Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

June 14, 2013

Love Of The Hunt

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:35 am
brittinghamGrowing up Alex Brittingham didn’t really have a choice but to become a hunter.The daughter of Jack Brittingham, an Anderson County resident who has gained fame as a world-wide hunter, it was in her DNA. That she took her first white-tailed deer when she was 4; and an African kudu at 7 shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows her father’s reputation.Though as she got older, the now-23-year-old had choices of her own to make, and that has included continuing to spend time outdoors, even if in recent years the focus has shifted from big game to birds.

Just like she is now making her way own way in the business world as a landman in Beaumont, Brittingham is also trying to make her own name as a hunter. She is one of 10 finalists for Extreme Huntress 2014, a made-for-television competition entering its fifth year. Hosted by Eye of the Hunter, a program seen on NBC Sports, the program seeks to identify the best female hunter in North America.

Brittingham didn’t have to enter the contest, but was drawn by the potential of the grand prize.

“I heard about the girl (Tad Mecham) that won last year going to Africa and I thought that would be so cool,” she said.

She also said it gives her a chance to carve out her own reputation as a hunter.

“I would kind of like to set myself apart from my dad,” she said, adding quickly, “I love my dad,” making sure there was no confusion that it was all about hunting and not family.That is an attitude her father would certainly appreciate because while he offered Brittingham and her brothers, Trevor and Barron, the opportunity to hunt growing up he never forced them.“He always told us when we were younger, that you can set your own alarm. If you want to go hunting set the alarm and you can get up, he was not going to set it for us. It kind of made it our own deal. It was not like we were being forced. He introduced us to the sport, but it was our choice,” said the Athens native.

Living on her own Brittingham keeps involved in the outdoors, these days working with her Labrador retriever.

“Summer can be boring because you can’t do a lot except maybe go hog hunting. So I got into training my dog. I take him out for about 30 minutes a day and I recently joined the Port Arthur Retriever Club,” she said.

To enter the competition Brittingham first had to write an essay describing her hunting exploits and appreciation of the outdoors. In July all of the finalists will travel to the 777 Ranch near Hondo for a skills competition. A public vote to determine the winner will continue online through Jan. 1.

It is not like Brittingham doesn’t have the résumé to be included. Hunting in Africa she has taken two-thirds of an African big five, Cape buffalo and leopard, as well as a variety of plains game, a hippo and a crocodile.

She took her first buffalo, a cow, when she was 15. It wasn’t a completely fun experience.

“When I took my first buffalo I weighed 95 or 100 pounds. I shot my dad’s .375. It took six shots and I had the biggest migraine in the world. Dad came up and patted me on the back and I said, ‘Dad, stop please,’” she laughed, thinking how he quickly backed away.

Her first bull came when she was 18 while hunting in Tanzania.

Hunting in North America she has taken a 170-plus inch whitetail with her rifle and a 150-plus buck with her bow. She has also taken a bull elk with a gun, and while she has tried to take an elk with her bow she hasn’t succeeded yet.

The hunter, who has been hunting with a bow on and off since she was 9, did take a New Mexico black bear last year with a bow.

Although bird hunting has always been important to the family, Brittingham really got into it during her four years at Texas Tech where she hunted dove, ducks, geese and sandhill cranes with other students and her boyfriend, John Phelan, who worked as a guide while going to school.

It is invariable that some are going to say Brittingham would have never gotten many of these opportunities had it not been for her father. It is true, but it was ultimately up to her to aim the rifle or bow at the right spot and make the shot at the right time.

She said she actually looks forward to the skills competition, hoping that will more than showcase her individual hunting skills. Holding it in July and with her being the only Texan in the competition, she hopes to have something of a home state advantage.


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