah, sharing those experiences out there in it, like it’s so rewarding to be with somebody that seeing things, you know, through a different lens like through a newer lens, thinking through that stuff and being there and I feel like the mentoring also some for hunting, it can carry on beyond, you know, one of the things I suppose is that, you know, hunting is a process that takes a long time, it can take a lifetime to kind of evolve through things. And yeah, but at the same time, like working through, like the programs that you have with bow, or like coming out of hunter Ed, and then to be able to have that support, maybe a mentor to carry you for through those first three, four years or five years or whatever. Yeah, I’m not suggesting that somebody has to like stay as a mentor with somebody for that long but just having that support can be
Katrina Talbot 48:33 – Women Who Hunt
useful if you have a community and like, yeah, like I love what you said about it doesn’t have to be huge. it you know, you take them out with you hunting every time you go, like go get coffee with them, tell them how to buy the right gear, how to dress. You know, tell them how you know where to find good calls, or you know how to find public land that you can actually access and you know, what is the best public land to use and things like that? I agree completely. Yeah, just like being there being a part of the community. attributing in a positive way to the community is really like all it takes. And it Yeah, it is super rewarding the field of fourth program is an incredible program because it gives people that sort of like start to finish experience. Like even if they don’t harvest a deer that year, they see someone else do it, they’re part of that it’s still is really exciting and empowering and inspiring. And then, you know, they see how it’s, you know, feel dressed and butchered and processed. And you can see the whole thing start to finish. And it takes off a lot of that intimidation factor, I think of the unknown. So, the more programs out there to there like that, the better. But yeah, that is a really phenomenal program. And yeah, I think mentoring doesn’t have to be as intense and intimidating as it as people think it is. You don’t have to be a professional, you know, big buck Hunter. Exactly. just teach someone how to get out there. And, you know, a lot of the questions people have been just the little things, you know, like what kind of boots should I wear? Or, you know, should I sit in a tree stand or can I sit on the ground, you know, really easy questions like that, like Do I use this joke all like, do I call it every five seconds for half an hour straight? Or not? Like if you don’t know, it’s, it’s pretty intimidating. I mean, YouTube is your best friend too. But like, there’s a lot of bad information on YouTube also. So
Todd Waldron 50:14
you have to sift through it.
Katrina Talbot 50:15 – Women Who Hunt
Yeah. So, it’s nice just to have someone out there is like, like you said, like a sounding board just to really like reach out to and get some support and feel like you have a community for sure. Yeah. And those, the partnerships are important. So, like, I feel like being able to cross pollinate, so to speak between different groups, like no, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Like we’re all this stuff with mentoring and formal structure for programs. It’s like, if somebody is doing something that’s working, jump in and support them, you know, because we’re all going to benefit from it. It doesn’t have to be this groups program or that groups program just jumps in and yeah, it’s a rising tide kind of thing. You know, partnerships are important. And final question, anything you’re looking forward to this winter spires like outdoor kind of stuff. I mean, I looking forward to doing some ice fishing. I have to say I’m definitely a Fairweather ice fishermen like I only liked it when it’s sunny out. But ice fishing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, I’m excited about all of it. I’m really excited. I’ve been taking my daughter with me since she’s two and a half since she was born. I’ve had her like in like Baby Bjorn while I ski and snowshoe. So now she’s a little too big for that. So, I’m excited to kind of get her involved on like, a deeper level where she’s like doing more or I could just send a pointer on a sled We’ll see. But we’ll just be a pack horse, but we’re in sled mode right now yeah, I’d be like, yeah, she’ll maybe want to like do it on her own for two seconds. Tired, but I’m excited to just kind of like see it all through her eyes. So that’s really cool. But you know, I love I embrace all the seasons and like, I’m really excited to just get out there and have winter be here.
Todd Waldron 51:55
Yeah, me too. I embrace it as well. And like I feel like if you’re going to live in a place like that, New York and like I live up in the Adirondacks. So just roll with it and yeah, find fun things to do. And ice fishing is always something I enjoy. But it like you I’m like, you know, the nicer days, like, the days of going out there when it’s 10 degrees and windy or like,
Katrina Talbot 52:15 – Women Who Hunt
I’ve done it and I don’t really enjoy it.
Todd Waldron 52:16
I don’t really enjoy it. So, yeah, exactly, but it’s a good time. And it’s fun and, you know, something that I like doing my daughter too. So yeah, got her own tip ups and she likes the bait and like, she likes the Yeah, we you know, it’s funny. Like we can we can make it for a while. So, it’s like knowing how long it’s fun. Yeah, and then knowing exactly when to be like, Okay, let’s go. Yeah, have some hot cocoa. Yeah, it’s really cool.
Katrina Talbot 52:42
Yeah, that’s really pivotal to like getting kids to enjoy outdoor stuff, right? Yeah, they have a shorter tolerance for it. So, if you force them to be out there, they’re not going to really enjoy it. But if you keep it fun, keep it light. them. I want to go all the time
Todd Waldron 52:56
positive reinforcement. All right, Katrina Talbot like bye Algos program director for becoming an outdoors woman in New York, DC. I appreciate you being on the podcast and look forward to supporting your program and working with you in 2020.
Katrina Talbot 53:10 – Women Who Hunt
Thanks that it’s been a pleasure.
Todd Waldron 53:12
Thanks for listening to the outdoor feast podcast. You can check out our other podcasts and more at mod carn.com