In 2001, Alaska’s Anna Vorisek met her then-to-be husband, Ken.
“Ken was the first person I’d met who identified himself as a bowhunter,” Vorisek reminisced. “Our first dinner date was spent talking about wildlife and bowhunting. He explained why he chose to bowhunt rather than hunt with a firearm. He felt that I might like archery and urged me to try it. I bought myself a bow, and Ken taught me the fundamentals.”
As Vorisek practiced her shooting, she found that it required meditation-like focus and relaxation. Her proficiency increased, and she started considering a freezer-filler moose hunt.
“Ken took me moose hunting, and I killed an excellent-tasting young moose,” Vorisek said. “The kill, and the field-to-freezer meat preparation, had empowering effects, boosting my confidence and fueling my bowhunting desire.”
Vorisek has since clinched some lofty accomplishments, one being her successful 2010 Dall sheep hunt, which started with “backpacking a 10-day camp up a 15-mile, cold, swift creek and crossing it multiple times,” Vorisek remembered. But rain, snow, sleet and gale-force winds didn’t stop Anna from taking her Dall ram.
“My hardest-earned accomplishment was harvesting all four North American wild-sheep species, commonly known as a FNAWS or Grand Slam,” she said. “Sheep hunting is no easy feat, and doing it with a bow is exceptionally difficult.”
Next, Vorisek became the first woman to complete the North American Super Slam. “Hunting all 29 North American big-game species takes time,” she said. “Doing it with a bow takes even more time due to low success odds.”
Of course, Vorisek passionately shares her bowhunting lifestyle.
“Teaching my granddaughters to use a bow has been the most rewarding accomplishment,” she told. “Whether it be stump shooting or hunting, the girls are being instilled with a love and respect for nature and themselves, and the confidence to be strong women.”
Vorisek shared that “a woman hunting is unique in itself, especially if she’s out there alone.” While more and more women are becoming bowhunters all the time, they still play the role of primary caretaker.
“Then, there’s the physical aspect,” Vorisek added. “A woman’s strength somewhat limits her abilities, especially when packing out meat. Even just packing out a deer is difficult for most women.”
Women sometimes fear being alone and risking their safety. But, “once a woman is on the hunt, she brings a different perspective,” Vorisek said. “From the way she sees beauty in nature to the different thought processes she has when stalking game and taking the shot, it’s just different.”
Vorisek encourages women to “just go for it, take a chance, and challenge yourself. Life is too short to live on wishes and dreams. Hunting offers so many healthful benefits, and there’s nothing better than obtaining your own wild, organic meat.”
To get started, most women seek coaching and instruction. “The hunting community is supportive and always welcoming those who want to learn and participate,” Vorisek advised. “Your state’s wildlife department likely offers educational classes – sometimes women-only classes. That’s a great place to start.”
Read more about Anna’s adventures — in her own words — here.