Hunting isn't just for the boys anymore. Just ask Mark Drury, whose daughter is taking down game with the best of them.
Mark Drury is well known in the hunting world for his numerous shows on the Outdoor Channel, as well as his line of turkey and deer hunting videos from Drury Outdoors. You may have even used one of the various calls he has helped develop for M.A.D.'s game call line.
I recently got to speak with Mark about getting his daughter, Taylor Drury, into hunting. Taylor is Mark's only child, and has been around hunting since before she could walk. Now she is a sponsored hunter right alongside her father and uncles.
How old was Taylor when she first took an interest in hunting?
Mark Drury: "I have pictures of Taylor as an infant at camp. The first time I remember her truly engaging to where she was like, 'Wow,' she was like two or three. I had taken her out on Easter morning and we went out by my folks place. There was a turkey gobbling on his own out in the timber. I was just taking her for a ride at the time, but I gave her one of my push button calls. She sat there and made that turkey gobble so many times. He eventually started coming towards us before we got out of there. She just thought that was the neatest thing."
When did you first take her hunting with you?
"The first time she probably remembers, if at all, she was six. Terry and I took her into a treestand with us for a full hunt."
How did she do?
"She did well. She sat in my lap and when we saw deer she sat still. She understood what I was saying, and has just been around deer her whole life because that is all we do."
When did she take her first deer?
"She was eight when she killed her first deer. It was a doe I believe at John William's place. The following year she killed a 120-inch, three year old buck."
That's good for your first buck.
"You bet, yeah. Since then she has killed some giants with me."
Why do you think it's just as important to take your daughters hunting as well as your boys?
"Well I don't view it as important, I view it as your duty. Taylor was our only child, but she was going to go hunting with me, plain and simple. I don't have any boys so I can't say I wouldn't hunt with them more if I did. Maybe it's the masculine-type deal of getting dirty and bloody, but Taylor doesn't mind. She will go hunting regardless of condition and time. I don't have to twist her arm to get her out there. Her mother says she spoils her with normal things and I spoil her with hunting."
What do you think is the best way to get your daughter into hunting?
"I think the reason Taylor is so into hunting now is because I introduced her early and often. My recommendation, whether it's a young boy or girl, is to get them out there often. It doesn't just have to be just about the hunting process either. Taylor loves the shooting sports as much as the hunting. She loves to shoot guns and her bow. We did more of things like that before we did anything."
Do you have any tips on getting kids to stay interested while learning to shoot guns or bows?
"Well, with a gun or bow there is an immediate gratification there if they hit a target. I probably blew up hundreds, if not thousands of balloons for her to pop while she was learning to shoot her bow. We were shooting at fifteen yards and I started with larger balloons before slowing working down. It took her groups from plate-size to tennis ball in quick order. She remains a very good shot to this day and will do anything to hit the target. I really feel it has to do with shooting all those balloons back in the day."
I'm going have to try that with my girls. I bet you're good to have around for birthday parties now, huh?
"Oh yeah. Just watch though, it's like an arcade game. It will put a smile on their face from ear to ear."
Why do you think there has been such an explosion for companies to appeal to women hunters in recent years?
"I think if you look back over what has happened in our industry in the last ten years, you can probably point at a few ladies who have led the way. Tiffany Lakosky being at they top of that list with Brenda Valentine. They have just been very high profile and successful. A lot of young ladies are watching them, including Taylor. She has just a strong a following as me and Terry do anymore, especially with the younger group. A lot also has to do with television and the amount of exposure they are getting now."
After hearing that, how can you not get your daughter and show her some videos of Mark and Taylor's hunts together on Drury Outdoors? It will give you both the motivation to get out there to take some game down together, as well as make some memories that will last a lifetime.
Girls might forget about their childhood dolls, but never their first deer.