Creating Moments of Belonging with Beretta
By Amy Ray
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. We are so glad a few of our guest took the first steps to learn to duck hunt on our annual women’s waterfowl event at Bust-A-Duck Guide Service in Arkansas. Sometimes taking that first step can lead to feelings of fear and not belonging. To help us with our goal of creating moments of belonging we partnered with Beretta USA to provide our guest with top-of-the-line shotguns. Our event featured the Beretta A300 Ultima and the Beretta A400 Xtreme plus shotguns in 12 gauge. Having Beretta support our new women waterfowlers means the world to us. Our programs grow stronger with partners who believe in women hunters.
We were so excited the first day to open the boxes and get the guns ready to shoot. We start all our events with a safety brief and question session. These ladies were eager to get their hands on the guns, so we immediately went to shoot some clays. We had a mix of some experience to zero experience. It’s great to see the light in their eyes and smiles on their faces when they bust that first clay. We took this opportunity to answer questions and to prepare them for what to expect in the duck blinds. We take seriously the safety of our guest, guides, and dogs while hunting. And what a great opportunity to start these new hunters off right with duck blind etiquette and gun safety in the field.
The evening of learning didn’t stop with shooting lessons. We had the pleasure of learning to duck call with three times world champion Lana Van Winkle. We were gifted calls from Echo calls, one of the best in the industry. Thank goodness we had a fully guided hunt because not many of us sounded much like a real duck. We were, however, intrigued, and excited to wake up to our first day afield.
Bust-A-Duck has been our waterfowl partner for 9 years. The guides are so willing to slow down, answer questions and make anyone feel comfortable for their first-time hunting. Having no expectations makes it fun to share what it’s like to go afield in the dark and set up a spread and get hunkered down for the hunt. Each guest had a Beretta to take afield. We were able to separate into smaller groups of three and four to make the learning experience more personal. We believe that personal interaction is what creates the best learning experience.
The first day was tough, there were no new ducks around for late December. But this also became a blessing in disguise. We were able to share more tips and tricks during the slower duck movement. Each group managed to bring in a few ducks. We would be the first to admit we would have more if we could shoot better. The only way to get better is to keep shooting. The Beretta shotguns worked flawlessly and after one day in the blind most of the girls were hooked and asking how to get one for themselves.
Day two became an action-packed goose hunt. As a group the entire lodge set out on a huge spread set by the guides for a goose hunt. More guns, more geese right! Heck yeah, we were all about it. We limited out on specklebelly and snows. The guides were so awesome, when one shot was left for the last limit, they let the youngest shooter take it. We tagged our game and headed in for some afternoon fun exploring the area. Of course, we took our obligatory trip to Mack’s Prairie Wings. You can’t go to Arkansas to duck hunt and not stop in at Mack’s.
For our last morning hunt the fog rolled in so thick that we could hardly see where the guides were taking us. It was a moment of pure dependance on the experts. The sound of snow geese all around and not one we could see. The sounds of geese everywhere had our heads on swivel and our eyes working overtime to try and see them through the fog. The thick fog helped us to be extra sneaky in our efforts to get inside our blinds and set out some decoys. But what it also did was make it hard to spot birds flying into our hole until they breeched the fog and were suddenly on top of us. Limits were reached on both ducks and geese on day three. The pack and ride out was still in low visibility but much less concerning or noticeable in the daylight. As we raced back to the lodge in our side by side, we were high fiving the end of a great experience shared together in the outdoors.
I have been waterfowl hunting with Bust-A-Duck for nine years now. Sisterhood Outdoors has a standing date for an after Christmas holiday hunt. Over the years we have hunted with women from all over the USA. These moments of belonging are not possible without partners like Beretta, who help build our program and help us deliver a great experience. We strive to have partners that believe in progress for women hunters, believe in teaching and safety and have the commitment we share to improve outdoor experiences for women. Everyone belongs in the outdoors, and we thank Beretta USA for help us create this amazing moment of belonging. If you want more information on Beretta Shotguns, we would love to help you choose your next gun. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org