Indiana hunter Cindy Stites found her way into the field after exiting an abusive marriage. With every hunt, she slowly saw the return of her old self — someone who’s confident, happy, and adventurous. The more she got into hunting, the more she adopted a new attitude to opportunities that came her way: “Start saying yes.” She said ‘yes’ to becoming a hunter ed instructor, ‘yes’ to mentoring youth in the field, ‘yes’ to getting involved with conservation groups. This tactic opened up a number of new doors, and Cindy realized it was the healthy human relationships she formed through hunting that were bringing her happiness.

  • 6:00 Froggin’ in Alabama-speak is “giggin'”… and there’s a special frog-sized pitchfork for this activity
  • 10:00 A youth bow for small-framed ladies (Cindy is 5″3′) is the Bear Apprentice 2
  • 11:00 A thought that’s crossed every adult-onset hunter’s mindspace: “What if I’d been doing this for the past 15 years?”
  • 12:00 An ill-fated rabbit hunt with a child: The rabbit started screaming, then the child started screaming, and the parent wonders if maybe just maybe hunting alone is better for everyone.
  • 12:30 Cindy’s piece on becoming an engaged conservationist Step up and Volunteer for Conservation. (which was preceded by an incredible moment: April Vokey says, “What’s your dream job, Cindy?”)
  • 15:00 “Start saying yes” — it can totally change your life. For Cindy, it started with someone asking if she wanted to volunteer teaching archery to 4-H kids. Then someone asked if she wanted to teach hunter’s ed. “Yes” can lead you a lot of places!
  • 16:00 ‘Yes’ leads to organizations like BHA, Pheasants Forever, National Turkey Federation… a bonafide snowball scenario
  • 17:00 The learning curve of being a well-informed conservationist? It’s a lingo’d journey. Research, research, research. And if you’re a storyteller? Break it down for others.
  • 18:30 Cindy’s piece on caribou conservation – coming soon!
  • 24:00 Your “in” to spreading the conservation love… it may be getting someone outside, sparking their interest… OR, it might be that moment when someone says “What’s a pebble mine?” and you’re totally ready for that one
  • 27:00 Getting into something new — hunting/fishing/anything — at a rocky/transitional time in your life can be totally transformative. 
  • 30:00 Hunting as an adult: A series of failures until things slowly start to click, your confidence goes up, and it gets to be FUN.
  • 40:00 Meaningful hunting experiences with family = highlights of life. Relationships are at the center of everything
  • 48:00 The squirrel “sploot”… you can’t go wrong Googling this for 10 minutes or more
  • 49:00 That moment when you have food poisoning, even though you didn’t eat out, and you realize YOU gave YOU food poisoning… #cheffail