VANCOUVER, Wash. – Christa Schmitt was one city girl who took to the great outdoors with no problem when life found her living among the fields, rivers and woods of Oregon and Washington state. Schmitt, now vice president of human resources at iQ Credit Union in Vancouver, has been hunting with her husband, John, and then their sons and grandson for even longer than she has been with the credit union, about 27 years. A native of the Bronx, N.Y. – “Not much bird hunting there,” she observes – Schmitt took up the shooting sport after her husband, a Wisconsin native who grew up in the out-of-doors, took a job in nearby Portland, Ore., some 36 years ago. “He took up hunting again and I was home with the kids, and I told him I’d like to do something, too,” Schmitt recalls. “So he asked me to try duck hunting with him. I did and it was fun, and we’ve been doing it ever since.” Hunting for waterfowl and pheasant quickly became a family affair, the veteran iQCU staffer says. “Both our sons hunt and they started out with us as brush beaters and bird carriers. We also have always had dogs, including the two labs we have now,” she says. When she started afield, women hunters were a bit of a rare sighting, Schmitt says, but that’s less the case now. “You see a lot more,” she says, adding that “I’ve always enjoyed hunting, being outside and all that, and I think maybe the best thing I like to watch is how the dogs work, how good they are at finding birds in the weeds that we would never be able to find.” So, how does her experience in hunting wild birds help her handle the challenges of working with the staff of a 170-employee, $298 million credit union? “Well, you learn patience, I guess,” she replies. “That would be the big thing.” Schmitt still hunts but is down to about six times a season instead of nearly every weekend. “I spend a little more time at home now,” she says. “And I’ve taken up quilting. One of my favorites is one of Canada geese nesting on a little island.” And she also is easing into her “retirement” in other ways. “I still shoot a 12-gauge, but I’ve got a 20-gauge shotgun in reserve for my old age,” Schmitt says with a chuckle. “But I’m not there yet.” [email protected]

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