By Glynn Harris
Special to the Press-Herald
As an outdoor writer, this is my favorite time of year. I get to write about all the big bucks taken by hunters around the state. People have started referring successful hunters to me, which helps a lot. Another way I find out about these buck slayers is online, especially checking sites like Louisiana Deer Hunters.
It was while I was taking down names and getting information from that site when I ran across a post that stopped me dead in my tracks. There was no big buck involved but a hunter had posted photos of taking a nice doe, mentioned loading it alone and was headed back to the woods “looking for horns”.
What is so unusual about that? Deer hunters do that all the time. What grabbed my attention was the smiling photo of the successful hunter. I have written outdoor columns for the past 46 years and while some of my stories have been about female hunters and on occasion, articles have covered the success of black male hunters, I have never, not one time, written a story about a black female hunter, until now.
Meet Johnetta Horton of Shreveport. After seeing her photo with a deer she had taken and loaded herself, I had to talk with this lady. I found her on Facebook, gave her a call and ended up making a new friend who can put the majority of us deer hunters to shame. Here is Ms. Horton’s story…
“I retired from Libby Glass plant in Shreveport after working there for 35 years.
Most of my co-workers were white guys and the majority of them are hunters. I would always listen to them talk about hunting and they realized I was really interested in finding out more about hunting. I asked if just anybody could hunt and when they saw I was serious, these guys took me under their wing and were quick to share their deer hunting stories and tips with me.
“When I told them I thought I was ready to hunt, they kidded me, saying I was too much a ‘diva’ to get into hunting. This just lit my fire and I told them ‘we’ll see about that,’” was Horton’s response.
Her dad was still living at the time, she got off work one day and approached her
dad sharing with him that the guys at work said she couldn’t hunt and she asked him to teach her how to shoot his shotgun.
“I learned to shoot, then went out and bought all my hunting clothes, found a place to hunt and went hunting. Three years after my first hunt, I got my first deer, a 9 point buck weighing 200 pounds with an 18 ¼ inch inside spread. Everybody was amazed that I got a deer that big and got it loaded and out of the woods all by myself. I was even featured in the Shreveport Times’ Bragging Corner where they show photos of hunters with game they had bagged,” she said.
Today, Johnetta Horton who identifies herself in her email address as “Black Huntress” belongs to a hunting club in Webster Parish and hunts every day of deer season that she can. She now shoots a Browning bolt action 30.06 and over the past 20 years, she has averaged two to three deer a year. Do the math; that’s 40 to 60 deer, success most hunters would envy.
With the surplus venison she accumulates, Horton shares with her church which feeds the less fortunate every Saturday.
This modern day Annie Oakley is on a mission, one that will hopefully get more females, especially women of her race into the sport of hunting.
“I try to leave a legacy to ladies and girls. Being female is more than just dressing up and being pretty (she recently won a beauty pageant at her church). Awhile back I did a seminar for women at Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City. I told the ladies to find something that you love and just pursue it. Who knows; it just might be deer hunting. While I was doing the seminar, I happened to look upstairs and a bunch of guys were hanging over the rails intently listening to my presentation,” she said.
Is Johnetta Horton proud of what she is pioneering? You bet she is. She might be thought of by some to be a “diva”, but in her mind, she’s a “diva in a deer stand”.