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Women Hunt Committee


Renée Thornton

Renée Thornton

Chair | Montana

Born and raised in rural Alberta to a large farming family, Renée Thornton serves as Chair of the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) Women Hunt Program and Committee, and the Women in Hunting™ Initiative.

Although not raised in a hunting family or with a hunting background, in 2016 Renée embarked on a personal journey to become a hunter. This decision was driven by a decade-long pursuit of sourcing her meat more ethically and organically from small local producers and farmer’s markets. To Renée, the logical progression was to obtain her protein from animals that lived freely in nature, until harvested quickly and humanely, by her own hand.

As a result of her experiences as a solo, adult-onset hunter, Renée is passionate about engaging with and helping more women cross barriers on their journey into fields and the mountains. She is particularly dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the wild places they inhabit and ensuring others understand the role hunters and hunting play in conservation.

Renée believes in giving back of her time, talent, and treasure. She is active in volunteering and speaking at various WSF and Chapter & Affiliate events. She is a Summit Life Member of WSF, a Chadwick Ram Society Member, a WSF Legacy Society Member, and a Life Member of WSF Alberta, Wild Sheep Society of BC, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, Washington WSF, Eastern Chapter WSF, Oregon WSF and Alaska WSF. She is also a Life Member of SCI and holds memberships in multiple partner organizations.

In addition to hunting Renée enjoys fly fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and adventure travel. As a hunter she has taken black bear, feral hog, whitetail, mule deer, Axis deer, pronghorn, Miquihuanensis mountain whitetail, and Estate aoudad. She aspires to hunt wild sheep and join the ranks of accomplished mountain hunters.

An avid reader, accomplished writer, business leader and mentor, Renée recently retired from a 30-year career as a professional manager for the Canadian Federal Government. She resides in Manhattan, Montana.

Rachel Ahtila

Rachel Ahtila

British Columbia

‘Don’t be afraid to start where you are, to get to where you want to be’ has been Rachel’s unofficial motto since first getting a taste of hunting camp years ago. A southern British Columbian by birth, but a northerner by choice, what started as a summer childhood getaway quickly turned into the love of her life. The pursuit of wild places, riding horses and hunting started out as grand adventures that turned into a career path that she hasn’t looked back on. Obtaining her first guides license by 19 years old, she was a quick study that led her to working and guiding in British Columbia, the Yukon, and Northwest Territories, as well as abroad in New Zealand. Through school and post-secondary education at the University of Victoria, the mountains were her calling.

Her passion for life and its adventures has her teamed up with some tremendous companies, a staunch resume of conservation, and a zest for life. She’s worked her way up from the elementary roles at hunting camp, and set out to guide the premier species of Canada’s northwest. Accolades include working and guiding for ‘Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures’ and ‘The Professionals’, as well as aiding many clients to their hunts on and off the screen, an international columnist, product tester and ambassador for leading industry companies, one of the youngest women to ever serve on the Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia, and integral founding member of the Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance. Her life path and growth are owed largely to the opportunities that she took a chance on and the extended hunting family that has supported and encouraged her – a mission she has been actively working on in support of the next generation.

A devout hunter, avid equestrian, and hard worker, when she’s not in the mountains, you can be sure to find her somewhere on a horse, most likely ranching or off on an adventure!


Julie Chapman

Julie Chapman

Indiana

"Passion" is something very evident when describing Julie! An Indiana native, Julie has had a passion for living life to the fullest and has excelled in many different endeavors. While earning her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Missouri she found time to have a record setting career as a 4-year starter for the women's basketball program. Following her college career, she married her high school sweetheart, Brandon and together they have passed down the love and respect for hunting to their two children, John and Madison.

Chapman is a licensed Healthcare Administrator where she owns and operates a skilled nursing facility in Southern Indiana. Additionally, she and her husband own and manage several other successful businesses within the community. Julie is a high energy, enthusiastic person that doesn't back down from a challenge. She and her husband created Graveyard Outdoors to provide opportunities for children from the surrounding counties to experience the outdoors. Annual events for children include turkey hunts, dove hunts, pheasant hunts, archery events, shooting sports, fishing days, and waterfowl banding.

This intense enthusiasm for the outdoors has led to many different opportunities to serve at a grass roots level with conservation organizations. Julie led the state with record setting financial achievements while serving as the Ducks Unlimited Chairman for three consecutive years. NWTF, RMEF, NRA, Florida Tarpon Anglers Association, and Physically Challenged Bowhunters Association are just a few of the organizations.

The love of wild sheep began with the harvest of her first desert sheep. Jack O'Connor said it best when he said, "There is no half way. After his first exposure, a man is either a sheep hunter or he isn't. He either falls under the spell of sheep hunting and sheep country or he won't be caught dead on another sheep mountain." Obviously, Julie is all in and there is no "HALF WAY" when it comes to the passion and energy needed to continue the mission of the Wild Sheep Foundation.

Linda Demmer

Linda Demmer

South Carolina

Linda Demmer has had a lifelong passion for wildlife, its habitat, and its conservation. Linda was raised in the shadow of Fred Bear and competed in Northern Michigan field archery competitions as a young woman. Those early passions have inspired her on a quest to hunt big game in North America and Africa.

Linda is a university-trained fine artist having spent her adult life restoring historic properties including their landscapes. Restoring Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Usonian home and his fourth favorite design is one of her credits. Currently she is leading the efforts to restore an historic property in South Carolina’s “Low Country.” This property is an early South Carolina rice farm with a cornerstone laid in 1697. The property was a Land Grant from King Charles. Linda is managing the farm’s wildlife habitat for deer, ducks, turkey, quail, and doves. Her game management also includes cover crops for wildlife and carbon sequestration enhancement.

Linda is an active partner with the Low Country Ducks Unlimited Chapters. DU created a video that they aired nationally featuring Linda and her friends duck hunting called, “Lady Hunters of the South Carolina Low Country.” The video, available on the DU web, is 2018 Episode 12-Southern Women.

Linda’s “Big Game” experiences includes the harvest of Alaskan Brown Bear and Black Bear, Yukon Territory Mountain Caribou, Rocky Mountain Goat, California Tulle Elk, and an Oregon Roosevelt Elk. She was the first woman in Oregon hunting history to win the Governor’s Tag Raffle for the Elk. Linda has harvested deer in Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, and Mexico. Linda’s African hunts include successful safaris in Mozambique and Tanzania. She has successfully harvested: Ocellated Turkeys in Campeche, Mexico, the Eastern Turkey, The Rio Grande and is booked to hunt the Gould Turkey in Sierra Madre Mountains, Mexico, and Red Stag in Scotland.

Linda’s love for the sporting life has led her to the world of conservation policy. She has engaged both at the state and federal levels working for the sportsmen and women of North America. Linda currently serves on the boards of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and Bear Trust International and National Wild Turkey Federation. She is on the founding committee for Women Hunt® through the Wild Sheep Foundation. She also served on the Board of Directors of The Lowcountry Land Trust in South Carolina. In addition to her conservation passions, she had served on the Eli and Edith Broad Art Museum Board at Michigan State University.

Linda’s experience as an educator has equipped her with the capacity to mentor fair chase hunters. She also has the desire to work with and for the development of nontraditional hunters, women in particular.

Her love of the outdoors, being a passionate “fair chase hunter,” a dedication to preserving and enhancing habitat brings experience to Women Hunt®.


Brandi Love

Brandi Love

Alberta

Brandi grew up on the edge of one of the most pristine Canadian Waterfowl areas, the Delta Marsh, just outside of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, on a mixed purebred Charolais Cattle/Grain Farm operation. While raised in a hunting family and even contemplating a career in conservation at a young age, her passion for horses and Agriculture eventually won out. Brandi received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness Management and a Diploma in Ag Business Marketing and Sales from Olds College, which resulted in a permanent move to Alberta.

Brandi is currently the Manager of Agriculture Credit for TD Bank in Central Alberta, aiding and assisting primary producers and Agri Businesses with their financing needs, and mitigating the risk for the bank and its shareholders. She has previously served on many boards and volunteer positions for various rodeo associations and barrel racing groups in Canada. She is still an active barrel racer with many up-and-coming young horses that she is currently training and competing on herself, as well as having a small breeding program in which she has raised most of her current prospects from.

Brandi's love for the outdoors and wildlife has always remained a key part of her being, with her always living in and near some of the most diverse wildlife areas in Canada. It wasn't until 2021, when some unexpected family events occurred, that she became serious about reconnecting with and making up for lost time with her father, and really becoming serious about reconnecting with hunting. Applying and being successfully selected for the inaugural Women Hunt New Hunter course in 2021 has led her on this new journey into the hunting community. Giving back and volunteering and serving with the Wild Sheep Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation of Alberta has been her primary focus thus far, and she is excited to continue this journey with the Women Hunt Committee. She has experienced the direct success of this program, believes in the vision, and wants to continue to encourage and grow this momentum.

Sue Skold

Sue Skold

Iowa

I was raised around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Growing up, our family didn’t own guns or go hunting, but we did go walleye fishing every spring. My first experience with hunting was when I married my husband, Steve. He is an avid hunter and conservationist. It was only natural that he introduced me to shooting and hunting. We joined a trap shooting team before our children were born. This eventually progressed to pheasant hunting. I was never a naturally good bird hunter. It wasn’t long before I told Steve I need to move onto bigger and slower animals as birds were not my forte. Oh, I still shoot sporting clays and pheasant hunt, but my true passion is hunting big game.

Steve and I started a construction company in January of 1992. After 30 years in the construction industry, we sold our business and retired. When we first started our company, we worked in 2 states with 5 employees. At retirement we were working in 9 states with 65 employees working for the company.

As an active member of my community, I have held several board positions. I started my volunteerism with National Association Women in Construction (NAWIC). I held several positions within the organization until I was President/Past President. I was also the treasurer of Ballet Des Moines for several years, as our daughters were avid dancers. I’m a WSF Chadwick Ram Society Member, Summit Life Member, and a WSF Legacy Society Member. I’m a Life Member of Safari Club International and Sables. I’ve been on the Sables Election Committee three times. I’m a life member of SCI-Iowa Chapter and I have held the treasurer/board member since 2003.

Now that I’m retired, I’ve stepped up my reading and audible listening. I enjoy spending winters in AZ hiking. Steve and I have several hunts planned the next few years and I’m sure those will be wonderful adventures to experience. I have another Elk hunt planned for this fall; this animal has been my nemesis.


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