Charita Niedermeyer: Breaking stereotypes, cultivating innercity women hunters

| May 13, 2014
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley

By Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley:  I’ve seen pictures of you fishing, hunting with a bow and arrow and shooting birds with a shotgun. This is somewhat untypical.

Charita Niedermeyer

Charita Niedermeyer

Charita Niedermeyer:  If you go back in my history, I’m from what people call the mean streets of Gary, Ind.  Gary is real close to Chicago.  So we’re very citified in Gary. When you tell someone from Gary about shotguns and the outdoors, they’re probably going to think “who are you going to shoot tonight?”  With fishing, you might have some in Gary who do fish.  But when it comes to hunting, not so much.  When you fast forward to my life today, I am fishing and hunting. I learned that from my husband while we were dating.  He’s a big outdoorsman.

Hackley: What is the largest animal you’ve killed?

Niedermeyer: A whitetail deer.

Hackley: Did you suffer any psychological trauma?

Niedermeyer: Once you shoot and kill an animal, you must remember we all have a creator.  God created us as human beings and He also created the wildlife, plants and everything this earth contains. A lot of people think, “oh well, you probably don’t feel sad. When you shoot a deer you probably jump up and down in joy.”  That’s not true.  I feel sad because I am taking a life, but I am also providing for my family.  It’s like a rejoice that I can do this on my own and I know where my food is coming from.

Hackley: When you go duck hunting, do you use an Uzi or AK47? I ask that because gun enthusiasts always say they use assault rifles for duck hunting. What kind of assault rifle do you use?

Niedermeyer: I don’t use an assault rifle because I’m not assaulting anyone. The media loves to turn and twist things. Anything you use can be considered an assault weapon.  Technically, you can say a knife is an assault knife, but that’s the media for you.  When I hunt, I use a shotgun for bird hunting.  For deer hunting, I use a bow and arrow and sometimes a .50 caliber muzzleloader.

Hackley: How did you obtain a mastery of the bow and arrow?

Niedermeyer: I can’t say I’ve really mastered anything because there have been times when I’ve missed.  I used a bow and arrow last year when I went to Kansas on a turkey hunt and I missed a turkey. The year before that, I shot at a turkey twice. The first shot hit him in the butt, the second shot went over his head.  So I can’t say that I’ve necessarily mastered it yet. I’m still working on it.  With a bow and arrow, it’s a lot harder because there’s a lot more focus when it comes to archery. But I’ve missed things with guns too. It just takes practice and that’s true with anything.

Hackley:  I understand you’re in a hurry to get back home because you’ve got something really tasty brewing on your stove. Something that makes my mouth just water. Goose stew. How did you become introduced to a dish like this?

Niedermeyer: Again, it goes back to my husband. He knows a lot of these recipes and he introduced me to it.  However on the world wide web, you can pretty much find a recipe for just about anything you may want by going to Google. So if you happen to shoot a goose or duck, deer, turkey, rabbit or whatever, you’re bound to find a recipe on the internet somewhere.

Hackley: What is the smallest animal you’ve killed and eaten?

Niedermeyer: A morning dove or woodcock. They’re both birds.

Hackley: They’re about the size of a pigeon?

Niedermeyer: A little bit smaller.

Hackley:  And they have a good taste?

Niedermeyer: An excellent taste.

Hackley: I’ve been always curious about this. You can’t really eat birds like robins because I guess they don’t have a good flavor?

Niedermeyer: No. The fish and wildlife association sets forth what kind of animals are classified as game, and robins or cardinals don’t qualify. Neither do red tail hawks and turkey vultures.

Hackley: There are many General Motors people here from Wisconsin. If there’s one thing Wisconsin people like to eat, it’s bear.  Have you gone bear hunting yet?

Niedermeyer:  Probably not. Anything that can chase me away, I don’t have any interest in hunting. I’d rather be the predator and not the prey. I have no ambition to go bear hunting.  I’ll try bear steak, but only if someone else gets it.

Hackley: How did you get accustomed to deer?

Niedermeyer: Deer is not too foreign from beef. The thing about a lot of wild game, goose being the exception, most wild game is fat free. That’s because they’re actually eating a lean diet, unlike our pigs, chickens, cows being fed steroids and nasty stuff to plump them up. Obviously with wild game, you don’t have that problem.  They’re wild and there’s no one feeding them so they’re on a very lean diet which means their meat will be very lean. When you grind up deer meat for burritos, tacos, spaghetti, manwich or whatever, you’ll notice there’s no grease in the skillet whatsoever.  So it’s a very lean diet. You can lose a lot of weight by eating wild game.

Hackley: What do you want to say to young women who have never thought about hunting and fishing?

Charita Niedermeyer is an enthusiastic hunter.

Charita Niedermeyer is an enthusiastic hunter.

Niedermeyer: Basically, what I tell my family and friends is, using myself as an example, I’ve kind of broken the stereotype. There are a lot of black hunters, maybe not in this part of the country, but I’m meeting more people from the south where that’s pretty much the norm.

Black women hunters and outdoorswomen is something I’m working on. That’s where the organization that I’m a part of, the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation)
has different outreach events to get new people interested in the outdoors, whether it’s hunting or fishing. And it shows people that all guns are not bad. You don’t just use guns to shoot people.

One of the outreach programs that I run is called “Women in the Outdoors.”  This will be my 9th year as coordinator.  My event will be on June 14 and will be located at the Izaak Walton League which is just north of Fort Wayne in Huntertown, Ind.  It’s for women and girls 12 and over.  I’ve even attracted black women from the Chicago area.  They come and enjoy themselves, shoot, fish and some have even got into hunting. I have one gal who can’t wait to get her own dog because I took he pheasant hunting.  So now she and her husband are ready to move on to the next level.

My goal with this program is to reach the innercity Fort Wayne women, whether they’re minority, African American, Asian, Latino whatever. Even innercity white women who may not have been exposed to hunting. When you think of hunting you think about people who live out in the country and corn.

Obviously with me, that’s not the case anymore. I live right here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I don’t listen to country music and I don’t like car racing or any of that stereotypical stuff. And I am now a hunter and fisher-woman and I love it. It’s a great way to provide for your family and you know where your food is coming from. It’s also a lot of fun to get out into the outdoors.  God created this earth, so we need to learn how to use it and not be cooped up in the house all day watching soap operas.

So I urge any woman or girl 12 and over to come to our event and we have all sorts of classes, not just hunting and fishing.  Self defense is a great class that I think every woman needs to participate in. We also have pistol classes if you’re thinking about carrying a pistol. We want you to be smart with guns and we teach all that.

For more information, contact Charita Niedermeyer or call (260) 484-6041.

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer. His interviews can be seen at HackonomicsTV on YouTube. His book “Kekionga Blacks: War on His-Story & Slave Mentality” is available on and at The Bookmark, located at 3420 N. Anthony Blvd.,Fort Wayne, IN 46805. For questions and comments, Mr. Hackley can be contacted at

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Category: Features, Local, Special Reports

About the Author ()

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at

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