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In "The Thrill of the Chase - Women and Their North American Big-Game Trophies," authors Susan Campbell Reneau and Kathy Etling interviewed hundreds of bright, articulate women who love to hunt big game.

They compiled 31 of the best of their stories in the book.

Here's a small sample of what you'll read:

- There's the hilarious tale of a woman, forbidden to hunt by her husband, who sneaks away after moose and caribou. She returns a week later laden with hundreds of pounds of venison and a huge caribou rack.

- There's the story of the first woman to harvest the fabled North American 29 Slam (all varieties of North American big game), who, incidentally, completed the feat after suffering a debilitating stroke.

- There's the account of a preschool teacher and single mom who bagged the largest whitetail buck ever taken by a woman, who still found time to teach her wheelchair-bound son to hunt.

- There are adventure stories about hunting polar bear by dogsled in an Arctic whiteout, hunting sheep at 17,000 feet, and encounters with rattlesnakes, lions and more.

In addition, there are hundreds of photos of the women with magnificent trophies, plus information about four women's hunting programs sponsored by the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Becoming an Outdoors Woman.

Reneau and Etling found their subjects through their extensive contacts in the outdoor publishing world, in national magazine articles, big-game records, and by word of mouth.

"It is," says Reneau, "a small clique of women. I've never met another woman when I've been out hunting."

The authors hope their book will encourage more women to hunt and more men to involve the women in their lives in hunting, Reneau said.

"It's critical for hunters to recruit people who are going to carry it on," she says. "Most hunters are middle-aged guys. The younger generation generally isn't involved. And I think women are the key. So many people are divorced, and women are raising the kids. They don't hunt or expose their children to hunting. They say at least 50 percent of our children won't be exposed to hunting."

Reneau only began to hunt with her husband several years ago, despite having a lengthy career of writing books and articles about hunting. She says it's been good for their marriage.

"It's enriched my relationship with my husband," she says. "It's something that I think a lot of women are missing out on. You can't understand your husband unless you hunt with them."

Copies of the book can be ordered from the publisher, Safari Press, by calling toll-free 1-800-451-4788. The cost is $29.95 plus shipping. Or, for an autographed copy, call Reneau in Missoula at 251-3372, or fax her at 251-5116. It's not sold in bookstores.

For more information on "The Thrill of the Chase," and Reneau's other books, including "Colorado's Biggest Bucks and Bulls," "The Adventures of Moccasin Joe - The True Life Story of Sgt. George S. Howard," and "Putting Sheep on the Mountain," the story of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, visit her Web site at www.coloradobucksandbulls .com.

Reporter Daryl Gadbow can be reached at 523-5264 or at dgadbow@missoulian.com

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