Women Hunt Committee
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.
"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.
Sara grew up in the high sagebrush sea of western Wyoming. While a love for horses was a primary obsession for much of her childhood, Sara’s love for the outdoors and conservation is central to her personal and professional life. From a young age, Sara spent most of her time fishing, hiking, riding horses, and exploring her incredible backyard. Alongside her father, and later, her husband, Sara learned the art and skills of hunting, building on her love of archery and rifle hunting to provide clean, wholesome food for her family.
Sara received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northland College in northern Wisconsin and her Masters in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path College. Her professional experiences have ranged widely, but she’s never strayed far from her outdoor passions and her dedication to conservation. From age 16 through college, Sara worked on backcountry trail crews in the Wind River, Wyoming and Absaroka Mountain Ranges. Her experiences working for wildlife management agencies and outdoor education organizations have included fishery biology and habitat conservation work with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and management of a remote youth field camp with Teton Science Schools. Sara was the Executive Director of the National Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois, WY for six years, during which she led a transformational organizational shift to focus on youth engagement and education about bighorn sheep and expanded the partnership with agencies and the Wild Sheep Foundation. She currently is the Associate Director of Development with The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming, working as a fundraiser to support the critical work of habitat conservation in her home state. All these experiences have allowed her to give back to the outdoor world she loves most.
Sara is a founding member of Artemis, another women's hunting and conservation organization, she volunteers with outdoor youth and family education programs, and she also serves on the local board of the Wyoming Community Foundation. She is deeply committed to helping youth and women gain meaningful outdoor experiences. Sara loves to hunt, and her passion for archery hunting grows exponentially with every season. She lives in beautiful Dubois with her husband and son where they enjoy incredible hunting, fishing and other outdoor adventures in some of the wildest country in the west. Sara is passionate about helping empower more women's voices in wildlife conservation and hunting.
Rebecca was born in Manitoba but raised in British Columbia (BC) which offered her a diverse range of experiences and opportunities to explore different environments and landscapes. Spending summers at their cabin on Hornby Island also gave her the chance to connect with nature and develop a love for wildlife. Fishing with her dad and swimming in the ocean allowed Rebecca to learn about and appreciate the natural world around her, even though her parents weren’t hunters, they still valued spending time outdoors and instilled that same love of nature in Rebecca. This offered a well-rounded childhood that allowed her to develop a strong connection to the environment and wildlife.
Rebecca’s journey of observing and hunting with her husband led her to discover a passion for hunting/conservation and giving back. In 2021, Rebecca applied to and was selected for the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) Women Hunt Program. The New Hunter course helped her develop her skills and knowledge further and its clear she is dedicated to hunting/conservation and wants to make a difference. These steps along her journey helped create the Wild Sheep Society of BC, Women Shaping Conservation (WSSBC – WSC) platform. The platform is an excellent way to bring like-minded women together who share a passion for the outdoors, hunting and conservation efforts. As Chair of the committee, Rebecca will have an opportunity to lead and inspire other women who want to get involved but may not know where to start. Rebecca is excited to learn and grow while pursuing her love of hunting and the outdoors.
Rebecca also has a strong passion for holistic health and wellness and becoming a practitioner in holistic nutrition will provide her with a deeper understanding of how food can be used to heal the body and promote overall wellness. Additionally, her background as a yoga instructor will allow her to incorporate physical movement and mindfulness practices into her holistic approach to health, hunting and conservation.
Rebecca resides in Port Coquitlam, BC with her husband Colin, their dog Charlie, and is a stepmother to two beautiful children, Reghan and Ryan. Being a monarch member and volunteer with the Wild Sheep Society of BC and Jurassic Classic, as well as a lifetime member with the Wild Sheep Foundation, and member of the Wild Sheep Foundation Alberta, showcases Rebecca’s commitment to conservation efforts and her desire to give back to the community. Overall, Rebecca is a passionate and dedicated individual who is making a positive impact in her community.