Whitney Klenzendorf – One Naturally Inclined Lady
One thing every Texas dove hunter shares is a deep-seated devotion to all things outdoors. Quite simply, if he or she doesn’t like “connecting” with the wild, they’d better find a different sport. For Whitney Klenzendorf, a third-generation bird hunter and all-around outdoorswoman, happily spending lots of quality time in the countryside, interacting with (and, often in pursuit of) the native fauna, is well, “second nature.”
And, as an outgrowth of this affinity for the field acquired over an active lifetime, Whitney, by blending her love of shooting with her intense appreciation for the environment, finds herself gladly in the forefront of being able to offer, personally and professionally, encouragement to others also “naturally inclined” in conserving, preserving and simply, enjoying our native lands to their fullest – which, definitely includes dove hunting.
Born into an active, outdoor-oriented family that sought adventure away from the “big city,” Whitney spent her childhood backpacking, kayaking, fishing and definitely, hunting, across the state but especially, on her grandfather’s treasured South Texas Farm. Both her mother and grandfather were regular “shooters” and, as a result, an encouraged young Whitney “soon joined the fun” on many familial hunts. And, while pretty much self-trained, (as she recalls, “I was certainly taught gun safety by my family but the rest was simply, ‘watch and learn.’ ”) she soon proved herself to be quite a markswoman even competing in numerous skeet shooting tourneys. More importantly, during these early years out and about, Whitney’s curiosity was “sparked” with the “workings of the natural world.” After a stint in the Texas Brigades, a much lauded wildlife and natural resource-focused program for teens, this inquisitiveness developed into a true “passion.”
Later, earning a degree from Texas A&M in renewable natural resources followed by work as a congressional aide in Washington, DC with a focus on conservation then, back to her home state to help First Lady Laura Bush launch and develop her environmentally-aimed Texan by Nature initiative, Whitney became the recognized and respected advocate she is today regarding best-use practices (private and public) for our undeveloped lands. With her varied personal background, educational and work experiences and, her unabashed zeal for the untamed, she is extremely well suited for this role. Currently, Whitney writes a popular blog (www.whitswilderness.com) targeting women and offering guidance on hunting, hiking, camping, game cooking and skeet shooting. As she offers, its primary mission is to, “pass on my love of the outdoors (including dove hunting) and see the same spark light up in others,” and, she’s very good at doing just that!
For Whitney, no matter what her involvements, being able to “stay close to the land” is paramount. While currently living in Austin, she and her husband (who she introduced to dove hunting and now, he’s totally hooked!) have taken over the operation of her grandfather’s farm where so many memories were made. And, while it’s a “working property”, as she relates, “One of our favorite activities there will always be dove hunting because it’s something we can share with friends, family members – and, at some point, our children and grandchildren as well. Our vision for this farm is to use it as an introduction point between people and hunting while, ‘naturally,’ stressing the importance of being good stewards of the land.”
But, when specifically considering the joys of dove hunting (whether solely with her husband, mother or a friend or, in a large group) Whitney happily states, “It really is just the right combination of peacefulness, serenity, and socializing, but of course, mixed with a lot of periodic excitement too. Who wouldn’t want some of that?”
By Ernie Altgelt