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 fell in love with Mossy Oak Bottomland when it was first introduced, and I’ve never lost my love affair with this pattern throughout the years. That may not be what I’m supposed to say, but it’s the truth. I love Bottomland for sitting on the ground and hunting during turkey season, because nothing looks more like dirt and ground litter than Bottomland does. I also can wear Bottomland duck hunting. Too, I can back up next to a tree in a climbing tree stand, and I’ll look like a tree when I’m deer hunting. But I must admit I like Obsession too, and oftentimes I’ll mix the patterns. I may wear an Obsession shirt or jacket and cap, especially in the early fall and the spring. That way I feel like I blend in with the trees and bushes where I hunt. I also wear all the new patterns of Mossy Oak, like Break-Up Country, Brush, Treestand and Shadow Grass Blades. You know a lady has to have the latest fashion. But I still love my old reliable Bottomland.
I remember that in the early days, many men were surprised that I’d go into the woods before daylight. They truly didn’t know what to think when I’d put up my own tree stand and go to my stand by myself. But today when I walk into a hunting camp, and I’ve got my own tree stand and my own hunting equipment, I get much more respect from everyone than I did in the early days.
I never will forget when I went into a sporting-goods store to buy my first tree stand. The clerk told me, “Lady, it’s almost a proven fact that women’s arms aren’t strong enough to pull their butts up into trees.” That clerk didn’t realize he had thrown down the gauntlet. From that day forward, I was skinning the bark off trees climbing them to prove to him and everyone else that not only women’s arms were strong enough to pull their butts up trees, but they also could go up trees faster and safer and sit in their stands longer than many guys could.
However, even today many men won’t use climbing tree stands. My husband, Barney, climbed electrical poles as a lineman for 30 years. But he still won’t hunt out of a tree stand. Bernie says, “Oh, no, those tree stands will get you killed,” and I’m thinking, “You spent 30 years on tops of light poles, and you’re scared of tree stands?”
I’ve been on many different hunts and in various hunting camps. I’ve sat in good tree stands and tree stands where I’ve wondered why in the world someone has put me there, since there’s no indication anywhere that a deer has gone by there. If I have an option, I prefer to do my own scouting, find my own place to hunt and put up my tree stand myself in a place where I’ve got confidence in the site. I enjoy everything outdoors.
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.