The first woman to complete an Arizona Small Game Challenge...and now her second one!
The outdoors has always been a big part of my life but being the mother of younger children can make it a little more difficult getting out there as much as I would like to. Over the last few years though, I have made it a point to try to be more outdoorsy. A couple of years ago my brother Nathan introduced me to the Arizona Small Game Challenges that he had started participating in. I decided to also give it a try and I am so happy that I did! This adventure has provided me the opportunity to discover new parts of Arizona and the world of small game hunting that I may not have ever explored or hunted at all.
I started off with the Desert Challenge (must harvest 5 of the 7: Quail - Gambel’s, Mearns, Scaled, Dove – Mourning, White-Winged, Eurasion Collared and Cottontail Rabbit) and I soon realized that it really was a challenge to learn these new areas and to try and find the different species of dove. I even attempted my first southern Arizona Mearns quail hunt but I was unsuccessful. Thankfully though I was able to finish my first challenge off with a Eurasian dove! A few months later I received my Arizona Small Game Challenge plaque from the Arizona Game & Fish Department and my first year was completed. I was proud to be told by AZGFD's Larisa Harding that I was the first female participant to complete a challenge…and I couldn’t wait to attempt my next one!
For my second challenge, I signed up for the Native Quail one(must harvest Gambel’s, Mearns, Scaled quail) and I couldn’t wait for the opening day of quail season to get here! On the opening weekend I was lucky enough to get my Gambel’s quail and then I took an impromptu trip down south with my brother to chase after Scaled quail for the first time. Thankfully I was able to get my first Scalie that day as well! But now I had to wait until the Mearns opener where I had planned a trip down south with my husband and brother. We all got down there and I was also introduced to Michael Cravens at the camp. Michael and my brother Nathan were getting to be pro’s with these challenges. The next morning was very rainy, but we set out anyway but to no avail. We went back to the camp to take a break and then we headed back out in the afternoon and thankfully I was able to harvest my first Mearns quail. I was so happy to enjoy such a very special moment!
Next season I can’t wait to attempt the formidable Mountain Challenge so that I can explore even more parts of Arizona! Maybe I could be the first woman to complete all four challenges so that I could match my brothers accomplishment. If you have ever considered signing up to accept a small game challenge…I would highly recommend that you do!