Sydney Broadaway: Hunter, Role Model, Inspiration!


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.

“One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of… the banding program at @whiteoaks_duckwoods this past February was an awesome experience!” ~ Sydney Broadaway

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.”


Sydney and her hunting partner Tripp waiting for the ducks to appear.

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.

 

Sydney and a young hunter at the WildLifers booth during a hunting show.

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.”

From November 2017, “I would have made my granddaddy proud yesterday. It was a big day for me. I dropped a doe at 172 yards, dragged her 100 yards to my truck, proceeded to field dress her, loaded her up, and skinned her at the processor. This was my first time doing everything alone, and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it felt.

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.” 

“Sydney is a kind, good hearted individual. She is a stunning lady thats got brains and a hard work ethic,” host of WildLifers Stephanie Braman said. “I am proud to know her and have her working on our team. She makes me a better person.”

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.”

Sydney showing her friend Jenna Taylor “all the turkeys I didn’t harvest this season. It’s healthy to laugh at yourself. I still haven’t harvested my first turkey, but guess what? I’ll be back at it next season.”

 

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 .


 

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Women Hit the Woods: Inspire a New Generation of Hunters


By Jeff Nichols

There is a whole new generation of hunters coming up and I am very proud and impressed by their ethics and skills. To top it off, I am very happy to see a very large number of women and girls who are starting to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. Eva Shockey, Kendall Jones, Taylor Altom, and Stephanie Ray just to name a few, are some of those women who are showing the world that there is nothing wrong with hunting ethically and harvesting game for food. You see the photos, read the articles, but there is more to hunting than pulling the trigger. That is just the beginning, after the animal goes down, then the work starts, field dressing, dragging, skinning and processing. But they all do it with excitement and a smile on their faces. Those smiles and those actions have caught the attention of a lot of young girls who see what these great role models are doing and are beginning to follow in their footsteps.

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Stephanie Ray hunting with her grandfather’s Winchester model 12 shotgun.

Stephanie Ray, from southern Michigan is one of the women above that has taken to the outdoors to enjoy nature and engage in ethical hunting.

What got her into hunting is the question most people will ask, and for Stephanie and just about every other hunter, the answer is usually the same. “I hunt because I love the outdoors, the sport, and the challenge. I have a sense of pride that I can provide meat for myself and my family,” Stephanie says. “Being in the woods also gives me time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature while spending quality time with friends who enjoy the same things I do.”

After growing up in the city Stephanie decided to move to the country eight years ago, and it was seven years ago, she decided to see what hunting was about. “I went and sat in a blind with the guy I was dating at the time on a bow hunt,” she recalls. “He shot a nice buck, and me, always up for a challenge, wanted to try it too. So I bought a bow and the deal was if I practiced, and was consistent, I could go.”

Like so many other hunters, with practice and the right equipment, she set out to become proficient and comfortable with her bow.

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Stephanie practicing during the off-season.

“Within a week, I was consistent. My first time out, I shot the first deer I saw, and watched it fall,” she says. “Although I was able to tune out, ‘shoot her, shoot her’ and focus, we walked up on a button buck. I was still so happy, and honestly wasn’t sure if this was a bad thing – I grew up in the city. This was all new to me.”

 

Although women have been hunting since the beginning of the human race, it wasn’t until a few years ago when they began featuring women hunters on prominent hunting shows and in outdoor magazines. Now with a new group of young women hunting, the sport has gotten a whole new generation interested in the outdoors.

Like many others, Stephanie loved being in the outdoors and after harvesting her first deer with a bow, she decided to try gun hunting. “After I shot my first deer I was pretty hooked, she said. “Gun season rolled around here in Michigan and I figured I better get a gun.” So she bought a Remington 870 20 gauge shotgun and shot two does that season.

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Stephanie’s first buck.

The following season she shot a nice eight point during gun season, and many people told her that she would never take another buck that large. “I’m honestly glad that was my first buck,” Stephanie stated. ” He humbled me. Set my standards and the bar high. I’ve let dozens of smaller bucks walk, and I’m OK with it.”

Over the past few years, hunting has become a passion for Stephanie. She hunts small game, waterfowl, turkey, and  fishes. “I’m very lucky to have a great support system, my friends and boyfriend that offer their wisdom and experiences, share their passion, and share the fun.”

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Stephanie’s grandparents circa 1940s.

One thing that Stephanie holds close to her heart is the Winchester model 12 shotgun her late grandfather left to her father. Her grandparents hunted small game growing up and now she uses it to hunt squirrels and geese.  “It’s awesome to hunt with! I shot my first squirrels and geese with it this year,” she said. “The first time I took it out I had tears in my eyes.”

With the legacy she found from her past, Stephanie is definitely making the most out of her time in the field and sharing stories and experiences with others. This is what role models do and for years to come, women like Stephanie will not only be helping with conservation of wildlife, but teaching young men and women how to enjoy the outdoors.

 

 

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