Editor’s Note: According to Mossy Oak Pro Brenda Valentine of Puryear, Tennessee, known as the First Lady of Hunting, “I don’t let much grass grow under my feet. If I’m not flying on an airplane, driving somewhere in my truck, using my tractor to turn dirt or bush hog weeds, riding my horses, tending to my garden, spending time with my four grandkids, testing new outdoor equipment, writing a column for ‘Turkey Country Magazine,’ being at a Bass Pro Shops grand opening or representing the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) somewhere, I’m hunting.” But for Valentine, this schedule is greatly-reduced compared to her earlier years in the outdoors when she traveled all over and out of the country gathering content and video footage for three different TV shows at the same time. If ever someone has lived and still lives the Mossy Oak lifestyle, it’s Brenda Valentine.
I’ve been on three African safaris, and I’ve gone to Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Russia on behalf of the hunting industry on goodwill tours for our troops. Although I didn’t hunt on these tours, I’ve hunted every province of Canada, I’ve been to Alaska and Mexico, and I’ve hunted in just about state at least a dozen times. I start hunting the first of March each year and don’t stop hunting until the end of May – primarily for turkeys and sometimes for spring bears. About every third year, I’ll go on a safari during the summer months, and then I start in September hunting elk and antelope. I hunt from September from then until the middle of January for whitetails. However, in recent years, I’m spending more time either hunting properties I lease or land I own. I bring people in to hunt with me rather than going lots of other places to hunt with other people. I enjoy having people come and hunt with me, much more than I do going from hunting camp to hunting camp for most of the year.
In recent years, I’ve become more of a Mossy Oak Gamekeeper than ever before in my life. I enjoy hunting the game that I’m responsible for providing food and habitat. I’ve got fields on my lands planted in a wide array of Mossy Oak BioLogic plantings, and I’ve planted numbers of fruit and trees from Mossy Oak’s Nativ Nurseries. Today my whole heart is in the 300-acre farm we’ve bought and use strictly for raising wildlife.
I thought that our farm was gong to be a place primarily where I took my grandchildren. But my grandchildren’s parents all have land my grandchildren hunt. I’ve only got one granddaughter whom I pick up after school when I’m in town. She likes to hunt with me. My grandsons prefer to hunt with their friends. I enjoy getting out on my farm, riding my tractor, mowing, plowing, planting and improving the habitat. I’m constantly rotating my crops for wildlife, doing timber management, improving habitat and planting trees. When I’m moving through my orchard, I may swipe an apple to eat. However, the fruit and nuts my land provides is really for the wildlife that lives there. This farm has been one of the most-fulfilling projects I’ve ever done. I cleaned up this property that had been fallow since the 1930s. When I go over to that land and see flocks of wild turkeys in my milo, or when I take young people over there and let them hunt deer, I really have a good time.
I’ve also been able to take people in wheelchairs to my farm and let them turkey hunt. I’ve got land set aside to take special people on special hunts. When we need to harvest a certain number of deer from that land, we take the deer over to the local jail where the inmates process the deer and give the meat to the needy. I get such a good feeling when we harvest does, and I know those does are going to help people to have meat who don’t have any to eat. So, as I said earlier, my reason for hunting has changed over the years. I often get more satisfaction watching other people take the game I raise than harvesting those birds and animals myself.
For more information on Brenda Valentine, visit: https://www.facebook.com/brenda1valentine, https://www.facebook.com/BrendaValentineFirstLadyOfHunting and www.brendavalentine.com.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.