Scrolling through my social media posts could make a person think that I travel with a constantly rotating arsenal of weaponry. It’s true, I typically have more than one weapon along for the ride when we’re on the road, but I choose wisely when deciding which ones make the cut. Some guns are specifically for one type of game animal, while my bow is highly adaptable to many species. Here are my reasons why I choose to bring along my select few favorites when the moment of impact is hanging in the balance…
1. My Remington Versa Max 12 gauge in Tactical Black Finish.
While a lot of girls are choosing their weapons based on the overall weight and color choices available, I typically choose mine based on the reviews from experts, statistics on accuracy, and how I can expect it to perform in real-life situations. Sure, I chose my Versa Max in black tactical because it looks amazing and stands out from the others, but I also chose it because of the reliability and versatility. I love that I can go from 2 ¾ inch shells to 3 ½ inch without altering the weapon. I love the smooth sound it makes as the shell ejects and another takes it’s place in the chamber. It’s sexy and strong all at the same time. It fits well in my arm when I’m packing through the hills, and it stands out from the others when we take a group photo.
Is it beautiful because it’s mine, or is it mine because it’s beautiful?
I brought this gun with me on a few trips this year. It followed me to California on a wing-shooting episode where we chased valley quail all over the high ridges. It took a few dove, a few valley quail, and a rabbit. The real trophies in my photos from that trip are not only the game birds, but also my gun. I cleaned it after we finished the hunt, and the simplicity of the process made me commit to it even more.
My pheasant hunt in Iowa was something special because I used my black Versa Max. I shot my first rooster with it, and I’ll never forget the moment when the bird fell and my gun and I posed along side it. Even in the brutal temperature of -17 degrees, my weapon never failed me. My thick gloves made it difficult to pull the trigger, but not impossible.
It also joined me on a turkey hunt in Tennessee, where I not only harvested one of my largest turkeys with it, but I also managed to fall into a creek with it in my left hand. The gun hit the rock creek bed hard, as did I, and we both walked away from the fall with only minor scratches. These moments are what makes it a real gun. Not something to put on display that will keep it’s new smell for years to come. But a tried and true, dirty and scratched, capable and successful weapon. I’ll keep this gun for the rest of my life. We’ve created too many memories to part ways now.
2. Remington .300 Ultra Mag
For larger animals we need to pack a punch that will make the kill fast and efficient. My .300 ultra mag has traveled in it’s case on many trips, mostly as a backup and failsafe plan. When someone arrives in camp with a less than sufficient weapon, I’ll always offer to let them use my gun. Although it’s a cliche thing to say, the gun is dead on. If you aim true, and hold steady, it will do the rest.
I have had the pleasure of harvesting many large hogs with my bow, but recently I decided to take one with a rifle. This caliber was overkill in some ways, but I would rather err on the side of caution and use a bigger gun than the opposite. I shot two pigs, and neither one took a step after the bullet hit them. They fall instantly if you put the bullet in the right place, which isn’t much to ask considering the gun does the rest of the work.
This gun is smooth. It’s heavy in my hand, but that’s easily solved with a nice sling and shooting sticks. Even a tree branch worked well when holding steady, and in most parts of the world you can easily find a limb to cling to. Some female shooters worry about the recoil on larger caliber rifles. I have two things to say about that; 1. When you are in the moment of the hunt, you won’t feel that recoil. 2. It only hurts for a minute, if it hurts at all.
I’ve personally had bruised shoulders and cheek bones from guns, but that’s from repeatedly shooting to get action shots for the cameras. In real life situations it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have evidence of the recoil, unless if you forget to tuck it into your shoulder and hold on loosely. A small girl with a big gun is a good thing in my book, and I hope that someday the stereotypes go away that say we need small guns for ladies. Proper shooting techniques are what we need.
My weapons are crucial to my career, and I care for them as any professional would. They aren’t put behind glass or hung up on a wall. They are used, shot, cleaned, shared, and respected.
One of the best feelings in the world is to let someone else borrow my gun, and to see them successfully bag their animal with it. This season alone I’ve had a handful of people utilize my personal gun on their hunts, and I beam with pride every time…
So next time you see me, whether it be in person or on television, take note of which weapon I’ve chosen for that particular journey. Chances are that I have a solid reason for inviting it on the trip.