Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hunting not just a man’s world

Another hunting season is in the books for Northwestern Ontario and many would think the adventures of local hunters solely is the telling of manly tales.
But be advised: more than a few pages in this past season’s novel have been authored by a female demographic, which may be small in number but resolute in their determination to carve their own niche in the hunting scene.

Sarah Kivimaki’s memories harken back to her days accompanying her dad on deer-hunting trips across the border.
“I can recall being eight years old and sitting in a deer stand,” grinned Kivimaki, an avid outdoorswoman when she isn’t teaching full-time at Robert Moore School here.
“I got my hunter’s training certification when I was around 12 years old and started hunting with him over there,” she remarked.
“Once I got my firearms certification, I started going with him here, too.
“Dad never had a little boy, only us two girls [her sister, Beth, also hunts],” Kivimaki added. “So we just ended up doing whatever sons would do—fishing, hunting, sports.”
Kivimaki, who favours moose and partridge hunting, acknowledges it’s still a male-dominated activity. But she’s adamant there’s no reason females why can’t be just as successful at the recreational pursuit.
“I have a mindset that females can do anything they want and that’s something I want to pass on to my family,” said Kivimaki, who, in a twist, actually was the one who got her husband, Scott, into hunting.
“It’s a family thing for me. That’s the way it’s always been.”
For fellow educator Meghan Bourgeois, who teaches special education at St. Francis School here, her attraction to hunting also came from her father.
“I started setting rabbit snares when I was five years old with Dad,” she recalled.
“It’s in the blood.”
Bourgeois’ passion for the sport comes from her combined affection for nature and tracking down her intended target.
“I love being outside and the anticipation of potentially getting something is really exciting,” she enthused.
Bourgeois doesn’t share the notion that hunting is an old boys’ club exclusively.
“I’ve never seen it as a predominantly male sport because I grew up around it,” she reasoned.
“So it was always more a way of life than a hobby for me.”
Allison Hyatt, who practically was raised in the outdoors with her parents owning Manion Lake Camp near Mine Centre, said becoming a hunter was a logical outcome for her and her sister, Alex.
“You’re around it all the time and just grow to enjoy it so much, it was pretty obvious it was something I would get into,” said Hyatt, who now lives in Dryden and works with autistic children.
“It just gives you the chance to be in the outdoors and really appreciate nature,” she said.

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