MU student uses TV role to encourage women to hunt

Sunday, October 6, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:28 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 9, 2013
MU student Alex Templeton stands next to a kill after a hunt. Templeton landed a spot on "Dressed to Kill TV," a cable program in development about women who are also serious hunters.

COLUMBIA — Alex Templeton's room in Columbia is full of sparkly frames, candles and bright blue pillows. That's one side of her.

Forty-eight hours earlier, she had been perched in a tree with a compound bow in her hands. Templeton, a junior at MU, devotes nearly every weekend to hunting, her kills including animals such as rabbits and deer. That's another side of her.

Her dual personality is what helped land her a spot on "Dressed to Kill TV," a cable program in development about women who are also serious hunters. The show is scheduled to air in January on the Sportsman Channel.

Templeton is responsible for filming her own hunts for "Dressed to Kill." She sends the footage to an editor, who forwards a segment of edited film to TV production for the episodes.

"'Dressed to Kill' is really promoting women in the outdoors and encouraging women to step outside their comfort zone and maybe do something they've never done before," she said.

Born to hunt

Templeton killed a turkey at age 6. It was the first time she had ever taken a shot.

"I shot my first turkey with a double-barrel shotgun," she said. "My dad took us out to farms by our house. He had hunted with his dad, so it kind of just felt natural."

Growing up on a farm in Polo, Templeton's attachment to animals didn't curtail her desire to hunt. She started bowhunting when she was 18. Once she had picked up a bow, it became her preferred way to hunt.  

"It is more of a challenge," she said. "Food plots and scent control and strategic planning aren't quite as important in gun hunting, in my opinion, as they are in bowhunting."

The early bowhunting season for deer in Missouri runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15. Templeton spends most of her weekends during deer season hunched in a tree, waiting for the right moment to release her arrow. 

She uses her gun for the rifle season from Nov. 16 to 26, then hunts with a bow again from Nov. 27 to Jan. 15.

"When I need that buck to be ideally 30 yards away, the conditions need to be perfect," she said. "It's more rewarding to take an animal when you're working really hard."

Breaking the mold

On a typical hunting morning, Templeton will wake up at 5 a.m. to prepare for filming. That includes makeup. For the sake of deer hunting, she said must be aware of what she puts on her skin.

"You have to be really careful about scent, so I have had to switch my shampoos for the time being," she said with a laugh. 

Templeton said she works with "Dressed to Kill TV" because she believes it is important to break the prevailing concept about women hunters, that hunting is not just a man's sport. She is a vocal advocate for getting women into the woods, stalking game.

"It is a scary thing," she said. "Climbing 20 to 30 feet into a tree is still scary for me, I'm not going to lie. But it's important to me for girls to get out there and break the stereotype."

Templeton also wants to improve the image of hunting, in general, as a strategy for conservation and population management.

"What a lot of people don't see about the hunting industry is the positive side to it, the management side," she said.

"If I hunt a deer with my bow, that's one less deer that someone could potentially hit with their car and get hurt by." 

She acknowledges the argument that hunters just hunt to kill the animal and leave it, but says it can put food on a family's table.

"When we shoot a deer, we eat that meat," Templeton said.

Out of Africa

Last summer, she joined an African safari for the show. She spent 12 days in Limpopo, South Africa, 10 of them hunting impala, waterbuck, gemsbok, kudu and wildebeest.

"We would get in the blind when it was getting light and leave when it was getting dark, so that was tough at first," she said. "But it definitely taught me patience, and it definitely made me a better hunter."

Shooting a kudu, a native antelope, was the highlight of her trip, she said.

"I killed my kudu on the third day," Templeton said. "We had sat all day and had hardly seen anything, and then he just walked out to the waterhole."

All of the meat harvested that day was used to feed local families in Africa, she said.

Much of her motivation for participating in the show is to set the record straight, from her perspective.

"It's OK to still be girly and also to go out and shoot your bow," she said.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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