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Save the Lifestyle

Save the Lifestyle

Sarah Heidmann Brune

I grew up loving the outdoors. Anything from playing in the woods, fishing in my grandfather's lake, catching crawdads in the creek and playing sports—I took every opportunity to get outside. I was my older brother's shadow and wanted to do everything he did. I even wanted to and did dress like him. I was what you might refer to as a tomboy, and I'm proud my parents allowed us to experience life with dirt under our fingernails.

My father was in the service, and when he got out, he spent his time restoring old cars and playing sports with us. Back then, the only exposure we had to the sport of hunting was through my uncles or when they periodically got my father in the woods with them. We were blessed to share in their harvests each year. I always enjoyed when the links of deer sausage arrived and devouring them as quickly as our parents would allow.

When I started ALPS in 2006, I became more and more intrigued by the hunting lifestyle. I began shooting and wondered if my animal lover ways would ever be able to pull the trigger. My brother had begun deer hunting here in Missouri with my uncles each year, and as I gained more knowledge of conservation and wildlife management it became clear hunting was something I wanted to try. My friend, Jason, took me on my first turkey hunt, and though we didn't get a bird down that year it was the coolest experience. I enjoyed walking in the woods, hearing nature and absorbing all the knowledge he'd learned from his father and grandfather. I had the privilege of being mentored by not only Jason, but by his father and grandfather.

Jason taught me so much, but he wasn't the only mentor offering to help me learn the sport. My brother, Nathan, and many others have seen my desire to learn and are always willing to take me under their wings. I've been like a sponge, ready to soak-in every bit of knowledge and add to my hunting experiences. I'm happy to have a core group of friends/mentors by my side helping me achieve my goal to be the most ethical hunter I can be.

It really is the outdoor lifestyle of hunting that I believe I cherish the most. I love being outdoors and seeing these beautiful animals in their habitat, and all of the preparation that goes into the hunt. Yes, harvesting an animal is truly a special moment, but the experiences and what leads up to that shot is what I love the most.

The most rewarding part of my journey has been watching my two daughter's desire to hunt grow each year. I was able to take Madison on her first turkey hunt, and my husband, Brian and I've been shooting more and more with our girls. This is how I save the lifestyle.

I can't wait to see what our hunt community can do as we all come together to mentor hunters of all ages—it doesn't matter if you're young, old, male or female. We appreciate all things outdoors equally, and if we all commit to mentoring, then we can save this lifestyle we love.