Gals with Guns: Started from the bottom, now we’re deer


Taking a deep breath in, eyes keen into the scope, the view of a perfectly still deer comes into focus.

Hunting game has been second nature to sophomore Tyra Carstens and freshman Kayla Bales for a long time. Both ambitious women have started from the bottom, never giving up on their passion.

tyra carstens

Having a pheasant time: Tyra Carstens ’18 poses for an after shot, literally. Photo courtesy of Tyra Carstens. 

“I have been hunting since I was old enough to hold a gun, which was when I was four years old,” Bales said.

This sport is not for everyone. However, for Carstens, hunting means more than just shooting for sport, and it was a feeling she had to get used to. “I felt nervous at first because I had never shot a living thing, but when I got my first bird, it just is a really powerful feeling of accomplishment, and I knew I would be able to provide food for the night. Usually my dad and I have hunted in the fall and spring when pheasant season is open. I mostly hunt pheasant and quail,” Carstens said.

While some hunters solely prefer hunting flying animals, others would like to select an “all of the above” option. Freshman Kayla Bales enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to hunt any kind of game. “Deer, turkey, waterfowl, geese, ducks, pheasants, quail, rabbits, and squirrels. Those are the main animals I focus on. In the future, I would love to have the opportunity to hunt elk and bear as well,” Bales said.

kayla bales

Female hunters are rarely seen in action. Both Carstens and Bales said they feel honored and proud to represent their gender. A girl with a gun is not always taken seriously by male counterparts.

“In 2013, I had just gotten my bow, and with- in two weeks of shooting it, I shot a Robin Hood. In other words, at 40 yards, I shot an arrow into another arrow,” Bales said.

A powerful sense of pride and accomplishment comes with hunting. “The whole experi- ence is amazing. It’s a lot better than having a boyfriend. I love my lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. I definitely wouldn’t change it for a boy,” Bales said.

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