Anna Sidie-Slettedahl is a member of WHF. She works at USFWS as a Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and was one of five women featured as hunters in a recent USFWS bulletin. Thank you, Anna, for being part of our group and sharing your interview.
Main motivation for hunting: To challenge and empower myself, and prove to myself that I’m capable.
What hunting means to me: I am a new hunter. Although I have been exposed to hunting culture my whole life, and have built my career out of a love for wildlife and the outdoors, I have never actually taken up the sport of hunting until recently. A few reasons for this come to mind. Simply, I was not confident in myself. I didn’t think I was strong enough to pull a bow string back, I was afraid of firearms, and I was basically afraid of failure in this “man’s” sport. Another reason is because I never had any female role model hunters.
Since starting my position with WSFR about 2 years ago, my curiosity in hunting has been sparked again. I have reexamined the importance of hunting and fishing in conservation. I have been exposed to programs that I didn’t know existed; programs to help educate me on the culture of hunting and trapping, to help educate me on firearm safety and to improve my shooting skills, and to introduce me to hunting for food, and to women who hunt and fish that are willing to take me under their wing.
Just recently, I went on a mentored pheasant hunt and harvested my first bird. It was an emotional moment for me, and life changing. It was terrifying, but exhilarating, and it planted a seed of confidence. I am now getting out my bow that I have had put away for so many years, and practicing again. I am building relationships with these women mentors, and am learning all I can from my friends who are hunters. I am building that confidence that I thought would never exist. I am now planning turkey, squirrel, and archery deer hunts, and could not be more excited (and nervous!).