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by Isabel Mosseler
Ontario’s favourite female hunter, Amanda Lynn Mayhew, was in Crystal Falls from October 19 to 28th, introducing two groups of women to the art and skill of hunting. Her new program, called Hunt With Me, specifically targets women who want to learn these skills in a friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere. The sessions took place over two separate weekends at Tomiko Lake Lodge, owned and operated by Lisa and John Baykaluk. Mayhew and her husband Craig Hare are no strangers to the area. The celebrity hunter has been coming to West Nipissing for about 7 years, while her husband has been hunting here for 20 to 30 years.
Mayhew was stopped repeatedly in parking lots while shopping in Sturgeon Falls, as her fans recognized her and wanted to know what she was doing here. Because of the local interest, she decided to call The Tribune and share the story. Mayhew is the host of Just Hunt TV, a speaker and personality at outdoor shows, an advocate for outdoor living, and a renowned angler, hunter and outdoorswoman who helps to mentor others.
“Normally we come up to Tomiko to do a moose hunt or a wolf hunt in February. (…) I grew up in Manitouwadge, and I moved south about 15-20 years ago and was working in a gun store. I didn’t really know there was a big issue with girls and guns and girls and hunting; I just figured everybody did it. Once the word got out that there was a girl in the gun store, girls came out to ask questions, wanting to get a gun or whatnot. One thing led to another.” She explains that her female customers also wanted to have someone to teach them how to use the gun. Mayhew took up the challenge.
“One girl turned into 30 girls, so I created an event, Range Day, in 2011 – no license required, come out to the local range and we shoot; rifle, pistol, shotgun and archery.” The event offered one-on-one mentoring in a safe environment, non-intimidating, and she tried to get as many women mentors as possible. “I only put on 2 to 4 events a year, and it’s beyond out-of-control. There are gun ranges all over Ontario asking me to come and do it, and every time I do it, I do it a little bit different.”
TV host Amanda Lynn Mayhew (far left) taught a group of Southern Ontario women, (left to right) Kelly Chesney, Shannon Tobin, Jennifer Piitz, Amy Lou Gibbons and Krystle Allison, how to hunt in the Northern Ontario wilderness. She hosted two ‘Hunt With Me’ women’s weekends at Tomiko Lake Lodge in Crystal Falls, and is planning more local events. Photo submitted