Thursday, February 25, 2016

Oklahoma Woman Wins Prestigious DSC Hunting Award

The Dallas Safari Club has honored an Oklahoma woman with its 2016 Outstanding Hunting Achievement Award, the highest award given by the organization to recognize accomplished hunters.
    Suzie Brewster of Marietta accepted the award Jan. 9 at the DSC's annual convention. She is married to Bill Brewster, a member of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission that oversees the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
    Brewster was honored in 2011 with the Safari Club International's Diana Award, which recognizes female SCI members who hunt, and in 2003 with the Sybil Luddington Women's Freedom Award from the National Rifle Association, which honors achievements in education and promoting Second Amendment rights at a national level. She becomes the only woman to win all three of these prestigious national awards for hunting, conservation and involvement.
    "It makes me feel like a queen," she said. "I was so excited and I could hardly stand it."
    Brewster has been involved in DSC for many years. A friend in that club persuaded her to submit an application for the hunting achievement award, which traditionally has been given to men for accomplishments in hunting the world's big game. Her application qualified in two categories: the collection of 10 wild oxen and buffalo, and the collection of the DSC African Grand Slam, requiring the collection of 32 species.
    Suzie Brewster has served as co-chairman of the NRA's Women's Leadership Forum since it began 10 years ago. She has been a staunch supporter and advocate for gun ownership, and she backs it up by hosting events getting others involved in shooting and hunting. "I have a passion for developing women and children in shooting."
    While growing up on her family's farm in Cordell, Suzie worked from an early age collecting eggs, milking cows and chopping cotton. She knew nothing about how to hunt. The work was hard, and so by the time she was in first grade, she had decided she was going to be the first person from her family to attend college.
    After high school, Suzie enrolled at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where she met Bill Brewster and "was captivated by a smile." The two married, and that's when hunting and firearms entered her consciousness.
    Bill was appointed last year as a member of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, the eight-member board that oversees the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
    "I never met a shotgun before I met Bill Brewster," she said. For her DSC award, she gave her husband all of the credit "for teaching me about hunting and for that 30th anniversary trip." That trip was a hunting safari to Africa in 1993, where she first acquired a passion for big-game hunting.
    Bill grew up hunting, and he involved Suzie in hunting when possible. Her first taste was dove hunting, and later she found satisfaction in deer hunting. The couple also became involved in competitive shooting sports.
    "There's so many things you can hunt," she said. She especially enjoys turkey hunting, and she's bagged all six turkey species found around the world.
    In the past 32 years, the Brewsters have made it a priority to travel and hunt together. "It's been a passion for both of us." But Suzie also has taken a few hunting trips on her own. She's hunted on six continents in 34 countries, has been on 37 safaris worldwide, and has harvested more than 220 species. But she still manages to do some quail, dove, turkey and deer hunting on their own place near Marietta and at their Texas hunting lease.
    And while the trophies are wonderful, Suzie says one of the greatest appeals for her in big-game hunting is the chance to interact with the local people and help better their lives in many ways. She said like most safari hunters, she enjoys bringing clothing and toys for the villagers they meet. The villagers also receive most of the meat harvested by the safari hunters. Suzie is grateful to be able to give back.
    "I cannot change the world," she said, "but because of me, someone else's world is different, even if just for a day."