Kristen A. Schmitt | Photos By Austin Thomas | 9.24.2019

Nontypical

Living off the land with rancher and hunter Alex Templeton.

Beneath a clear blue sky, Alex Templeton maneuvers her tractor, harrowing pastures to improve grass growth and production for the 500 cattle she raises with her father. A third-generation farmer in Polo, MO, Templeton spends the majority of her time outside: helping with calving during the spring, fixing fences, distributing hay and feed and keeping tabs on the herd from the cab of her trusty pickup truck.

But every fall, she swaps her focus from cows to whitetails, carving out time in her busy farming schedule to hunt bucks she’s cultivated through carefully managed food plots. At 26, she’s been hunting since she was old enough to hold a rifle. While her father provided her with a farming foundation and equipped her with hunting fundamentals, she’s taken both to another level. On the ranch, she’s now a partner in their cattle operation and uses her knowledge to better their business. In the field, she’s seen her dedication at researching food plots and learning the ins and outs of growing big deer pay off, especially last year when she harvested a 13-point buck on her property.
“I view hunting as my job like I do farming,” says Templeton. “I’m passionate about both and, together, they create a full circle ecosystem. The salt and minerals I put out for my cows also nourish the deer. And I try to keep a full ‘salad bar’ in my food plots to keep deer healthy and strong.”

She knows her chosen fields aren’t the most common for women, which puts her in a unique position to encourage other women to pursue hunting and farming.

“It can be very intimidating for a young woman wanting to step into a career in agriculture or pick up a bow or rifle and start hunting,” says Templeton. “But there’s a lot of people out there who will help and support women who want to do this. It’s important not to let fear stop you from giving these things a try!”

Templeton strives to be an advocate for women interested in tackling these traditionally male-dominated areas, which is what led her to her latest role with SITKA: testing and consulting on gear that she’d want to actually wear in the field. During her early hunting days, Templeton often wore her father’s hand-me-down hunting gear that didn’t fit her body or keep her warm.

“I froze, it was loud and didn’t fit worth a damn,” says Templeton, who bought her first SITKA system—a men’s small pant and jacket—in college. While it wasn’t a perfect fit, it was the first time she discovered a correlation between the gear she was wearing and the success and enjoyment of her hunts, which is why she was excited to partner with SITKA on the creation of their women’s hunting line. She worked closely with SITKA’s product designers to produce women’s clothing systems that can be tweaked depending on the season: there’s not a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to the versatility of the women’s line.

“It was created by a team that included plenty of badass women, made for the serious female hunter,” says Templeton, who continues to help create and test new pieces. “The fact that the women’s line evolves and changes means that innovation never stops. It will always improve.”