“DONNA’S IN WITH A SHOT”    by Christie Pisani

“These lamingtons are dewishess!” I proclaim to Sharna and Bec as I hastily scoff another of the coconut coated cakes. I am assisting Sharna Dyson and Bec Hawkins at the Bullet&Bits /Hunt Like a Girl booth at the Sydney SHOT show, selling women’s hunting apparel, and chatting to the steady stream of huntresses perusing the display of garments. Probably just as many men stop for a yarn as they spy the Mossy Oak lingerie adorning one wall of the booth; yakking about their recent hunting adventures while they cast a sneaky sideways glance at the lingerie, desperately trying to determine their wife’s bra cup size from the display items.

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I realise I have over committed (to the lamington) when a young woman named Donna Partridge arrives at the booth to chat to me, and I am physically unable to greet her as I am pre-occupied with a mouthful of lamington and desiccated coconut pieces scattered down my front. Donna does not batt an eyelid, after all, she is a hunter, a wife, and, a Mum!

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For Donna, the three go hand in hand. Despite what anti-hunting activists want the world to believe, hunting is a family-friendly sport. There is no better way to nurture our children’s love for the natural world and all its creatures than by encouraging them to immerse themselves in the outdoors. As Donna explains to me “I feel there is a great importance in teaching our next generation about respecting our natural environment and to be able to enjoy the beauty of our great outdoors. I thrive to do my best and look forward to teaching our little girl’s the skills on how to survive in the bush as we guide and watch them grow into a strong huntress like their own Mum”.

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Donna was born and bred in Gloucester NSW. Growing up with a farming background, Donna was exposed to hunting from an early age. Donna’s husband Matt is very passionate about hunting and his drive encouraged her to get more involved. They started travelling and hunting together, spending their honeymoon in Africa on a week-long hunting safari. Together they have harvested a wide array of different species, and Donna recently took up bow hunting,

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Last year I was fortunate enough to be the first Australian to progress to the grand final of the Extreme Huntress contest, where I travelled to Texas USA, competing in hunting and skills challenges, and forming strong and lasting friendships with my fellow competitors from USA, South Africa, British Colombia and Sweden. I learnt a great deal about hunting in other countries, and that Australia is certainly the ‘lucky country’ in terms of ease of access to hunting and having a healthy outdoor culture, especially in regional areas. The Extreme Huntress contest is dedicated to giving women all over the world a platform to promote hunting and the outdoors, encouraging other women to hunt and thus preserving the sport for the next generation.

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The grand final is filmed and viewed worldwide. Although acting the Aussie larrikin, I mustn’t have played up too much, as this year they let Australia back for another shot, with Donna being selected as a finalists in the top 20. From here, Donna needs the support of all of Australia to get her in the top 6, for the opportunity to represent us on the global stage in the Grand Final hunt in the USA. You can help Donna by visiting http://www.extremehuntress.com/vote/ and casting your vote.

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“I am a young woman that is passionate and driven to promote a lifestyle that is enjoyable for my young family. I believe I have what it takes as Extreme Huntress… a respect and drive to sustain our natural environment and recreational and conservation. I look forward to the challenge…”

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