Jen Gilbert's Bio

I’ve always loved the outdoors.  From hiking and skiing with my family as a little girl, to river guiding and backpacking as I got older, I am my favorite self when I’m outside.  Mixed with this love of the outdoors is absolute respect for animals.  I’ve had my share of pets over the years from cats and dogs to a baby squirrel and I have incredible fondness for domestic animals.  But animals in the wild are a whole different experience.  They are majestic.  I could easily sit and watch in awe as a mother and her fawn take a leisurely stroll through a meadow.  I’ve even been known to pull over on the side of the road and snap a photo or two with my Blackberry phone.  People ask “How can an animal lover also love to hunt?”  Maybe it’s in my blood.  Heck I have a 2nd cousin who got married in a buckskin wedding dress!

My dad used to hunt on the east coast every Thanksgiving with his cousins.  He would come home to Seattle and have story after story about what happened in the woods.  I begged him to take me with him sometime.  My first opportunity came my freshman year of college.  I was going to walk in the woods with my dad while he hunted.  We flew out to hunting central also known as my cousin’s house and amidst the hustle and bustle of scratchy wool hats and mismatched gloves and every conceivable shade of hunter orange, I fell in love.  When I walked in the woods next to my dad, straining with my ears and eyes for the first sign that a deer was near, I felt alive.

Hunter’s safety followed in the months after that trip along with my dad’s purchasing a Browning pump action open sighted shotgun for me.  Where I learned to hunt was in Amish country in New York State.  Because of the proximity to farm animals, only shotguns could be used for hunting.  I filled my deer tag on opening day.  My heart just about leapt out of my chest as I waited for a clean shot.  I won’t lie and say I was all grins when I saw the animal become still on the ground.  I felt a burden and a seriousness that I’d never experienced before.  But, I knew that I would continue hunting and that this was the beginning of a whole new endeavor for me.

We processed the animal ourselves and sealed it up in small packages with each cut meticulously labeled.  We fit as much meat as we could carry in two soft coolers at the end of the hunt and prepared to fly back across the country.  Let me tell you: airport security does a double take when a cooler full of meat and a young woman carrying a shotgun show up at the airport!

My chosen state for hunting morphed to Washington when I met my husband.  My weapon of choice morphed as well from shotgun to bow but I have a deep respect for my Browning shotgun and maybe someday that very gun will rest against the cheek of our son or daughter as they, too, become one of the hunting family.



Articles by Jen Gilbert