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Jessica Taylor Byers How to Hunt like a Woman
Welcome to another exciting episode of Whitetail Rendezvous. This is your host, Bruce Hutcheon. And why is it exciting? Jessica Taylor Byers How to Hunt like a Woman. Well, we’re going to visit with Jessica Taylor Byers, also known as Follow Her Arrow, central Texas-born baby, raised an avid bow hunter, that’s paving her way into the outdoor industry. She has recently started a blog at FollowHerArrow.com to share her outdoor experiences, including her mistakes, and hopes and encouraging other women to pick up a bow. So, Jessica, welcome to the show.
Jessica: Hi, Bruce. Thank you.
Bruce: Hey. And to warm up, I asked you to give me three subjects and I’m just going to frame that right now and let our listeners hear what we’re going to talk about. And number one thing, encouraging other women, what drove Jessica to start a blog, Follow Her Arrow, and she wanted to inspire women not to be intimidated in a male-dominated industry.
So, let’s just start off with number one and let’s talk about your experiences, not only in social media, but in the field where you really want to step up and make sure that other women can be welcomed into the outdoor industry.
Yes. So, I’ve been hunting for most of my life. My dad always had me in a field,
Jessica: Yes. So, I’ve been hunting for most of my life. My dad always had me in a field, and I always had this discomfort with him because I had him basically holding my hand and teaching me the ins and outs in safety. And he was there when I harvested my first few animals. And eventually I got comfortable enough to start hunting alone, and I did that for many, many years. And then I met my husband who introduced me to bow hunting.
And I just felt this sense of empowerment when I started bow hunting. I guess taking it back to how we originally hunted for our food as far back as we can remember. So, it just made me feel empowering. And I thought back to all the years that I’ve really wanted to pick up a bow and I was just nervous, I was intimidated. I felt like I can’t look into that archery shop, they’re going to think I don’t know what I’m doing. You have these assumptions.
And I was lucky enough to have someone walk me through, from my dad walking me through all the gun hunting, and my husband with bow hunting. And I thought about all the women out there who may not have that, and it just inspired me to start this blog and talk about my successes as well as my failures because I am human.
And I’ve found that as I started hunting, bow hunting about three years ago, a lot of people will assume that I’m just this awesome hunter and like I never mess up. And it’s such a misconception, and people will relate to you better when you can talk about what you did wrong and what you could’ve done better.
So, I started it thinking this will be a resource for them to see what to do, what not to do, in case they don’t have that male inspiration in their life, the way that I’ve been so grateful to have. So, yeah, that’s kind of how things got started.
And I came up with Follow Her Arrow and it caught on on social media, and it’s kind of blown up to be more than what I imagined it would be. Again, I started it for fun. And I’m just trying to see where it goes from here. I’ve had a lot of great feedback and a lot of women that message me daily just saying thank you, “Thank you for being an inspiration,” or “Thank you for being real. Thank you for talking about the things that other people don’t want to talk about as far as messing up and the embarrassment,” and things like that. So, it’s been really cool. It’s been really cool, and down the road already. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Bruce: Now, social media, what platforms are you on?
Instagram is my main platform, and that’s @followherarrow
Jessica: Currently, Instagram is my main platform, and that’s @followherarrow. And I’m also on Facebook. I have a business page, Follow Her Arrow/Outdoors with Jessica Taylor. And then recently I’ve started a YouTube channel, Follow Her Arrow as well, and that’s fairly new. So I have a couple of videos of me just talking about product, and even some heat that I received from men in the industry and how I’ve dealt with that.
And then also, I recently did my last doe hunt. I got it all on film. That was my first official hunting video that my husband helped me record. And it was so much fun. I’m finding a lot of inspiration and excitement by just starting the video and be able to edit my own hunts. I’ve never done that before. So that’s been kind of a fun road to go down.
Bruce: Sounds like it. Let’s talk about inspiring women, and you mentioned not to be intimidated. Let’s go back to a couple of times that you felt intimidated, and how that always resolved.
Jessica: I’m trying to think of a…oh, for one, it’s not relating to bow hunting necessarily, but it was in the industry. Dove hunting is really big in Texas. And I guess it was two summers or two seasons ago, and I was so afraid, I was so afraid to even shoot because I’ve never shot a shotgun before. My dad raised me in a rifle stand, hunting whitetail and predators and hogs and whatnot.
So I was, seriously, I was so afraid to pick up that shotgun and shoot because I was afraid that they would make fun of me if I missed the bird. And it actually wasn’t until last week that right after I got back from SHOT Show, I went to a range and I had my first lesson with a shotgun because I refuse to let something like that intimidate me and keep me from learning something new.
And truthfully, I’ve had a great support system. Anytime I have questions and things like that, I’ve had a really good support system, people wanting to help me. So I’m kind of over that now. But, yeah, a couple of years ago, I would just refuse to even try to shoot a dove because like these guys are going to make fun of me, they’re going to say, I’m a girl, I don’t belong in the field, and anything like that.
And I can’t think of another term off the top of my head, but just always being the girl in deer camp literally my whole life, and a lot of times, I was the only one there. So when you have all these men around, you kind of felt small, like maybe I don’t belong here, maybe this isn’t what girls are suppose to be doing. And I never wanted to play with Barbies and do all that, so it felt really out of place. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just been more confident in what I’m capable of doing and it’s grown from there. I’ve had a great support system.
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