By Kate Harrold
THIS HUNTRESS picked up her first rifle when she was just SIX-YEARS-OLD and made her first kill at nine after spending her childhood watching gory hunting videos with her dad – and now she hopes to inspire other young girls to do the same.
Delivery manager, Nina Rogers (24) from Tennessee, USA, has been hunting since she was nine-years-old. Nina’s father, John (55), spent eight years working as a pathfinder and sniper in the US military and was keen to pass some of his skills along.
From her very first lesson, Nina proved herself to be handy with a rifle. In what is a male-dominated sport, Nina holds her own and even took down a 900-pound bull elk alone.
Hunting is not without its controversy. Online trolls have made reference to the villainous hunter in Bambi, or prayed that Nina gets hunted instead. However, Nina is passionate about promoting the sustainable elements of hunting to her 35,000 followers.
“When I was a toddler, a Disney movie would only hold my attention for ten minutes but then I saw a hunting video my father was watching and I was quiet for the entire show,” Nina said.
“I started shooting a twenty-two long rifle when I was six and then I began hunting when I was nine years old. I could shoot an apple at a range of one-hundred-and-twenty-five-yards.
“There are haters, but it does no good to dwell on the ignorance of these types of people.
“Hunters are the biggest group of conservationists out there and in the USA, they pay for the majority of wildlife conservation efforts thanks to the 1937 Pitman-Robertson Act. This generates revenue by excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and hunting and fishing equipment and services.
“The fact is if you eat meat, that meat was killed, period. Those animals were bred for slaughter – they have no chance. In the wild, it is man’s wits versus the animals. They aren’t headed down a chute to meet a blade or a spike.
“Game meat is leaner and higher in protein so it’s a healthier option. The sustainability of hunting is important to me so I try and set an ethical example for the non-hunting world.
“Meat can be donated through the ‘Hunters for the Hungry’ programme. In other cases, I’ve helped out with landowner requests who have needed some predator control – this is usually coyotes or bobcats.
“I go hunting every opportunity I get when a given species is in season. More often than not, hunters like me usually pass up animals or are unsuccessful.
“A lot of variables go into making a successful harvest which is why they call it hunting and not killing.”
Nina’s efforts to promote sustainability in hunting have been a success – particularly with a family friend she met in Colorado.
“Some family friends had an eight-year-old son who was completely blind in one eye and wore thick glasses to aid the vision in his other eye,” Nina said.
“He mentioned to me that he’d like to go hunting. His parents didn’t know what to tell him but I mentioned that you only need one eye to look through the scope of a rifle.
“His dad bought him a rifle and that weekend we went to the shooting range – teaching him gun safety and the fundamentals of shooting. He was a natural and ended up placing in the top three of several competitions.
“It’s nice to hear from other young ladies and girls that I’ve inspired them. Being a woman who has had success in a predominantly male sport gives me a sense of self-accomplishment.
“Studies show that children involved in the great outdoors are less likely to use drugs or to get into trouble. Hunting provides children with a great respect for life as they know the consequences of pulling the trigger unlike a video gamer kid who has no concept of reality when it comes to firearms.
“I love the camaraderie I share with friends and family, the challenges hunting creates, the food it provides, and the opportunities to test myself in the great outdoors.
“My father taught me and my four siblings how to fish and hunt as well as survival and field craft skills. As a family, when one is successful, we all share in the work.
“My mother has taught us how to concoct delicious recipes for our game with ingredients we have on hand.
“Each time I go hunting, I learn something new and see something that I haven’t seen before.”
For more, see @ninaoutdoors_.