Life Lessons from the Field: 5 Reasons to Thank Your Outdoor Mom

Just as April showers bring May flowers, our transition into May can only mean 2 things: school is almost out (can I get an AMEN?) and once again, it’s time to celebrate the strong women we proudly call “Mom.” In my case, I chose to make my grand entrance into this world on May 13th, which means that most years, I end my birthday celebrations with Mother’s Day brunch with my mama (sometimes I think she planned it this way – I definitely wouldn’t put it past her).

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Every year, I shower my mom with lots of love, pampering, and the occasional bling bling, and while she enjoys it, I know she loves the quality time we spend together even more. This year, I wanted to give her something more meaningful – I want her to know that she is the reason I am the outdoorswoman I am today. My mother has taught me more life lessons that I can even begin to count but below are 5 of the most important lessons that have had the most impact on my time in the field.

(Wolverton Family Photo)

1-Patience

Lord knows this was the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn! Let’s be honest, I’m still learning the meaning of patience, but I’ve come a long way since my childhood, where I would’ve happily turned down dinner in an effort to get to dessert faster, and I only have my mama to thank for this one. Without her constant lessons in patience, like saving my money for something I desperately thought I needed (I can still hear her voice saying, “You need that like you need a hole in your head.” – slightly extreme but it got the point across), I wouldn’t be able to spend long hours sitting under a tree, willing a tom to answer our calls or trekking miles in the hot sun, on the trail of a big buck.

Patience is everything when it comes to nature, whether you are growing your own food or hiking 10 miles up a mountain for a single breathtaking view. Mother Nature runs on her own schedule, and if it weren’t for my mother, I wouldn’t have the patience for field-to-plate. Thanks, Mom; I won’t be skipping dinner anytime soon!

2-Compassion and Empathy

I consider myself to be a pretty compassionate and caring person, and I have no doubt that I owe that to my mama. She was always the first person to stand up to bullying or denounce someone for gossiping about someone less fortunate, and she chose to lead by example when raising her children. My mother taught me to relate to others on a deeper level, not only to put myself in their shoes but to walk a mile (or more) in them so that I might understand their points of view a little bit better. In the field, I try to think like the animal I am hunting, where would it go, what would it do, how would it react. That empathy has made me a better tracker and a more intuitive hunter.

Anti-hunters cannot fathom that many hunters also are huge animal lovers. Anti-hunters cannot seem to reconcile the love of animals with the taking of an animal’s life, no matter the reason. I believe that the compassion I learned from my mama helps me bridge the gap, making me a more humane hunter, and one of the main reasons you’ll find me teary-eyed after every harvest. More on that next …

Mom Mother's Day Outdoor

(Shianne Gundersen photo)

3-Respect

As I mentioned above, and in multiple episodes of Girls with Guns® TV, you will find me wiping away tears as I talk about my recent harvest. Some may consider my emotions a sign of weakness, but they’d be wrong. My compassion for animals stems from a deep respect for the beautiful life I have taken to put food on the table for myself and my family. My mom instilled in me a respect for all beings, and she taught me that everything is deserving of my respect, no matter the circumstances.

I strive to be worthy of nature’s gifts, and I do so by respecting my surrounds and the creatures that live there. Too many times in recent years I’ve read stories about some terrible incident that could have been prevented or avoided with just a little more respect from the parties involved, and each time I am grateful for my mom and her determination to teach me that respect is earned, not given.

(Rader Family photo)

4-Strength and Determination

This one was a tough lesson to learn, and I’d be lying if I said that some days I don’t question whether I’ve even learned it at all. For the last 11 years, I’ve struggled with undiagnosed health issues that have threatened to erode any strength and determination that I thought I had, and if it wasn’t for my mama, teaching me to find my inner strength and to never give up, I’m not sure I’d be the woman I am today.

From pulling myself up by my bootstraps to making the best of the worst situation, she is the reason I could get back into the field. For every extra pound I put in my pack, and every extra mile that I hiked, I always had my mom’s voice in the back of my head, reminding me that I’ve made it through much worse. There have been hunts where I doubted that I would even see anything, and if I did, would I be able to make the shot, but I am no quitter, and that determination has shaped my outdoor experiences for the better.

5-Self-Worth

Probably the most important lesson my mother has ever taught me is that I am enough. Too many women go to extreme lengths to prove their worth to people who don’t even deserve a minute of their time, and I am eternally grateful to my mama that I don’t have to be one of those women. On the rare occasion that I wonder if my passions are “lady-like” or if I’m deserving of a place in such a male-dominated industry, my mom is the first person to remind me that she is my biggest (and most vocal) fan, and that she didn’t raise me to “know my place.” Instead, she encouraged me to break the mold, step out on a limb, and do more outside of my comfort zone.

All the lessons she has taught me have done more for me than any self-help book ever could. As only a mother could, she has shown me every day that it is perfectly acceptable to be both a girly girl and a tomboy, to be physically and mentally strong, and that sometimes, you must make your own sunshine. Where would the winning team be without a cheerleader, or the failing student without a mentor? Mostly, who would YOU be without the love and support of your mother?

Mom Mother's Day Outdoor

(Shianne Gundersen photo)

An Outdoor Mom

Every time I walk through the fields or hike through the woods, I’m reminded that not every woman is as blessed as you and I are to have the opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, and even fewer have a strong and empowering mother to teach us to love and appreciate nature. If you believe your mom is the reason you are the outdoorswoman you are today, share this article and tag your mom. It will be the best Mother’s Day present she’ll ever receive.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the outdoor moms!

  • About Callie Wolverton

    Callie Wolverton is the PR and Corporate Partnerships Director for Girls with Guns® Clothing. She also is a freelance writer with articles appearing in AmmoLand, Outdoor Wire and other outdoor publications. Born and raised in Northern California, she enjoys reading, hunting, and adventuring with her dog, Bandit.

     

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