From Hurricane Jane to a humble hunter. Bianca Jane Burnett, Founder and President of the non-profit Beauty & Her Bow joins us this episode to share great inspiring stories about her experience and how she’s matured as a hunter. She talks about her vision for Beauty & Her Bow, which is a community for female hunters and hunters to be. She goes deep into the process of her non-profit organization to spread awareness. Join in as Bianca shows courage in tackling one of the most controversial topics, not only in hunting, but around the globe.
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“Her Humble Hunt” Part 1 – Bianca Jane Burnett
We’re heading down south with a good friend. Bianca Burnett was on the show before. She’s got a special story she’s going to lead off with. You can find Bianca and Her Humble Hunt on social media and she’s got a lot of things we need to discuss because a lot has happened to her and they’re all good. Sister, welcome to the show.
I’m happy to be back. I was thrilled to get invited again and to sit with you again.
What happened? I got you on the show. You’re a little nervous but then wonderful things happen. What’s up with that?
I’m so nervous. The same week that I have spoken with you, it was either two or three days after we had spoken, I went out with my bow, like those beginners, you don’t know so you do whatever. I found the gander before but I haven’t been able to get a shot. The same week I spoke to you, I dropped a bird. I was amazed at how Bruce is a lucky charm when it comes to turkey. Who knows, hopefully we’ll talk. I’ll head out for a new piece of North Georgia land. We’ll see if history repeats itself.
I bet it will. I’ll put money on that. We were on Facebook Live people and shared something that Bianca posted on Instagram with Rosa Parks. Let’s start off the show with that because that shows who you are, how you’re maturing and how you’re comfortable in your own skin even though you’re an interracial person. Some people don’t know how to handle that. You addressed that thoughtfully and insightfully. You did a good a job with that little piece. Hopefully you put that on your blog because it got right down to who you are. You’re a beautiful person inside and out. Talk to us a little bit about that.
I have a snippet on my blog. Sometimes Instagram cuts you short because you don’t get to entail everything that you wanted to so I did the best I could with it. It’s a big thing in the world in the industry right now. Everything about hunting is women in a lot of ways. A lot of attention is going to women. Growing up, I’ve always been different but to me, I was the same. I never felt I wasn’t American and that I wasn’t a US citizen. This is where I was born. I have dark hair and dark skin. My traits are different. I want to be open and say, “You’re not offending me,” when people ask me more times than I can count in my lifetime, the words, “What are you?” If you didn’t have the right attitude, you could get offended by that. I learned to laugh and giggle with it.
There’s an amazing lady that I linked up with. Her name is Lee and she talks about how the world for women who hunt is evolving, it’s growing and it’s changing. Even more so this insight of women of minority that are taking to the outdoors is another area that we’re shedding light on. I never like to think about race or color. Like Rosa Parks said, “There’s only one race and that’s the human race.” It’s a beautiful thing to sit back and be a part of this world in your own little way. I made the post for people to know that you can speak to me. You’re not offending me. I’m an approachable person. I’m always happy to have messages and speak to people.” It sums up that to me, we’re all equal especially in the world of hunting. All of us can be that way. If you love doing it, you’re always looking for a way to get your hands in it. That’s what makes us all human race and we love and are passionate about the outdoors and hunting. Don’t let your skin color ever separate you. Bruce, one time I think you said something about we’re all the same, and it’s true. We’re all the same. We all love the same things.
I call it common ground. That’s what we have. When we’re sitting around the campfire, we’re all on common ground. We were laughing about boars and cherries. That’s part of the campfire chat. We’re giggling because that’s what you do in deer camp or turkey camp.It’s a beautiful thing to just sit back and be a part of this world in your own little way. Click To Tweet
That’s one of the best parts of it. Around the campfire, when it’s dark, you can’t tell the color of your skin anyway. We all got hoodies on. We all smell the same. You wouldn’t even I was a woman if you didn’t hear my voice. One of the best parts is that communion that you come together. I came back from South Georgia with our best friend and that’s a hilarious story. I didn’t even realize how funny it was until I realized that’s not normal for people. We got no turkeys. We have such a good time that it didn’t matter. It was about being in the moment.
I don’t know where the tone of this whole episode is going to go but grasp who you are. Be comfortable in your own skin as Bianca is and reach out to other people. I watched the movie Wonder about that kid in New York City and his face was deformed at birth and had lots of surgeries, but he’s a brilliant and smart kid. It took a while for everybody to figure out he was a kid. He was no different than they were. He’s a kid but you have to get through that mask. He did look different, there’s no question about it.
Many times we back up because we’re faced with, “What do I do? How do I do? I don’t want to offend somebody.” We’re uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable. You’re not uncomfortable, but I sure am. I don’t know what to do and you lose a wonderful opportunity to reach that common ground. As hunters, we need to reach out to people. I was talking to a friend on the show, Adam Keith from Land & Legacy. We talked about what if you went to somebody at work or somebody that you knew and said, “Me and a couple of guys and couple young kids are going up to the cabin. We’re going to hang out. We’re going to tell stories. We’re going to eat some good food. We’re going to go hunting if we want to. It depends on what’s happening,” on a low key. Invite someone along for an outing and the guys said, “We’re going hunting?” “Yeah, if you want to.” It’s no big deal.
A lot of people are waiting for that. They’re waiting for that opportunity.
We miss many opportunities thinking, “I’ve got to make sure he’s got all the gear. I don’t want to babysit somebody with the licenses and all that.” Forget that and invite somebody along. Go have fun. You can’t replicate what happens in deer camps or turkey camps. We took it out of the context of hunting camp and we put it on the big screen. Pick a topic.
I was always hyped and I was dying. I was choking telling the story of the last time we were at turkey camp. I lived it and I was laughing. I started tearing up saying, “Life is so good.” It’s perfect when you’re doing what you want. You cannot replicate it. Every trip is different. You can’t make it up. It’s insane.
You pack up, roll out and hopefully, you make it home.
You might show up at camp at 3:00 AM and have to be up at 5:00 AM. You’ve got there and you will.Being a hunter doesn’t mean a harvester. It simply means you’re a hunter. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t matter and people, I’ll use the word night hunters, this is what hunting is about. We’re a couple of adults, a guy and a gal talking about things that you’ll never realize until you go. Here’s the secret to me. I’m an elder now and at the bunkhouse, when I was nineteen or twenty years old, nobody taught me how to hunt. There were two people I met at deer camp when I was invited. Harry Shearer, he’s passed on, he told me about hunting the west. The old guys feed into the young guys, the same thing with the older women feed into the younger women. You get into serious discussions and it’s not all about hunting people. In life, it gets ugly. In families, there’s abuse, there are drugs and alcohol. Those things and conversations happen. It brings them up because all of a sudden, they’re safe. Nobody’s going to judge you. You’re safe.
You have a lot of sobering and slumbering moments. They might wake you up when you’re trying to get your last minute of sleep in and you’ve got to be up. There are real-life experiences when you’re out there with you and the people you’re with. That’s what’s beautiful.
It doesn’t get any better. You have some Native American in your lineage and everybody taught everybody. They had to teach them because when they died, they had to know how to get back to the trail. They had to know how to cut off the buffalo and how to do all these things. They had to pass it on. That’s one thing that non-hunters will never get that part because you feel you’re alone. I ran into a story, the more we’re close to social media, the lonelier we’re getting.
I’ll make a saying. I didn’t make it but I saw, “Scroll less and live more.” To have a social media platform as I do, I’m honestly on there trying to connect and speak with people. I’m not on there as much as people probably think I am. It’s because you should get off your phone and leave that front of the house. Spend time for work. When you’re out there, live in the moment. You will stop communicating with people and you’re just going to do it over the phone.
When I’m doing all these, I’m on the phone doing Instagram videos or a bird is sitting is on my arrow and you text a guy a mile away, “What are you seeing?” I’m guilty.
It’s a delicate balance because as hunters, if it becomes a job then it’s no longer joy. You have to find that balance continuing to provide people what you promised them but not stealing from your own happiness. When I’m at a deer camp, you might not hear from me for five days. I’m taking pictures and things but I want to remember that moment. That’s what we have to remember or there’s no point in doing it.
I remember a successful DIY whitetail hunter, he refuses doing the camera and refuses everything. When he loads up and hooks up his trailer, he hunts multiple states, that’s it. I know how to get a hold of him, but I don’t know when he’ll call me. He works hard eight months a year. The rest of the year, he’s hunting.
I spoke with an amazing lady. She designed this necklace I have on, she handmade it for me. She was right. Unless I found a Steven Rinella level kind of thing, I don’t ever want to be in that type of setting where it’s disrupting the filming. I talked to so many people and I have said things like, “You’re so successful and I’m such a big fan.” They’re like, “It’s awful.” It’s not for everybody. I’m not that kind of person. I’m still nervous talking to you right now. As your friend said, you only have so many moments. Why would I want a cameraman scoop or do something because I’ve heard crazy stories? I said, “I thought they were amazing and perfect.” Some people are good at it. They make me look and say, “How do you that?” Some of us aren’t. I’m more of a loner. I’m more detached and you might not speak to me but I promise I’m not ignoring anybody. You have to speak about it in my blog where I specifically tell you my joy when I am detached. It’s a big thing you can read about and a lot of things I talk about as a hunter, why are you hunting? What is your purpose? That’s what I was excited about talking to you again about things have changed. My views and goals have progressed and evolved for the better. I’m so thrilled to get to chat with you again.
Let’s stay right there and camp on that because people are misconstrued on so many things. People get preconceived notions, expectations when you have a double set. You’ve got a guy hanging on your corner. You’ve been waiting ten days for that buck to come by to get a kill shot. If you show up there and don’t have any harvest, don’t have any kill shots, people don’t watch all the time.
That is the reality of hunting. Steven Rinella was one of the first people that I ever watched on TV and I’m so glad that I did because he showed me his hunting. He showed the side of the hard work, the days, the weeks that you get nothing. Sometimes you’ll see an individual walk out and they’ll drop a big game animal every single time and that almost broke me. That almost made me give up because I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought, “Why am I not able to do that?” In reality, they didn’t tell you that they’ve been there for two or three weeks. All that backstory to earn it, why are you leaving that out? That’s what makes it amazing. It’s the hard work. It’s like a baby step. That’s the joy of it. I specifically remember, you had encouraged me. Even if I had not harvested anything, you said to me about how it didn’t matter. It’s about living and being out there. If you drop something, you drop it, if you don’t, you’re learning. Take it as it is.
That’s what we have to do. I’m smiling because you’re remembering some of the things I said about how you have matured. For the audience, this lady’s maturing quite fast because she’s choosing to put herself out there. She’s chosen to say, “Here’s who I am. This is what I believe in. This is how to reach out to me. This is what you read about me.” Did you get engaged? Is this a new thing?
No, my fiancé and I have been together for more than five years. I’m so terrible with numbers. Neither one of us remembers our anniversary date that much. We would’ve been engaged for a few years. The transparency is gold. Transparency is everything and it is a choice because you do take a risk but the risk is worth it if you think that there’s something good that can come out of it. I haven’t had the choice but to mature and grow up. It was either to mature and heading the right direction or your voice and reason would be lost. What’s the point? The last time that made me push and say, “If you don’t compete for this, you better be for this. If not, you better get out. Get off board because there’s a lot of room to grow.” It’s an everyday thing.
When you reach out to some individual you’re trying to learn from, how do you find a mentor?
It’s a double standard in the world because oftentimes a mentor for me is somebody that has taken the time and they’ve communicated with me. We’re not talking a couple of days or weeks, they have stayed consistently in communication with me through comments or sharing their story with me publicly for months. They’ve invested in that period in my life without even knowing it. The double standard is a lot of times, women aren’t that way for other women. We get scared about approaching each other. It goes about being said that there are different images that come up when you think about females who hunt but a lot of times, I have found that when it comes to females, I’ve had to go way out of my way to approach them. It’s almost like saying, “I like you too. I think you’re amazing.” I want to be your friend and it’s almost like we’re on a marathon. We’ve liked each other. We thought we were amazing but getting to speak to each other, it’s weird because sometimes women have a hard time approaching each other.
It’s sad which is why I made a post. My best friend in life, she’s been with me all the time throughout that crazy turkey story. We’ve been at work together, the whole time liking each other, but never speaking. Now, I could not live without her. That shows you how women can be. I want to show that we don’t have to be afraid to talk to each other. We’re not going to bite each other’s head off. I understand that there are some women, but men are the same way. We can’t let that hold us back from taking a moment to communicate. You could meet one of the best friends in your life sharing the same passion as you and you didn’t take five seconds to say, “I hope your day’s good.” That’s all it takes. I’ve been present to it. You can say, “I hope your day is going great. I really enjoyed your last post,” whatever they’ve done. The flood gates open, and they’ve been wanting to talk to me too. People, don’t forget, we’re all human. Just say, “Hey.” What’s the worst-case scenario? Is it that they don’t say hey back? Is it worth potentially missing out on a friendship of a lifetime? I don’t think so.
I don’t either. That’s the thing I’m sensing and hearing from you. You’re becoming such a beautiful person in a sense you’re growing in your confidence and you have the ability not only to allow yourself to be mentored because none of us are perfect, but you’re at the point where you can start lifting up other people. That’s a wonderful thing.If you love doing something, then you're always looking for a way to get your hands in it. Click To Tweet
It’s like a complete 180. It is reality. I remember you saying, “As many years as you’ve been hunting and as seasoned as you are, you’re still learning and you’re still growing.” My role now as a mentor to people, if you can even call it that is more of being happy. Stop comparing yourself. I’ve heard a lot from women. Stop scrolling and live. It doesn’t matter what the other did last week or what she did last year. Why does it matter? If you like what she did, congratulate her. Tell her how amazing she is and live your life by your standards. Hunt your hunt. Live your day. When people start doing that, beautiful things happen.
I read a blog post about it not too long ago and women were sparring off. It goes, “You mean to tell me all of you felt the same way and nobody said it?” It’s the same thing. We get scared of each other sometimes. That’s what I hope to change in the future that it’s not a competition. It doesn’t matter how many animals you’ve harvested. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve harvested an animal at all. I had a successful year but for me, I was pleased with my year. Had I not got anything, I’m still a hunter. Being a hunter doesn’t mean a harvester. It means you’re a hunter. People discount themselves and they put themselves in the corner and in the shadows because of numbers, things they’ve been in and that’s so wrong. I’m proud. I put a lot of hours into what I love but I don’t care if you only went out hunting two days out of the season. Those two days that you went is incredible. Be proud of what you do out here. Don’t worry about what other people did last year.
People, along the way, I knew her when we started Hurricane Jane, then people are getting to know her as Her Humble Hunt. Attached to that is the foundation she’s creating and how she’s given back from the get-go. That in itself, she has a way to all of a sudden, everybody knows her name or she’s on TV, she started to give back and you heard some of her comments on that. Tell us about Beauty & Her Bow.
Let me start by saying that I’m a rifle chick. I grew up with rifles. I’m still two-way. I’m sitting here talking to you, I got a shotgun and my bow and pistol on my waist. For me to say that I am now a developing bowhunter is insane. I would have never thought that I would ever want to shoot a bow. I was fortunate enough. I had somebody put a bow in my hand. I shot it one time, went home and I didn’t know how I was going to put back that bow. I bought a bow the next day, how stupid. You can read in the story.
There’s a nice write up in my blog. I said, “Who cares?” Money is tight, but I didn’t care. At that point, I had to have a bow. I was craving that bow. When I’m using it and I’m hearing my arrows land, it makes me feel like a woman that I’ve never felt before. When I harvested with my bow, it did something for me. That’s me. The issue is what if I hadn’t got that overtime? Buying my bow means that somebody’s not going to summer school, taking their summer semesters. I was looking for a way. There are various women’s organizations who are prosperous right now but what do we need? Another repeat of what’s already here or almost put a divider in the community. What do we have and what do we need was my approach.
That’s where it began. One of my best friends introduced you, me and her spent weeks on trying to figure this out with no avail. I never could get my heart to be set on what was my mission, specific endpoint without issue. We spent weeks and hours and I was awake at 3:00 or 4:00 AM, I couldn’t sleep and it slammed me right in the face like an eighteen-wheeler hit me, Beauty and Her Bow. I almost didn’t have a bow. I almost would not be a bowhunter. I love the name Beauty because every time I see a woman with a bow, it’s a different level of beautiful to me.
The foundation is simple. It’s basic. Let’s get a bow in the hands of any woman, young girl. I don’t care if you’re a college student, single mom, married mom with two kids. I don’t care if you’re a grandmother, if you have health issues and you can’t shoot a compound bow, I’m looking to put a crossbow in your hand. If you feel like it’s not yet time, you couldn’t get a bow right now, we give to our kids all the time and we come up short often. Why wait for Christmas? Why wait until a birthday or why wait for Sunday to come up and you’re robbed of that opportunity again?
The way it came off of it, I said the Beauty & Her Bow would offer the same number of brand new free bows, applicants will be onboard and that’s how we’ll choose who will receive the bows that year. I wish I could give 100 bows away a year. If somebody already has a bow but it’s below standard for hunting, if you have a bow that’s twenty years old and you already don’t know how to use a bow, I can help set that up for you. Somebody else could maybe use that bow. It’s almost like I want to implement a pass down. While somebody else might be waiting to get their brand new bow, you have the option of passing yours to them while they’re waiting to get their brand new one if they don’t have one. I finally raised the money and filed for 501(c)(3) status.People discount themselves and they put themselves in the corner and in the shadows because of numbers. Click To Tweet
I’m excited. Being a hunter has been life-changing for me. Dealing with some personal history and finding that peace again in my life has been something that I literally cry to people about because I’m almost 30 years old and I’ve never found something that was perfect. You add bow hunting to that and it’s like paradise. I wanted to give that to anybody that says, “I want it.” The foundation will also have a board. Like I said in my post, I’m still a developing bowhunter. I still have mentors that are out of state. The program will offer a mentorship program where seasoned, well-developed female bowhunters can come on board in the forums and answer how-to questions. The new bows also will be hand setup by me. I will work on them and adjust them in home with my bow press and do how-to tips and videos. It’s exciting to think that not only is there going to be more women that hunt but then there will be more female bowhunters. It’s not just being a bowhunter but being a knowledgeable bowhunter. Knowing your bow, knowing exactly what you’re doing, if you have an issue, you know what terminology to use. It’s amazing. I’m ready for it to happen.
Beauty & Her Bow Foundation will hope to be seen at a couple of the upcoming expos. It will be all volunteer-based with my board of directors. The sky is not the limit. Somebody told me, the saying goes, “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” I’m excited. It’s a beautiful thing. Another quote says, “When women come together with the intensity, beautiful things happen.” I want to give what I have because I can’t say that my life would be quite as complete had I not picked up what I do now. I’m thankful and there’s no telling who else out there was like me. I feel like I’ve been around the world and back and I couldn’t feel complete in my life. I have three college degrees, two children, a beautiful family but I didn’t have anything and this set my life on fire.
I’m thankful for the women that reached out to me and I’m thankful for the ones that did take the time to say, “It’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect, we love you anyway.” I can never say thank you enough and so the least I could do is try to give it back to somebody that was like me. It’s more than a hunt. It’s the last haul. It’s happiness that some people might never find somewhere else. I’m looking for anybody that wants to be a member and the part of the development. It’s all volunteer work. It’s a non-profit organization. I’m looking right now for archery companies and dealers that will be a part of this. I’m not looking for a handout. I don’t need you to give me free bows. I look to raise money in different forms. What I need is for companies to say, “I want to be a part of that.”
Non-profit doesn’t mean free. It doesn’t mean a handout. It means somebody’s working in the background so that these things are free for somebody. Anybody can be a part of this, anybody that has a heart for the outdoors and women, hunting and bowhunting. It takes a community to provide the next generation. I want to say thank you. I have so many women that have been a part of this and they’ve been a part of me. They’ll be a part of the future. Like in our hunter safety course, it says, “A true outdoorsman, a true sportsman, they look to give back, educate and to teach,” because what’s going to happen if we don’t? Our traditions and our love are going to disappear. I picked it up at a late age and I’m thankful because my children would have never had the opportunity.
I know what it’s like to make a turkey come in or sit and watch deer all day and say, “I’m not going to shoot them,” or know when to shoot. We learn all of them little by little and I’ll do that because my mentors, my friends and the people that have been on FaceTime with me until 11:00 PM because I can’t figure something out. I’m going to say, “Are you awake?” and they’ll be on FaceTime with me with my tripod and I’m shooting my bow. We’re critiquing my form and try to make improvements. Those are people that I never paid. They didn’t ask for anything. They just asked that I work hard. That’s why I feel people hard work like that needs to be paid forward. Beauty and Her Bow, that’s my baby right now. With the work of a lot of different hard-working people in various aspects coming together, I hope to make other people and other women like when I got my bow, my face cracked. That’s Beauty and Her Bow in a nutshell.
You can read about it on my blog site. It’s under Her Humble Hunt. Under the non-profit section of my blog, I showcase all kinds of different non-profit organizations. You want to be a part of something in whatever way is best for you, there’s a place for you. You can look at the site. It has a lot of different areas, whatever you may be good at. You don’t have to give money all the time. You can volunteer. Be a mentor. Georgia right now has a mentorship competition going on and if you win, you get a free hunt somewhere. I can’t remember what it is but it’s a mentorship competition where you take a young child or a youth out and you spend the whole season teaching them. If you’re looking for information, you can find things on Beauty and Her Bow under non-profit along with various other organizations that I care about. They’re doing a lot of great things for people across the country.
Bianca offloaded, downloaded a lot of reasons to get bow in other people’s lives and in children’s lives. We’re talking about women. It changed her life and if you’ve never been there, if you’ve been up against it in your life, it wasn’t pretty. It was ugly and then all of a sudden, the sun comes up, and there you are sitting in a treestand. The birds are chirping and the squirrels are doing what they do, the deer are doing what they do. All of a sudden, you’re in this place you’d never thought you’d be, and you can’t transform that. I can’t give you a pill. You can’t watch a movie but you have to go through the pain to get to a place where you say, “This is so beautiful, I don’t know what to do.” We’re talking about hunting. Bianca got to a place that was so beautiful she’s now bubbling over. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the next months. Thank you so much for reading.
Everybody’s heard about Beauty and the Beast. Bianca Jane Burnett is going to come on the show next and talk about Beauty and Her Bow. It’s quite a show. You’re going to have some laughs and you might even shed a tear. Bianca Burnett, Her Humble Hunt is going to be on the show next and it’s a special show.