Dr. Price is often asked by people she meets, “How did you get involved in hunting?”
Early one morning in May 1983, Bill Weiss walked into her office to see if he could have his hearing tested. At the time, Dr. Price was sitting barefoot on the floor with a paint brush in her hand. She had opened her office several months earlier and was still putting the finishing touches on the construction. Bill reported an extensive history of noise exposure from his favorite pastime, hunting.
All her life she had wanted to hunt, but her father didn’t hunt, her brother didn’t hunt, and when she married, her husband didn’t hunt. Of course, girls didn’t hunt anyway, did they?
As Dr. Price began working with Bill and his hearing loss, he shared stories and pictures of his hunting expeditions. She had never known anyone who had been to Africa on a safari. Her only exposure had been in movies and documentaries. Bill had not only been to Africa but Spain, Argentina, Alaska, and other exotic destinations in the pursuit of animals.
Bill shared stories of tiger, elephant, spiral horned antelope, and rhino hunts. He was always talking about the Dallas Safari Club. Bill talked to Carla Peterman and Ginny Etheridge (convention organizers) about letting Dr. Price exhibit at the 1986 Annual Event. She was accepted, given a booth, conducted hearing screenings, and sold ear protection.
Every year thereafter, Hearing Professional Center had a booth at the convention. Dr. Price has displayed all kinds of products and devices for hearing impaired people. She has tried to encourage hunters to wear shooting protection. Twenty-two years later, she sees how far we have come in protecting ears from noise exposure.
In June 1991, Dr. Price was asked to join the DSC as a member. There were very few female members at that time, and she was honored to have been asked. She realized you cannot hang around hunting people without taking up the sport yourself. She was actively involved in the Ladies Luncheon when it first began. During one of the early years, she went in with three other women to buy a safari in South Africa with Conrod Vermoch. She thought she better learn how to shoot if she was going on safari.
For the next year Dr. Price practiced shooting a Browning .22 with a Leupold 3.5×10 scope. After going through two bricks of shells and grouping her shots in a one-inch pattern, she picked up a larger gun. She was handed a 300 Weatherby, which knocked her off her feet. She soon realized what kick meant!
Once Dr. Price knew she could shoot, she needed to know if she could kill an animal. At a DSC monthly meeting, she bought a blackbuck antelope hunt at the 777 Ranch in Hondo. So, Halloween weekend in 1990, she gathered up her courage and drove to the hill country of Texas.
Upon arriving at the 777 Lodge, she was warmly greeted and shown to her room. Her guide for the weekend was patient, respectful, and very encouraging. They drove all over the ranch looking for the blackbuck, and, of course, saw everything but. The few blackbuck they did see were not within shooting distance. As the day began to wane, they spotted a buck a the top of a sendero at about 300 yards. When her guide asked if she wanted to take this buck she said, “Sure, but tell me what to do.” She had no idea about distance, wind, uphill, etc. All she knew was how to hit the bulls eye. The buck was standing broadside and her guide told her where to put the cross hairs. Dr. Price did as she was told, and squeezed off the shot and the buck collapsed. She started shaking so badly she could not move. She sat down and tears began falling. Dr. Price had done something she had dreamed about since she was a child. She was now a hunter.
Dr. Price completed the weekend with two other critters: a Russian boar and a Axis deer. Look out, Africa!
Dr. Price has been fortunate to go on many hunts since that fall weekend and hopes to have many more opportunities. She went back to South Africa in July 2009 for a leopard. She has decided that she might as well just do it. She might even be looking for an elk hunt or maybe a Yukon moose.
Dr. Price says, “Thank you, Bill Weiss and Dallas Safari Club, for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream.”
And when Dr. Price is not hunting….we have her working at the Center.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Price has donated countless hours, 400 hearing aids, 200,000 batteries, and more than $60,000 in medical equipment to benefit low-income, hearing-impaired children and adults. She founded Deaf Services International in 1986 for children in Mexico. She worked with the Rio Negro Foundation in 2003 to test and treat natives along the Amazon River. Dr. Price says, “I entered this profession to help improve lives through better hearing and better hearing protection. I want to continue helping others, particularly those who cannot afford hearing aids.”