Devout Anti-Hunter Becomes Avid Bowhunter

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

You Can Change Someone's Perception of Hunting

Erica Faulkner poses with her first big buck. I don't think she's an anti-hunter anymore. (Photo courtesy of Erica Faulkner)

If you’ve heard one anti-hunter story, you’ve heard 100. But this one has a little different spin to it. And I think you’ll like it.

Erica Faulkner grew up in New England. Her family was a very extreme anti-hunting family.

“My father loves to watch deer but despises the thought of hunting them,” Faulker said. “So, I grew up with a sour taste for hunting. My mother has a very strong stance against hunting, too.”

Faulker remained an anti-hunter for a long time. Then, her boyfriend, Rodger Willett Jr. (a lifelong hunter) came into her life. He introduced to her what the outdoors was truly about. He showed hunting to her in a good light…the right light.

“I owe everything to [Rodger]. I became educated about it and learned,” Faulker said. “It was strange. Growing up, I was an anti-hunter. I didn’t know any better. I ate meat. I didn’t know where it came from, though.

“I always had this horrible impression of hunters just killing animals,” Faulker said. “I never gave it any [real] thought. When talking to anti-hunters, bring up herd management. Point out how many car accidents happen due to deer and how many suffer from disease and other issues when there is overpopulation.

“My mother has actually eaten deer,” Faulker continued. “She’s an anti-hunter, and she’s eaten deer. I can’t figure it out.”

You have to talk to people. A simple, yet informative conversation (articulated in the right way) will do wonders in changing the mindsets of anti-hunters. You won’t convince everyone, but you can some. Faulker is proof.

All it took was someone showing her what hunting was really about. Now, she is a hunter. And she started hunting last year. Today, Erika lives and hunts in Virginia. And this gal doesn’t get it handed to her, either.

“I’m an advocate for anyone who hunts,” Faulker said. “But I haven’t done any paid hunts. I hunt public land and scout my own deer.

Erica Faulkner poses with another bow kill. (Photo courtesy of Erica Faulkner)“People should talk to anti-hunters,” she explained. “It’s like I’m a whole different person. I can’t describe it. I’ve gone from not being a morning person to loving getting up early. The satisfaction of supplying my own meat is incredible. It has become a way of life for me. It’s all I think about nowadays.”

Faulker has killed several deer since she became a bowhunter. But she recently got her first big buck. Which brings us to her 2015 hunt.

Faulker settled into her stand around 3 p.m. Still a new hunter, Faulker worried whether or not her stand was facing the right direction. Then, around 5:30 p.m., she looked over her shoulder. There it was: The big 8-point stood watching just 20 yards away.

“He started to walk behind a big tree,” she stated. “I grabbed my bow and stood still.”

The buck walked another 10 yards and looked up at Faulker through a small hole in the tree limbs. It took a few more steps—vitals behind a tree once again—and stared at Faulker for several more seconds.

“It felt like hours,” Faulker said. “But it was probably only about 15 seconds.”

The buck took a few more fatal steps and exposed the 10-ring. Faulker took the shot and connected. It ran less than 100 yards.

She waited for her boyfriend to come over. It wasn’t long before he arrived, and they immediately took up the blood trail.

They found Faulker's deer. Another hunter was born.

“Ask [anti-hunters] to look at what they’re eating,” Faulker said. “Open their eyes. Hunting isn’t slaughtering animals. There is so much thought that goes into a hunt. Encourage them to go out with a hunter and experience the entire process. If they don’t want to watch a hunt, have them check cameras, plant food plots, or try some other aspect of the hunt. Get them involved, if they are willing.”

As for Faulker ’s parents now, they aren’t hunters…yet. But she feels they might be starting to come around.

“I’m very lucky,” Faulker said. “They don’t treat me any differently now that I’m a hunter. They know I eat what I kill. I sent my dad a photo of the 8-point I killed. He was actually impressed that I’d shot one that big."

No one loves deer more than deer hunters. Just ask the millions of hunters across the country. We wouldn’t survive without the deer. And the deer wouldn’t survive without us. It’s the money from license sales, ammunition fees, and other hunting-related sales that fund conservation efforts to help the species flourish.

“I am very proud of who I am,” she said. “I am proud of what I do.”

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Editor's Note: This was originally published November 12, 2015.

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