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From Subsistence Hunting to the First Lady of Hunting

Mossy Oak Pro Brenda Valentine Tells Why She Hunts 


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.

When I’ve been asked why I hunt, I have to look inside myself to try and answer that question. Perhaps my reasons for hunting have changed over the years, however, as long as I can remember, hunting has been my passion. In the beginning, I hunted for the meat of the game animals I took. My family and I still eat and prepare a lot of wild meat.  But I also hunt because I’m a conservationist. I’ve seen the money that comes from the sale of hunting licenses, the taxes on hunting equipment and the efforts of state departments of conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation organizations like the NWTF that have helped to bring turkey, deer, elk and other wildlife species back from near extinction. So, today I hunt to continue the growth of wildlife populations across the U.S. I love the sport of hunting and enjoy introducing other people to that sport. Another reason I hunt is because I bought a farm several years ago that I’ve intensively managed for wildlife. I get an altogether different feeling when I take a deer or a turkey off the farm I own, when I know I’ve provided the food and the habitat to allow those animals to grow to maturity on my land. 

Valentine_day1I also enjoy taking other people like friends and family hunting on my land and watching them enjoy the sport and having opportunities to harvest the animals I’ve grown on my property. Hunting always has been a part of my life, and I feel a deep responsibility to not only work with conservation organizations but to teach others and pass along the hunting heritage my family and I have enjoyed for many years. Too, I believe that I was born with a hunting gene. Just like some dogs hunt, and some don’t, I’m convinced I was born with that instinctive need to go out in the woods and find and harvest game. 

The traditions in my family also made me a hunter. When I was growing up, my family was dependent on the meat to eat that we took while hunting. Hunting was our recreation too, as well as a vehicle to put food on the table. Back when houses didn’t have TVs or Internet, one of my favorite things to do at night was to go out and listen to a pack of coon hounds chasing a ringtail up a high mountain. When we had family events, we’d all get together and go squirrel hunting. My family also made our living from hunting, since we trained hunting dogs for other people and sold those dogs. We also trapped and sold hides from the critters we took in our traps. When I was growing up, that’s how folks where I lived got by.

For more information on Brenda Valentine, visit: and

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

Tomorrow: Brenda Valentine Helps Break the Ice for Women Hunters

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