Taking a son hunting or fishing in West Virginia is a time-honored tradition. The pride of passing along woodsman skills remains a strong and meaningful experience in the Mountain State. However, that tradition is being somewhat changed in today’s progressive environment, no longer are daughters being left out of the equation.
Fortunately for Boone County resident Jessica Flores, her daddy was ahead of the curve.
"We went squirrel hunting right up behind the house," said Flores about her first hunting experience when she was in grade school with her dad. "We’d been up there for a little while and I saw a couple of squirrels up in a tree. I was so nervous my whole body was shaking. I had to lean up against a tree just to get a shot at them. It was fun."
The fun of that first outing has stayed with Jessi, as she’s known around Madison. Now at age 27 she’s an accomplished hunter and outdoors person.
"I killed a nice eight-point a couple of years ago with my gun," explained Jessi during a recent appearance on West Virginia Outdoors. "I’ve killed two black bear and one of them qualified for Pope and Young."
Jessi’s outdoor adventures are becoming more common among American women and companies that manufacture outdoor equipment are starting to notice. Jessi’s qualifications recently earned her a spot with the "Lady’s of Scent Blocker." The apparel company is widely known for their line of clothing designed to mask human scent from the sensitive nose of game.
Jessi says Scent Blocker was on board with her before she was on board with them.
"I’ve used their Pro-Tech fleece and Bug-Lite suits for a while now, but now I have the new Lady Dream Season suit,” said Jessi. "It’s REALLY nice."
Like so many of her counterparts who grew up hunting, Jessi was reduced to wearing hand-me downs from a brother or dad. It just wasn’t working.
"I remember I just had to wear men’s camo clothing growing up and it was big and bulky," she laughed. "It just don’t fit right."
She plans to put the suit through the rigors on an upcoming elk hunt in Colorado with her husband. Although excited about the opportunity, like any mother, she’s uneasy about leaving her two young boys Ridge and Gunner behind.
"I haven’t been away from them for more than a day since they were born," said Jessi
Jessi is employed as a medical lab technician at Boone Memorial Hospital. When she’s not hunting or at the 3-d archery range letting arrows fly, Jessi likes to fish, boat, and ride four-wheelers. She also hopes to encourage other women to get involved.
"I try to encourage the women I work with to get out and do this stuff. I think they’ll find it’s a lot of fun if they’ll give it a try."