Violet Mears, an 82-year-old Virginia housewife turned hunter, is proving that it’s never too late to enjoy hunting.
A recent Daily Times article profiled Mears, who picked up the sport at age 73.
“I’m probably the oldest lady hunter on the Eastern Shore,” said Mears.
During her nine year hunting career, she’s killed eight dear, one of which was an eight-point buck.
Mears learned how to hunt from her life-long hunter husband Otho, who was with Mears the first time she killed a deer.
“We got out of the blind and started walking down there, and I was carryin’ the rifle. He was dead and when I put my arm around Violet and that damn gun went off, right in the ground ahead of us, on its own. Suddenly she said, ‘There’s somebody else back here. I heard them shoot,” said Otho.
Mears’ hunting rifle of choice? A 60-year-old 30-30 caliber Savage rifle that has been passed down from Otho’s father to his son and now onto Mears.
She learned to shoot using a .22 rifle, and later moved up to the Savage.
Mears also likes to practice with her Barretta .22 pistol fitted with a laser scope, which she received last year as a Christmas present.
When she’s in the field, Mears enjoys the solitude of her mobile hunting blind. It includes a comfortable chair, a small bookshelf, and netting to keep her hidden from prey.
Her favorite part of the experience? No chatter from her husband.
“I don’t have to put up with any talkin’,” said Mears, “I have my hearing aids in and I can hear birds and the sounds of nature.”
While Mears enjoys the ruggedness of the woods, she believes style still is important.
“If I go huntin’ after I get my hair done, say on a Saturday afternoon, I don’t wear a cap. I sure don’t want to go to church Sunday with my hair all messed up,” she said. “My girlfriends just shake their head when they hear about this.”
She doesn’t dress her kills – Otho and his friends take care of that – but she does love to cook the venison at home.
The USA today piece is a follow up to an article they published last November about the growing trend of female hunters in the US. According to the article, women make up 11 percent of the 13.7 million hunters in the US.
Photo credit: Brice Stump, The Salisbury, Md., Daily Times