Here's to Some Special Ladies

By M.R. James, Founder/Editor Emeritus

CALIFORNIAN BETTY GULMAN, 73, a longtime friend and one of my favorite female bowhunters, passed away July 6. At the time of her death she was at her second home - the Gulman family cabin in her beloved Colorado mountains - where she'd been checking treestand sites, scouting for fresh deer sign, and anxiously looking forward to yet another successful archery season.

Classy and independent, Betty was a modest but very impressive lady. She constantly inspired those of us fortunate enough to know her. Even after cancer claimed Bob, her husband and favorite hunting companion, the newly widowed bowhunter continued to hunt, seeking big game alone or heading afield with longtime friends. Over the years Betty's youthful and unbridled enthusiasm for her bows, arrows, and bowhunting became downright contagious, infecting everyone she met. No phony, she was "the real deal." Believe me when I say that bowhunting is diminished by Betty's untimely passing.

Although a majority of Bowhunter readers won't recognize Betty's name or fully appreciate her impact on archery, she was someone truly deserving of admiration and respect. But even reciting a litany of her many personal accomplishments - from tourney championships won at the Oranco Bowmen Archery Range to tagging multiple Pope and Young animals to a well deserved induction into the California Bowman Hunter's Hall of fame (not to mention that Betty was the first person to receive CBH's Big Game Club Lifetime Achievement Award) - somehow seems a tribute far too meager to pay to this gracious, giving woman whose long lifetime was spent encouraging children and novice hunters, supporting Pope and Young Club pro-conservation and youth activities, and setting a shining example for all bowhunters she met. Already Betty is sorely missed.

QUITE NATURALLY, bittersweet thoughts of Betty stir memories of other distaff bowhunters I have come to know and befriend over 40-plus years. Each deserves recognition for their allegiance and devotion to archery. Allow me to introduce a handful of special women hunters whom I deeply admireÂ'¦and to tell you why.

At the top of my short list is Illinois bowhunter Carolyn Zanoni (nee Siebrasse), whose 1960-era stories in Roy Hoff's Archery magazine fired my youthful imagination. From reading of the '61 book whitetail she arrowed in her native Illinois to solo cougar and bear hunts in Utah's rugged Book Cliffs - on to the Wyoming deer and pronghorn hunts I later shared with Carolyn and her doting husband George - I have met few women more proficient and passionate about bowhunting. Even today, her hands ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis and unable to hold or shoot a bow, Carolyn still cheerfully encourages her husband and bowhunting friends, finding genuine satisfaction in recalling her past adventures and listening to the shared stories of George and his many friends.

Next come my two favorite Anns - Hoyt and Clark. Probably best known for their domination of competitive archery during the 1950s and 1960s, these two friendly tournament rivals and very close friends continue to share bowhunting camps  — and hunting successes - even in the autumn of their long, productive lives. True living legends and early Archery Hall of Fame inductees, Ann Clark of Ohio and Ann Hoyt of Missouri - whose late husband Earl made countless contributions to the art of modern bow making - are diminutive ladies who cast giant shadows across our sport. I proudly call each a dear friend.

Naturally, I feel a special fondness for two longtime friends and Bowhunter contributors, Peggy Barcak Murray and Brenda Valentine. Their articles and adventures have inspired innumerable women. Neither Tennessee resident needs additional introduction to faithful followers of this publication.

Perhaps the same might be said of the newest addition to the Bowhunter masthead, Judy Kovar of Illinois. But to those few who may not know Judy, I offer this short introduction. Despite being a relative latecomer to bowhunting, the patient hunter with Native American roots has compiled an amazing list of bowhunting accomplishments since being introduced to archery in the 1980s by husband Herm. Judy's since taken half a dozen record book whitetails while stalking or hunting from ground blinds. Add to the trophy mix big black bears, cougar, caribou, turkey, and other assorted game. Perhaps now you can understand why we are pleased to officially welcome Judy to the Bowhunter family. Her published bowhunting adventures, her popular how-to seminars, and her educational programs which introduce school children to wildlife and the role hunters play in maintaining the balance of nature, make "The Indian" a one-woman enterprise totally committed to promoting responsible conservation and bowhunting practices.

There are other dear and special friends, too  — Californian Jan Perry, "The Lady Bowhunter" who took up bowhunting only after the death of her son in order to honor Carlo's memory by continuing his favorite outdoor pastime; Missouri's Kathy Etling, likely the best female outdoor writer alive, a successful big game hunter with both rifle and bow; Carol Ann Mauch of Nebraska, whose giant Quebec/Labrador caribou - taken in '84 - still ranks as the bowhunting world record; outdoor writer Kathy Butt, a talented Tennessee-based bowhunter and wordsmith; and Tammy Koenig of Wisconsin, a former antihunter who now serves the Lord and bowhunting with a passionate personal ministry that touches thousands through her nationwide seminars and television appearances.

Of course, there are many other veteran lady bowhunters who deserve passing mention - women like Carolyn Godfrey, Janet George, Suzy Sherer, Midge Dandridge, Pat Stewart, Judy Grooms, Ruby Custer, Judy Clyncke, Karen Brunner, Kay Lang, Vicki Cianciarulo, Lisa Price, Michele Musacchia, Connie Larson, Charlie White, and Toni Lynde. To each of these ladies - and to all of the lesser-known but equally dedicated women bowhunters - I offer admiration and personal best wishes for continued hunting success. May God bless you, one and all!

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