Linda Powell: Becoming a Hunter

  • Linda Powell went to college hoping to study genetics and research
  • After working in the medical field for 14 years, Powell realized in her mid-30s that she needed adventure
  • She found it, then came the life-changing question: Do you want to try hunting?
After 14 years in the medical field, Linda Powell wondered about a change, found a job at Remington, but admits, “I didn’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun.” Today Linda works for Mossberg Firearms.  Serena Juchnowski photo

By Serena Juchnowski

When you ask a child what he or she wants to be when they grow up, the answers are usually stereotypical. Doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, police officer, firefighter, nurse…the vocation one takes on is very rarely the job he/she first expected, or the one he/she is meant for.

Linda Powell was destined to be a hunter though her upbringing told no signs of it.

Powell grew up in North Carolina in a middle-class family. She went to college hoping to study genetics and research. It wasn’t a widely accepted path at the time for girls and she succumbed to pressure to become a nurse, Powell did so, married, had a son, and lived what she calls a “very traditional, typical life.”

After working in the medical field for 14 years, Powell realized in her mid-thirties that she “really was bored, stagnant, I felt that there was nothing that was challenging me personally.” Not knowing exactly what she needed, Powell quit her job and explored various roles assigned to her by temporary agencies. She eventually took a marketing position at a kitchen hardware manufacturing company – her first adventure outside of the medical field. This position didn’t quite fit Powell so she kept searching.

“I was looking for opportunities and I heard that the Remington Arms company was moving their worldwide corporate headquarters to a town about 20 miles north of where I lived, and I simply went and applied thinking ‘large corporation.’ I still didn’t really know much about what they made or what they did, I was just thinking opportunity for growth. And I was hired, and I’m not sure still why sometimes, I question this, to be the administrative assistant in the PR department.” Filling what one may term another traditional role led to discoveries and experiences far from conventional, though not without difficulties.

Today, Linda Powell has become an expert with firearms and shooting techniques, and a mentor to youngsters and those not so young. Serena Juchnowski photo

Linda Powell found herself replacing a woman who had been with Remington for 20 years. Powell lacked experience in and knowledge of the industry, of the position, and of Remington’s products but tried her best to learn. It was most painful when people asked by name for the woman Linda had replaced.

“The first 6 to 9 months I pretty much cried every day on the way home, thinking I will never figure this out. I didn’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. I didn’t know what gauge meant, caliber…it was like the Greek language to me. But slowly some of it began to click.” Several Remington employees offered to teach Powell how to shoot. Her only previous experience with firearms and hunting was the fact that her grandfather used to disappear some weekends and reappear with some sort of game meat. She had no knowledge of what went on in-between. After some range time, Powell wanted to learn more. About a year after joining Remington, she attended the Remington shooting school; a three-day course focused on clay shooting. “What I loved about it was [that it was] very adaptable because I was in a class with people who had experience but who wanted just to hone their skills, and then there were people like me who had zero. When I left there, I knew the basics of handling a shotgun safely, I could break some clays, and they kind of had piqued my interest in wanting to learn more.”

Then came the life-changing question: Do you want to try hunting?

After some deliberation and mental preparation, Powell decided she was up for the challenge. “Fortunately, with my medical and biology background…I understood enough about wildlife management but I did a lot of reading to understand the role that hunting plays in [it] and I also had to come to terms with it for my own feelings.” She did not want to just jump into something she did not understand – it had to have meaning and purpose.
Looking back now, she laughs, smiling delicately as she talks of her first hunting experience. “I jokingly wonder if they were setting me up for failure because most people start with maybe bird hunting, turkey, deer, squirrels – my very first hunt was a black bear hunt. And they had me do it with a muzzleloader.” While preparing for the hunt, Linda learned to load and shoot a muzzleloader accurately, something she had never done before. Though it was slightly overwhelming at first, Powell was up for the challenge, and her beaming smile revealed that she would not have had it any other way.

Woman to woman, Linda Powell is effective at getting the safe shooting message across. Serena Juchnowski photo

Sitting in a plush chair in Mississippi at the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association Conference, Powell told of an experience that is almost unbelievable given her iconic status in the industry today. Honest and open with no details spared, Powell admitted that at the time she was brand new and overwhelmed in moments, but has always been open to new experiences.

“I’d never sat in a treestand, there were just so many things that I was exposed to, even knowing how to dress for the hunt. There are so many [foreign] things…people that grow up [hunting] don’t necessarily understand that. Here I am at the ripe old age of 38, and again, I didn’t know anything about it. But I am really fortunate I had great mentors along on that hunt, my guide was exceptional. We, on the last day of the hunt, hadn’t really seen a bear but I had learned a lot. And I remember sitting in the tree, we’re getting to the last little light of day and just reflecting on what an incredible experience it had been, that I was trying something I’d never done before.”

Some things are meant to be. Powell smiled, her eyes shining with passion as she revealed the end of the story – something so neatly strung together it seems out of a movie. “I was sitting out in the woods, I was seeing squirrels and birds and soaking it all in and kind of just daydreaming for a minute and all of a sudden I woke up and there was a bear standing out in front of me and of course I went through the moment of ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do now?’ And I remember bringing my muzzleloader up and I was shaking. I put it back down on my lap, I took a few breaths: it took me three times. I got the muzzleloader up, the bear just was feeding nonchalant, and I shot, and I got it.”

Years later, and Powell remembers nearly every detail of her first hunt because that day, her life changed. She knew it immediately within her, though she could never have guessed how.

* Linda Powell has traveled to Russia, Africa, South America, and has hunted all across the United States and Canada. She worked for Remington for 15 years and currently works for Mossberg, as the director of media relations.

Read the next second segment story (look for it) to learn about Powell’s path and how she came to become an accomplished hunter dedicated to passing along the hunting tradition.

Editor Note – About the Author: Serena Juchnowski is a young college student, passionate about the outdoors. Serena grew up in an outdoors family but did not start shooting until the eighth grade, and did not start hunting until she was 16. Since then, she has devoted herself to the shooting sports, volunteering as the secretary at a local club, coaching new shooters, and using writing and photography to educate others about the shooting and hunting sports. She has earned the Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge (#2479) and NRA Master Classification.  She enjoys hunting, mostly in Ohio, her home state, and is especially interested in introducing “juniors” (in the shooting world, kids up to age 20 or 21), as well as women, to high power service rifle and to hunting. She would like to work in the outdoor industry to help fulfill her dream to promote safe shooting and hunting. Visit Serena’s Web page Facebook page and Instagram to visit with numerous pictures and other information on her shooting journey, as well as her written article.