By Jeff Nichols, Nichols Outdoors.
As a little girl, the sound of her grandfather pulling up in his pickup truck was the sound of a successful hunt and food for her family. The excitement of rushing out the door to see what “Hooty” (Truman Ingram, her grandfather) had harvested was a memory and an inspiration that has fueled Sydney Broadaway’s love for hunting and a career in the outdoor industry.
Her first hunt consisted on her grandfather bringing a coloring book, so she would not get bored and stay quiet. “Whenever a deer would walk into the green patch, he’d let me sit on his knee and try to look through the scope,” Sydney recalls. “I never shot one with him, but I went several times and enjoyed those years.”
What Sydney didn’t understand, was that things her grandfather did when she was little was training for her hunting adventures now. As with many lessons learned, young children will mimic those they look up to, not understanding why they are doing the things they do. “One thing that sticks with me to this day is rubbing pine needles on my clothes. I watched my granddaddy do that for years, and I really didn’t know what that meant,” she said. “I just knew that I should do that, too, so I would always grab a limb walking to the stand and rub it on my clothes – just so I could be like him. I didn’t know anything about scent control back then. I was just trying to be like him!”
Sydney shot her first deer when she was 18, a “late bloomer” as she recalls. “I know. I had gone countless times with my granddaddy as a child and during my teenage years, but I never really had the urge to pull the trigger,” she said. “But finally, I decided to pull the trigger, and it was the craziest experience. It felt like slow motion, and I will never forget that moment.”
Her hunt of choice is waterfowl hunting, but she hunts deer, turkeys, ducks, doves, pheasants, geese,
predators, and will be getting into big game, in the future. Waking up early in the middle of winter, putting on layers of clothes, taking a freezing ride in the boat before daylight, waiting impatiently for legal shooting hours shows how much dedication and love for the sport she has. “I feel like I could paint a better picture of waterfowl hunting than try to describe it, but there’s nothing like it, and the camaraderie of the hunt is my favorite, indeed” she explains.
Now Sydney, who lives in a small town in central Alabama, works for “The Way It Was “and “WildLifers TV.” She works tirelessly wildlife conservation and being a role model for young boys, girls and women who are interested in hunting and fishing. She travels around the country to hunting trade shows and shares hunting stories, tips and friendships with hundreds of other hunters.
With the wave of social media in the past few years, women hunters are sharing much of the spotlight in both a positive way and being attacked in a very negative way. A woman posts a photo of game that she has harvested, and she is attacked relentlessly by “anti-hunters” and others who do not understand conservation and the contributions that hunters make to help wildlife. The sad part of this is, that some other hunters are getting in on the bullying. But Sydney takes it all in stride and is now speaking out on this type of “internet warrior” behavior.
“Right now, I’m currently working on a blog that addresses these very issues, specifically the attack on female hunters from other hunters,” she states. “It’s incredibly disheartening to be stereotyped into a category of “fake Instagram huntress,” which is what I’m called quite frequently.” Many people just do not believe that someone who is beautiful and smart, just can’t be a serious hunter.
“For years, I’ve tried to take the high road, not interact with those that stooped to such levels, but recently, I’ve had somewhat of a fire lit in my heart,” she shoots back. “Recently, I’ve had countless women reach out to me expressing their fears of posting harvests on social media because they don’t want to get made fun of by other hunters.”
Currently, with so many uneducated anti-hunters in the world, the one thing we can’t allow to happen is hunters bullying other hunters! We are all here for the same reason, conservation, enjoying nature and feeding our families.
As a role mode, many women have reached out to Sydney. “I’ve also had some scared to buy a duck call because their spouse or significant other told them they didn’t have any place calling.” She said. “Unfortunately, I’ve also had females explain that they would love to document their outdoor adventures, but they didn’t want to get made fun of like I did. That’s a hard pill to swallow.”
She continues, “I wonder if hunters would bite their tongue more often if they knew they were aiding in perhaps the decline of female hunters. I’ve yet to understand why hunters are mean to hunters. It’s like High School 2.0. Cyber bullying is certainly prevalent in the hunting industry, and it’s very unfortunate.”
More than ever, in 2018, women are becoming hunters and working in the hunting industry. Sydney sees a trend that is only getting stronger.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that the hunting industry is predominately male, but I am very happy to see females beginning to take on roles within well-known companies and conservation organizations.” She continues, “One woman that sticks out for me is Stephanie Braman; she is truly an incredible role model, and luckily, I get to work alongside her. She is the host for WildLifers which airs on the Sportsman Channel, and she is one of a kind, indeed. I’ve learned so much from her, and I’m grateful to consider her a friend.” With Sydney being an inspiration and along with the growth of female hunters, more and more young ladies want to be just like her. She advises, “I always tell them if their passion is genuine, then I fully believe they should reach for the stars and put forth the effort to reach those dreams.” She said, “Being passionate about something makes the quest to success that much easier. Even during times of failure, you can still find the silver lining if you love something enough.”
Along with reaching for the stars, one of the most important pieces of advice that Sydney would pass along is, don’t forget to ask questions! “No one is born an expert. It’s important to ask questions, understand the safety of firearms,” she states. “and, be cognizant of the laws and regulations in the areas you’re hunting. I know that isn’t super inspiring, but I think it’s incredibly important.”
With Sydney and others like her, hunting, fishing and outdoor adventures will be here for all to share. Just like Hooty, Sydney inspires and educates those who look up to her and this is just what the hunting world needs!
You can follow Sydney on Instagram (click the logo below) and see her adventures on WildLifers Tv .