Whether you are a seasoned huntress or a novice, NRA’s Women on Target (WOT) hunting excursions are designed to open the door to hunting for all women. The program enables women to share camaraderie with individuals who seek the same—new friendships, skill development and an exciting hunt. Excursions offer something for everyone, matched with affordability and beautiful, diverse locations.
For the past 10 years, Oak Creek Sporting Club has offered WOT hunts. Located in Brainard, Neb., Oak Creek is a 1,500-acre, family-owned and operated hunting and shooting facility, with a sporting clay range, a 3-D archery range, a hunting preserve and a dog training service. Aptly named for its majestic oak-lined creek bottoms, the breathtaking prairie brings any visitor a sense of peace and calm.
Oak Creek goes above and beyond what is expected in an outfitter. The Kriz family puts in the extra effort to make sure their hunters have a wonderful time, and they make you feel like family. This is in part why NRA Women’s Programs awarded the club with its first Outstanding Outfitter Award in October 2010.
“This past year when I was flipping through outfitter proposals, I noticed that the Kriz family had something quite unique that set them apart from other outfitters, and that is consistency,” said Ann Marie Foster, NRA Women’s Hunting Programs Coordinator. “Consistency in their level of professionalism, consistency in maintaining a cost-effective hunt and consistency in all of the great comments we received from attendees about this hunt.” Oak Creek’s most recent WOT pheasant hunting excursion took place Oct. 22-24, 2010. The 16 participants—all of whom bagged birds—included women who have attended WOT hunts at Oak Creek before, while others took part for their first time.
Beth Hauptman, from Wheatley Heights, N.Y., hunted at Oak Creek in 2009. “As soon as I saw Oak Creek on the schedule for 2010, I knew I had to come back,” Hauptman said. “On Long Island it can be difficult to find other women who hunt,” she said. But at Oak Creek she enjoys the company of other women who understand and share her passion for the outdoors.
Tracie Petty of Guthrie, Okla., was joined on the excursion by her mother-in-law, Chris Petty. Both ladies participated in the WOT pheasant hunt at Oak Creek four years ago as a way to get to know one another. “We had a great time the last time we were here and couldn’t wait to come back,” said Petty. Along with their friends, Dorathy Butler and Kim Cryer, the women harvested 17 birds total, including 12 pheasants and five chukars.
Experiencing her first hunt at Oak Creek, Peggy Ruzicka—a Nebraska native who now lives in Phoenix, Ariz.—viewed this hunt as an opportunity to try hunting again after years away from the sport. “I saw they were having a pheasant hunt in Nebraska, and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun,” she said. “My husband and I moved to California 22 years ago, and I haven’t had much of a chance to hunt since then.”
Most of the hunters walked away with a feeling of success—on the final day, many had even doubled their totals from the previous day. As the women said their goodbyes, a group photo was taken showcasing quite an impressive haul.
Women who choose to make their first hunting experience a WOT event may not achieve instant success because of their lack of experience, but the encouraging setting and their persistence usually pay off. This is just the type of encouragement and opportunity that make WOT so important to women new to hunting.
Since 1999, WOT hunting excursions have brought women together who share a passion for the great outdoors. The hunts offer a welcoming environment to help participants learn the skills necessary to be successful hunters. Outfitters are carefully screened to ensure a supportive, friendly environment. Hunting excursions have taken travelers across the United States and as far away as Africa. Whether you are looking for that elusive turkey or the heart-pumping thrill of setting your sights on a brown bear in the wilds of Alaska, WOT hunting excursions have a hunt to suit you!
To view the schedule of 2011 WOT hunting excursions, visit www.nrahq.org/women/hunting/excursions.asp. There will be two hunting excursions specifically designed for the first-time huntress. K&K Outfitters, in southeast Kansas, will host an Eastern turkey hunt April 21-25 and Oak Creek Sporting Club will host a pheasant and chukar hunt Nov. 4-6.
In addition to hunting programs, NRA offers instructional shooting clinics and postal matches. For more information on these and other WOT programs, visit www.nrahq.org/women. For more information about the Oak Creek Sporting Club, visit www.oak-creek-club.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) OAK-HUNT (625-4868).
Mother- and daughter-in-law Chris and Tracie Petty, and friends Dorathy Butler and Kim Cryer (pictured above, left to right) harvested 17 birds at Oak Creek’s 2010 WOT hunting excursion. Photo by Justin McDaniel.