Earlier this month we hosted a ladies' day at Valhalla Hunt Club in Bennett, CO. There were sixteen participants, eighteen mentors and volunteers, plus six dogs and their handlers. Pheasants Forever sponsored this event and provided free gun rentals as well as all ammo.
We started the morning with an introductory classroom session going over the schedule for the day, basics of upland hunting, and gun safety. Participants then practiced their shooting and field skills. Mike Mills, of Clay Connections Foundation, volunteered his time as an expert shooting coach and led the ladies during their clay shooting practice. The ladies were able to shoot at various targets from the multi-positioned throwers Mike set-up on the Warren Watson Shooting Grounds. Ladies could practice shots from a variety of distances, going in different directions, and even a variety of sizes! Pheasants Forever matched each participant with a mentor for the day who helped coach them during their practice and lead them in the field.
In the demo field, ladies practiced scenarios they would encounter on the hunt, reviewed hands-on safety protocols, and met the dogs they would hunt with. Handlers were able to showcase their dogs' skills and personalities before it was time to break for lunch.
Valhalla staff prepared a delicious wild-game lunch for all of our participants and volunteers in the clubhouse. The ladies were put into their groups for the hunts, and off we went!
For many of the attendees, this was their first live pheasant hunt. Nearly every participant took down a bird that afternoon. I personally loved the excitement from the ladies when they broke a clay and took a shot at a bird... priceless!
There is great comradery amongst women in most scenarios -- there's something extra special when it's interacting in the outdoors!
The mentors and volunteers were so wonderful and supportive - their time, passion, and energy really showed that day, and we are so grateful for their support!
Planning events and bringing people together makes me happy. When I get to do it in the context of activities that I feel passionate about and truly love, I'm overjoyed. I can't wait to plan another adventure like this one! I hope to see you all out there!
All photos captured by the one and only, Colin Mulligan.