This is Toni – Owner/Founder of Heritage by Nature

I grew up in a small town named Minden, Ontario. I have 2 sisters, an older one, and a twin sister.  In 2000 my daughter and I moved to Alberta and continued to live there till 2006. I loved my time there. I was blessed with 2 daughters, Alexandria and Cassandra. I am now even more blessed with 2 beautiful granddaughters, Danika and Mackenzie. In 2012 I met Traviss and inherited 2 great step-children Keegan and Rachel.

 In 2016 I decided I was going to participate in a 12km trail race. What a  proud stepmom I was when my stepson decided to join me.    This was such an amazing experience, and to experience this with my stepson made it that much more perfect and amazing especially when we crossed the finish line together. 

Growing up in a family of outdoorsmen, my sisters and I watched and learned from my grandfathers, uncles, and my dad.  Those things they taught me have been applied to my own hunting and fishing ways.  I remember when we were kids, and my father and grandfather came back from hunting with their deer that they had harvested, and had it hanging in the tree in the yard skinning it.  My grandmother would try and keep us kids in the house while they were processing the deer outside.  Of course, I was always the one that ended up outside wanting to help and learn, watching in aww.  

The tattoo in the picture is in memory of all of them. I wasn’t old enough to go hunting with my grandfathers before they passed, which if I was giving one wish it would be to hunt with them, share that family tradition with them

Not only did the men in my life inspire who I am today, but the women in my life were also huge inspirations to me.  My grandmothers, my aunts, and my mother worked hard all their lives, they were strong women.  I remember watching them making homemade quilts.  I quickly learned how to make them and have made many so far in my life.  Another memory is sitting in my grandmother’s basement with my grandmother and my mom being taught how to put the quilting frames together and putting the fabric on the frames, and then how to tie down a quilt.  Not only did they teach me baking and quilting they also taught me canning, making jams, and pickles, which I do a lot of that now.  

We have 2 vegetable gardens and can yummy salsa, jams, pickles as well as beet pickles.  So not only does hunting and fishing get us back to our heritage but canning fruits and vegetables, and quilting all together is part of our heritage.

Everyone has different family traditions, and its amazing to hear and see them.  I wouldn’t change one tradition in my life, although I wish I would have learned at a younger age how important these were and would have cherished them way back then.  You never get time to go back to share these with the people who inspired you.  I think as I write these and remember all the things that my family did when we were younger that most of the time didn’t seem to matter back then but now means so much.

“Own Who You  Are – Be proud of your Heritage and get back to your roots 

My first Solo Hunt on our property in Oakwood.

In Spring 2017 I decided I was going to hunt turkey. Not knowing much about turkey hunting it was time for a lot of research and reading and learning about turkey hunting. I put trail cameras out all winter and patterned my turkeys. This was not an easy task, but one that I stuck with.  April 2017 finally came and turkey season was open. Feeling confident that I was ready I sat out the first 3 days and nothing. I was wondering what had I done wrong. 4th day was extremely hot and I decided to run to town first then back home.  I wasn’t feeling well that day at all, and the heat wasn’t making me feel better, but out I went to the turkey blind. I sat for 2 hrs and nothing, at this point I was thinking of giving up, I just was gonna pack up and I looked to my right and bam there was a huge tom and 2 jakes following behind, My heart was pumping so hard. I slowly raised my gun waiting for the right moment and the best shot. The tom was coming right towards me he was 7 yards away when he looked right at me, I squeezed the trigger, and down he went. I was shaking with excitement, but then I forgot everything I learned. I called Traviss because he was away, no answer. I called his dad, he answered I couldn’t talk other than saying “Big Tom down” “Big Tom Down”. He handed the phone to Traviss who congratulated me on my harvest. I tagged my bird and carried him home and waited for Traviss and his dad to return home to help me process my bird. 20 pound Tom with a 10.5-inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs was my first ever turkey. Which I had measured and my turkey scored high enough to make it into the FROW book. I was extremely proud of myself.  In 2018 I harvested 2 turkeys, and in 2019 I harvested 2 turkeys. In 2020 I was fortunate enough to turkey hunt in Quebec which you are allowed to harvest both your birds on the same day, but you can’t hunt past noon.  That day I harvested both my birds before 8 am.  The first bird was down by 5:45 am, the second one was down by 7:35 am. It was an amazing opportunity. I am hoping that my hunting continues to be successful to provide meat for my family. 

Not only do I hunt I also fish, and have been extremely lucky to fish huge salmon on Lake Ontario, had the opportunity to fish with Mike Miller of Angler and Hunter Television, as well as fish many other lakes for many species of fish.

Now that I am doing much more than just Archery it was time to rebrand, this coming up with Heritage by Nature.  I want to share my Heritage with everyone, and get people back to their Heritage, back to their roots