Women have always hunted, but not in the numbers they do today. What's notable to avid hunter, Renae Selensky, is how many girls there are in her hunter safety courses now.
"In 1989 when I took hunters education class, there were not many girls in the class," said Selensky. "Now over half the class is girls."
She said the girls may just feel more comfortable with a female teaching them. Two men teach along with her. They are Greg Odden and Joe Tuchscherer.
Selensky enjoys teaching hunter safety. "It's amazing how the kids improve from when they begin the class to when they finish the class."
She learned along with her 11 siblings from their dad, on the family farm, 7 miles northeast of Rugby.
"Dad started by teaching us ice fishing," said Selensky who grew up in the '80s and '90s.
"When we were 11 or 12, we each took the hunter safety course, and then dad would take us hunting with him," she remembers. They started with goose and duck hunting.
In addition to hunting and fishing, Renae learned to trap by following one of her brothers-in-law around when he set traps.
"When we were little dad would let us trap gophers," said Selensky.
She traps from fall into winter, coyotes, fox, and muskrats. When she catches the animals, she shoots them, fleshes out the pelts and puts them on racks to dry. In the spring, a furrier comes along and buys the pelts to take to Wisconsin. The furrier takes five of the best ones to send to Canada to be auctioned.
"You learn about wildlife by tracking them," explained Selensky.
She loves being in the outdoors. "The sunrises and sunsets you see when you are out hunting are beautiful. She mostly hunts birds and deer. She has put in to get an elk hunting license but so far has not been lucky enough to be drawn for one.
Selensky doesn't own a hunting dog. The family has two dogs, a red heeler and a blue heeler, but they are cattle herding dogs. The two types of dogs can't usually be found in one dog. One of her brothers had a Golden Retriever to hunt with, but that dog didn't herd cattle. On their farm they need cattle herding dogs.
The Selensky family, at least the ones that still live around Rugby, process their own meat. One of the brothers that lives in Bismarck, has a meat processing business. The Catch 22 there is that he can't take time off to hunt with his siblings because he is busy processing when they want to hunt.
Having grown up in a large family, Renae enjoys hunting with her siblings and their families but she also enjoys hunting solo. She mostly hunts on their family's land.
The young Rugby lady grew up hunting, graduated from Rugby High School, earned a liberal arts degree from Bottineau College and currently, works at Center Mutual Insurance. She has continued her lifelong love of hunting and remains on the family farm where she helps her nieces and nephews learn to hunt.