Women in hunting: Carbon and Emery women who break the mold
|Shawnee Barnes shares in her father's hunting rewards. She participated in the family hunt from a very young age.|
Since she was three or four years old, Shawnee Barnes participated in the family hunt.
It was a time of year when aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins all came together.
But, even though a lot of the women stayed behind, Barnes always wanted to go.
She was the only girl in the group.
As part of family tradition, no children could participate in the hunt on the opening morning of the season.
So, when Barnes was finally old enough to go on the first day, she considered it a major rite of passage.
"You knew you had arrived when you finally got to go opening morning," she remembered.
Barnes said the hunt was not just about shooting deer. She said she learned values on the hunts, like senority, and respect for the rules against poaching and shooting from the truck.
The hunt was also where family history was passed on and stories were told.
Her family is truly a part of the area, with several landmarks bearing family names. James Canyon is named after her great-grandfather and Boarding House Canyon is named after her Icelandic great-grandmother, who ran the boarding house.
Honeymoon Ridge is named after her parents, who married on the eve of hunting season and spent their honeymoon out in the area camping and hunting with friends.
Barnes said being a woman on the hunt was somewhat different than being one of the guys.
She knew that the language changed and that she didn't get teased as much as the boys.
However, the standards didn't change just because of her gender.
"I had to pull my load," she stated. "I didn't get to be a slacker just because I was a girl."
Barnes remembers that shooting her first deer was an emotional experience. She said she couldn't pull the trigger for a long time. She would make excuses that she couldn't see the animal or find ways to avoid it.
When she finally shot an animal for the first time, she cried.
Barnes encourages other women who hunt to enjoy it as an emotional experience which allows the beauty of nature to be fully explored.
She has passed on hunting to her own daughter, as well.
But for Barnes, hunting is not just about capturing a trophy.
"I could have a really successful hunt and not even pull the trigger," she noted.
Barnes currently lives in Castle Dale and works in Price.