Alyssa Bowen learned to shoot and began hunting at 18 when she first met now-husband Ryan Bowen. Ryan grew up in a family of generational hunters and when Alyssa joined the family, she was among the first female hunters in the group.
Whether it was camping, hiking, or fishing, Alyssa has always fostered her passion for being outdoors. For her, hunting is an extension of that love she developed throughout her life.
In the fall of 2017, the Bowens moved to Alva, Oklahoma far away from their regular hunting spot. With this loss of access, Alyssa was determined to return to the field and apply her skills to a new area. Through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, she found her new opportunity in the Oklahoma Land Access Program.
“I enjoy the walk-in access. Something about the work makes me appreciate the whole process,” she said.
During muzzleloader season, you’ll find Alyssa in the field. With more days to hunt aside from rifle season, she welcomes extra chances the muzzleloader season provides.
“I love to meet hunters from the other parts of the country. In our family we all use muzzleloaders.”
On Sunday of opening weekend, Alyssa and Ryan had to schedule their hunt around Ryan's baseball coaching schedule. They saw a smaller buck Saturday night that sparked an eagerness to try again, even though in a time crunch. Getting closer and closer to dark with an October snowstorm on the horizon, the couple decided to wait just a little longer.
“There was a cold mist coming from nothing,” Alyssa said.
The Johnson grass began moving in the light. Swaying in the wind, it looked like antlers. Staining her eyes, she surprised herself -this time it was a deer.
The figure went back down into the grass as quickly as it appeared. She could tell it was a large one as she watched the buck move. Waiting for her shot, the deer came out in front of them 40 to 50 yards.
“All I could see in my scope was his body.”
She took the shot.
“It was a huge bodied deer, the biggest body I had ever seen.” The couple found the deer after the ice had started forming. Ryan walked ahead toward the water after watching the buck run that way.
“He turned around and looked at me with his eyes so big. It was the biggest-bodied deer I have ever seen. His rack was incredible. I could not believe it. We facetimed people. I just kept looking at him. The next day, we had a snow day. It took all the strength we had to get him loaded.”
Alyssa’s sportsmanship does not end with her personal pursuits. She has turned her passion for the outdoors into a passion for connecting people. The more she hunted, the more Alyssa realized her need for a group of female hunters to grow with. Her husband often goes on hunting trips that she is more than welcome to join, but she echoes “women need other women.”
When she applied for the Artemis ambassador program, her priority was to help build a strong community of women who also love the outdoors. Based on the idea that hunting, fishing, and conservation make a complete sportsperson, Alyssa now teaches women who came to hunting at an adult age like she did.
“For me, it was important to be a person that someone could come to and learn to grow. Women have to be involved. We need women; we need people of color; we are connected to each other. I love hunting so much, I want other people to love it too. It takes a lot for people to reach out and say, ‘Hey, I want to learn something new.’
Alyssa has now set her sights on turkey season. Join Alyssa and Learn to Hunt Coordinator Kasie Harriet for a “Talking Turkeys” online session on March 9. Learn turkey hunting tactics as well as meet the sportswomen of Artemis! Register here: https://nwf-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0udOqqqzIvGN37WMiSLoAVJot_0PvPIgE3