Sportsmen’s Alliance is proud to announce the newest addition to our Faces of Hunters blogging team – Sarah Gaffney! Sarah is an accomplished hunter who is on the ProStaff for several outdoor companies and is the executive publisher for Outdoor Insiders, where she helps introduce and pass along the hunting and fishing heritage.
My favorite method of hunting is any that involves hounds. I particularly enjoy coon hunting with my Redbone Coonhounds. Most recently, I have taken on a new endeavor—hunting big game animals with hounds— and to say the least… it is addicting!
What do you do for a living? If retired, what did you do?
I am the Transition Coordinator at a small town high school in Pennsylvania, where I teach Special Education as well. I develop and implement individualized education plans for students with special needs and learning disabilities. Students of special needs require transition services at the high school level. We work with each student individually and assist them with establishing post-secondary goals in regards to employment, independent living and job training services. Along with teaching full-time, I am completing a Master’s in Education degree as a part-time student. I ProStaff for various company’s within the outdoor industry such as; Muddy, EvoOutdoors and TenPoint.
Why did you join Sportsmen’s Alliance?
I joined the Sportsmen’s Alliance to battle against the constant scrutiny of animal welfare advocates, including the Humane Society of the United States. However, the other reason I joined the Sportsmen’s Alliance was not only to help fight against anti’s, but to help fight for our hunting heritage within the hunting/outdoor industry. The Sportsmen’s Alliance advocates and fights for all forms of hunting, trapping and fishing.
What is your most memorable experience while hunting?
This is a tough one. Honestly, I’m unable to choose one moment because each hunting experience is memorable in its own way! The first time my hound struck and treed by himself made me so proud! I was elated when my lab had his first solo retrieval. It was a thrill hearing the dogs roar through the pine trees in Eastern North Carolina—the first time I ever used fox hounds to run deer. Which is a completely different feeling than the solitude and tranquility of a crisp fall sunrise while sitting in a treestand. Then there was the heartbreaking memory of tracking the first deer I wounded while archery hunting (which is probably a feeling that most hunters wish to forget even though it’s a lesson etched into our brains). Then, there was my very first bow kill— heart pounding, lump in throat, eyes locked and exhaling before letting the arrow fly—success, it’s a feeling that is hard to put into words.
The largest threat — ourselves. We spend a lot of time bashing each other – arguing about how one form of hunting is better or worse than another — who hunts over bait piles, outdoorsmen who hunt public vs. private properties, the use of a rifle vs. a bow, the use of dogs vs. no dogs. The fact is we are all in it together and we need to fight for each other not against one another! I see that we focus so much of our time arguing with anti’s, but how often do we find ourselves telling our cronies — “He shot that with a crossbow… doesn’t even count in my book!” or “Using dogs to chase big game isn’t really hunting… blah blah blah”. We must unite, fight together and start promoting each other’s heritage.
Who do you enjoy sharing your passion for the outdoor with?
I enjoy sharing it with everyone. As outdoorsmen and women, we have an obligation to educate and introduce non-hunters to our heritage every opportunity we can! The outdoors has the ability to unite families, create inseparable bonds and provide memories that will last a life time.
More About Sarah Gaffney: Besides contributing to the Sportsmen’s Alliance Faces of Hunters series, Sarah is the executive publisher for Outdoor Insiders, where she helps introduce and pass along the hunting and fishing heritage. Sarah is also a booking agent and hunting guide with TBarrZ Outfitters, which allows her to get new hunters into the field. You can follow Sarah on Twitter and Instagram.