Dads everywhere have introduced hunting to their daughters. Such was the case with Erica Forsyth. Growing up in the small Canadian Rocky Mountain town of Elkford, British Columbia, Erica participated in numerous sports, from figure skating to fishing. Hunting with her Dad created the bedrock for what would become a love for hunting.

Following high school, Erica studied business administration at Lethbridge College. It was in Southern Alberta that she met her future husband. Their mutual likes were the great outdoors and small town living, which eventually brought them back to Elkford and the beautiful Elk Valley.

Erica’s reason for why she hunts is simple—she enjoys it. In her words, “The pursuit of an animal stirs up a lot of different emotions—from fear, dismay, and apprehension to optimism, excitement, and elation.”

One particular hunt stands out in Erica’s mind. It was one of her first-ever archery mule deer hunts—an experience that sparked her passion for hunting. She and her husband had observed a couple of great velvet mule bucks making their way into a cattail slough to bed down for the day. “In the heat of the afternoon, we snuck in to bow range to try and spot antler tips. I set up at a likely escape route, while my husband worked his way around the slough. Unfortunately, the bucks spotted him before he spotted them.”

As luck would have it, the two bucks emerged from the cattails directly in front of Erica—less than 10 yards from her. When the largest buck spotted her, he froze for a couple of seconds. “The details of his face, from the gloss of his eyes to his dusty black nose pad and flaring nostrils, were etched in my mind,” Erica recalled. “I was so lost in the moment that I never even released an arrow. As he bounced away, I was finally released from my trance. I put down my bow and replayed the rare close encounter over and over in my mind. I’m still amazed to this day how that buck had total control of me.”