Indiana woman recalls hunting for wild boar
By Jessica Reagor
Backpacking mama: Jessica Reagor carries her young son on her back while out on the hunting trail going after deer. | Supplied photo
What is the definition of passion? It is something that you have a strong feeling about, something you love or desire.
Hunting is my passion. That sounds odd to most, that a female might feel that strong about the outdoors. I was brought up in a family of outdoorsmen. Being the oldest girl in the family on my dad’s side, hanging out with my uncles seemed to be normal for us. If my father, grandfather and uncles went to the woods, so did I. Since I was an infant, my parents would faithfully go to the shooting range at Kingsbury Fish & Wildlife Area in LaPorte and bring my sisters and me. So growing up around boys and guns is all I have ever known.
Worth the wait
Today, my husband, Ryan, and I share the same love for the outdoors. We scout, hang tree stands, and hunt together. Hunting comes with a rush called “buck fever.” If you have ever experienced that feeling of “buck fever,” you understand it is something that a true hunter never forgets.
I remember being up in that tree stand during my first whitetail hunt and hearing the sounds of the crackling sticks and leaves, and the feeling that the ground was actually moving. My heart was pounding so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. What seemed like an eternity to me was worth it when I saw that buck walk over that ridge. There’s a sense of pride having that mount hanging on the wall — but a better feeling was filling the freezer with meat.
Going hog wild
In 2009, we adopted a special needs child. As any mother would know, your life is completely changed and so are your priorities when a child comes along. I gave up hunting for the first two years of our son, Drew’s, life until the summer of 2011, when I was granted an opportunity of a lifetime. I was given the chance from the Union Sportsmen Alliance to go on a hog hunt in California. The show was called Brotherhood Outdoors and it aired on The Outdoor Channel. It represented the unions, (I am a member of Iron Workers Local 395) and the love for the outdoors. This was an amazing trip, and I came home with a sow and a boar under my belt.
Being a mother, wife, and a full-time employee, it is fair to say that I don’t get to enjoy my passion of hunting as much as I used to. There are many women who sit at home for weeks during the hunting seasons. Their husbands wake up and go to sleep thinking about hunting. These couples need to try enjoying the outdoors together. There is no reason to leave the wives or children behind. Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers so many courses, like “hunters safety classes,” that can help get the family started.
Start by teaching a child respect for the outdoors, guns, and safety. It’s more than getting in a tree and shooting whatever walks in front of you. There’s an amazing bond that hunters share. My husband has become my best friend with the help of the outdoors. We put our son in a hiking backpack and as a family we hang the tree stands and searching for antler sheds. Please, I encourage you to get the whole family involved — make memories with your family that will last generations.
Jessica Reagor, of Chesterton, is a lifelong hunter and was on the pro staff at Bass Pro Shops in Portage until landing her job with the Iron Workers Local 395. She has also appeared on the TV show “Brotherhood Outdoors.”