What I recall most admirably about Susie was her eagerness to contribute. She did her part on deer drives, and held her own when it came to dragging deer out of steep hardwood gullies where we hunted. When meat was hanging on the pole, her knife was one of the first to exit the sheath.
She was a real deer hunter.
Since moving to Mississippi, I have come into contact with a number of excellent lady deer hunters. In the past decade or so the number of females joining the ranks of deer hunters has been on the rise.
I noticed it first in my hunter safety education courses. They were interested and attentive - much more so than the guys attending the classes.
It's a fact that girls like to hunt, too, and they make great hunters.
For several years now I have corresponded with or talked to several lady deer hunters who have greatly impressed me. I thought it would be of interest to readers here, regardless of your sex or age, to find out what makes these deer hunters tick - from a lady's point of view.
Kathy Price - a multi-talented deer hunter
Kathy is an Advancement Specialist for Hinds Community College in Raymond. She is a petite lady, but no one should ever let that fool them.
She is big-time into personal fitness, and teaches classes at the college fitness center. She is an accomplished deer hunter able to hunt with equal success with a modern rifle, muzzleloader or bow.
"I can share three tips with other lady hunters that I have learned in the field," Price said. "First is to always watch the wind. This is vitally important if you even want to see a deer. You need to make sure the wind is blowing your scent away from the direction you know deer are approaching from.
"Next, if you are just a gun hunter, then try a primitive weapon. Bow hunting is a lot of fun, and to say you got a deer with your bow trumps a gun kill any day.
"Lastly, encourage male hunters to think of you when they set up stands. Sometimes what may be an easy stand for them to climb into may be a little bit more difficult for a woman with shorter legs. Also, what they consider a clear shot from a tree may require a few more branches to be trimmed for a female to be able to see.
"My favorite deer story is about a buck I took while my husband Anthony was in Illinois hunting. I figured, what the heck, I can go sit in my deer stand just to see what turns up. I packed up my muzzleloader and climbed into my stand. It was 75 degrees that day. I figured I'd never see a deer in that wind, until this buck stepped out.
"I had to make a split-second decision on my own, and I made the shot. I called a couple of our friends to help me wrestle the buck out of the woods. Funny part was that Anthony had to come home early due to bad weather in Illinois.
"So girls, never have a fear about venturing out to hunt on your own."
Angelia Boykin - seasoned deer hunter
This Laurel lady is one of the most-successful lady deer hunters I know.
She scores with both rifle and bow. She hunts tough terrains, including deep oak bottoms and steep drop-off ravines. She also likes to post hunting stands along old sloughs and along the edges of wet swamps where she has scouted active deer sign.
"I'm a single mom, so I hunt on my own most of the time," Angelia explained. "I think the secret to my success on bucks goes back to early season scouting. I try to pattern deer in terms of eating and traveling routines.
"It is critical that aspiring lady hunters know their firearm well and shoot it themselves. Never just take a rifle some guy hands you. Learn to shoot it well.
"Be careful with proper stand placement, keeping the sun out of your eyes. Always play the wind."
Amanda Coutch - Daddy's little girl to mature deer hunter
Amanda is a dental hygienist by profession, but a well-grounded deer hunter by choice.
"I learned how to deer hunt as a little girl by going with my dad," she said. "We missed a lot of Thanksgiving dinners, but the deer hunting was a lot more fun.
"I can always remember the stories my father told about 'the one that got away,' and one day I wanted to tell my own tall tales.
"As my love of the great outdoors grew, I began to appreciate all of God's creations. At any given moment a bobcat could sneak through a thicket, or an owl may light in the tree beside you. I learned to hunt slow, hunt quiet and shoot my rifle well.
"Later my husband Phillip taught me how to read whitetail sign like rubs, scrapes and trails. As we check trail cameras, I would get to pick out a certain buck I would hope to harvest. This has taught me patience, as well as heightening the excitement when my buck finally appears. Then I have my own story to tell."
Lady hunters can add spice to any deer camp. Female hunters have more patience, are quieter, often are better shots and do their part to help out.
Sure can't say that about all the men hunters I know.