by Anna Ferraro
A first-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary, Tanell Anders fosters a passion a bit unusual for her female peers – hunting. That’s right – deer stands, cold mornings, long waits, heavy gear, elusive trails, a good kill – in her own words, she loves “all of it.”
Growing up in the country just outside of Murrayville, Anders has always loved spending time in the outdoors, fishing, four-wheeling and working with her dad. She clearly remembers the morning of her first hunt. Just six years old at the time, she recalled her excitement of waking up early and quietly approaching the deer stand. And ever since then, she’s been hooked.
Returning to the area from college in 2008, she soon began teaching full-time at Eisenhower. With her return to her old stomping grounds, her passion for hunting returned, as well. This time, not just deer hunting – she added waterfowl.
Anders says, “I love the process … the getting up early, the whole anticipation of the hunt. You don’t always have the best hunting days, but it’s about getting ready and getting out there.”
When she’s not in her deer stand or hunting waterfowl, she’s probably in her classroom, where she finds creative ways to beneficially convey her passion to her students. She says that many of them are “not from more rural areas, so they can’t believe their teacher hunts.” For those students, seeing is believing – and Anders has made sure to mount several ducks on the walls in her classroom.
One of the biggest challenges of hunting for Anders is her lack of female companions in the field. She says, “It makes it difficult – it’s definitely a more male-dominant sport.” Through her work as a committee member of the NRA and Ducks Unlimited, she hopes to see that gradually change.
When asked about the greatest benefits she sees for the hobby, she responded, “the conservation of our land” – explaining that many of the funds procured through permits and tags benefit the conservation of natural resources. She also loves what she called the “self-sufficiency aspect” – she can’t imagine not having a pile of deer burger in the freezer!
In closing, Anders shared from her heart, “Make sure you take kids hunting. Get them away from video games; get them out in nature, looking, listening and learning – all those things. It’s important for them, it’s important for our land, and it’s important for our right to bear arms.”