By Rick Pedersen –  Finding a passion for the outdoors can occur at any age, and the inspirational story of Dana Sacia is a great example to prove that point.

Dana is a self-described city girl gone country. She was born and raised in the city and graduated in 1993. Four years later, she was able to move to the country and experience the difference country life has to offer. It was not until her son turned 12 years old and expressed an interest in getting his hunter safety certificate, that she thought about hunting. Both her boys had enjoyed small game hunting on their property, and she was happy for them, but did not understand their passion or interests. She decided to join her son in Hunter Safety class, in hopes of bonding more with her son while getting an insight into their affairs. She initially thought that turkey hunting might be an excellent way to introduce herself to the sport, but later decided she would try whitetail hunting instead. Her husband had built a hunting shack for her, and it was there her fire for an outdoor passion would begin. She expressed the first time she climbed up the ladder and sat in the shack. It was much like a transformative spiritual experience. Suddenly her chaotic day-to-day business life melted away, and she sat in awe as she observed the beauty of nature in a way she never experienced before. Watching the wildlife before her was a mesmerizing sight, and captured her interest so strongly that she did not even think about shooting the animals. Most noticeably, she recalled a magnificent 10-point buck and how his presence conveyed that he was the master of this domain as he interacted with smaller deer. The fawns, does, and turkeys were a joy to behold as they displayed themselves before her. Eventually, the sunset painted a masterpiece in the sky, and she thought to herself that she had indeed found an activity to channel her newfound passion for the outdoors. Surprisingly, she did not harvest that 10-point buck, but instead set a goal of finding an even bigger deer. It took three years to accomplish that goal and harvest an impressive 11-point stud.

Meanwhile, she spent a lot of time in the woods, observing, learning about the surroundings, and setting goals about things that she wanted to accomplish in her life. This taught her the skill of patience, and that led her to learn the art of bowhunting. Each goal that was achieved meant creating another goal, and her passion grew. A bucket list item was to travel out West and harvest a mule deer, which she performed by yourself with the aid of an outfitter in Wyoming. The pursuit of her goals lead to some disappointing hunts, but each one presented a lesson to her. Instead of being discouraged, she used the knowledge to accomplish the next target.

Life is much like hunting, and our path is full of challenges. Dana found her marriage ending in divorce, but that did not stop her passion for the outdoors. She not only wished to continue hunting, but also share the enjoyment with her sons. The duties of land caretakers were now passed on to her for managing the parcel of land she would receive. Many things were not known, and sometimes the learning curve can be steep for someone seeking knowledge.

Discovering her outdoor passion in her late 30s, left plenty of room for catching up and gaining knowledge. The questions were answered with the creation of Hunting 4 Connections. In creating her Facebook group, she was very transparent, and upfront in letting people know her intentions were to gain knowledge about things she previously knew nothing about. Although the Internet can be a harsh place to ask questions, she was very well received, and the group had snowballed. The idea was based on the power of connections.

The collective knowledge of the group was increased proportionately to the number of members. Relationships bring introductions to new links, and as the process continues, everyone learns more. In the beginning, the group was predominantly male, but as the group grew, more females had been welcomed into the group to form a large extended family. Everyone is very willing to help each other, and Dana was proud to say the group has a strong membership of 30,000 like minded enthusiasts.

Dana is a firm believer in creating value where possible and always giving back to others while sharing her own passions. Her motto is “it pays to be a member of H4C”.

Recently with the help of her sons, she had created a dating app that is also called Hunting 4 Connections. It was a tribute to honor the original Facebook page and all the members that had shared information while helping each other. She realized that the outdoors experience changed lives, and each person may be looking for something different. The dating page members found friends, dating, relationships, and activity partners. It is acknowledged that while some may be looking for love, others may only be ready for friends or activity partners.

Dana feels blessed to be part of a large extended family in the outdoor community and intends to increase the presence of both platforms to help everyone build connections while sharing with others. As each goal is accomplished, it fuels a push to reach the next target. She enjoys helping other people as well as nonprofits or other charitable groups. A lifelong dream would be to create a domestic abuse safe house to honor her own mother’s struggle with these challenges throughout her life.

The story of Hunting 4 Connections and this creation is genuinely inspiring, and I have no doubt that Dana has accomplished and will surpass any goal she set her sights on.

The projects are a great credit to the outdoors field and those with similar passions. You are never too old to pursue passions or find love wherever you seek it.