Artemis Profile: Monica Steidele
We are at a crossroads in the history of American conservation. In order to continue to tell stories that resonate with people across the country, we must incorporate more stories. Artemis Sportswomen is committed to honoring and uplifting a diversity of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and political affiliation. What we all have in common is a connection to the natural world through hunting and fishing and a deep commitment to advocating for wildlife and wild places.
This month, we profile Monica Steidele from Santa Fe, NM
Monica: I was born in Olean, NY and grew up in Miami, FL. I received a BA in economics, with minors in mathematics and computer science, from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. I also have a MBA in finance, accounting and public management from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. My career spanned various areas of finance, culminating in managing a personal trust company in Jackson, WY for the last 13 years of my career. I have been retired in Santa Fe, NM for the past 6 years and now have more time to enjoy outside activities year round!
Artemis: Tell us the story of how you started hunting/fishing?
Monica: I had been interested in guns and shooting from the time my father took me to a shooting range when I was 16 years old. I found that I really enjoyed shooting and viewed guns as a tool and not necessarily as a weapon. In college I took a gun course taught by Naval ROTC and learned to shoot long guns as well as hand guns. Again I found that I enjoyed shooting but didn’t know anyone else who was interested in guns. It wasn’t until the early 90s that I met someone who offered to take me with him on his deer hunt in Wisconsin. I was only an observer at the time. I knew that I wanted to try the sport since I really enjoyed target shooting but it wasn’t until I moved to Jackson, Wyoming in 1994 that I got the opportunity to actually go on a hunt and be a participant. In Wyoming guns are a way of life and I found a couple of people who would take me on hunts. My first animal was a buck in 1996. I will never forget that day!
Artemis: What ignited the spark to activate you as a conservationist?
Monica: From the time I was a young girl, as a Girl Scout, I have always been aware of my environment and the need to protect wildlife and natural resources. I don’t know where this awareness came from because there is nothing that my family instilled in me about conservation. After college, in the early 70s, I became supportive of a number of conservation organizations and continue that support today.
As for me, the more I hunted, the more spiritual I became about the experience.
Artemis: What surprised the most about being a hunter/angler/conservationist?
Monica: I was surprised by careless hunters, whether it was not bothering to sight in their rifles before hunting or not being aware of other hunters in the area. As for me, the more I hunted, the more spiritual I became about the experience. This picture was taken ~2002 while I was waiting for the sun to rise so I could begin my elk hunt ~20 miles north of Jackson, WY. I always carried a camera with me so that I would be ready if there was a good “shot” of wildlife, etc. In this case it was the sun rising and shining on the Tetons. Didn’t get an elk that morning but I did get the “shot”!
Artemis: Do you have a favorite book or podcast about hunting/fishing/conservation that you would recommend?
Monica: “Beyond Fair Chase – The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting” by Jim Posewitz.
Artemis: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out as a sportswoman conservationist, what would it be?
Monica: Do what feels right for you. Hunting/fishing is not for everyone — conservationists come in all “flavors”, enjoying different aspects of their sport
I believe that it is important for me to “earn” taking an animal.
Artemis: What else should people know about you?
Monica: My own philosophy about hunting is to take only what I will eat and to make use of as much of the animal as possible (I eat the liver and would give the heart to a friend). I have no interest in “trophy” animals. I only shoot large game as one animal can provide many healthy meals. I believe that it is important for me to “earn” taking an animal. Hunting pronghorn antelope, especially, gives me great satisfaction in that there is a “sneak” to avoid detection by the animal as they are keenly aware of movement at great distances. After I have taken the animal, I’m able to field dress it and, with a lot of effort, get it into my truck and take it to the processor. The whole experience gives me a strong sense of being a part of the natural world.