Peggy Vallery

Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.
Occupation: Businesswoman, hunting/conservation activist
Family: Three children, five grandchildren
Interests: Big game hunting

Meeting Peggy Vallery for the first time, one could readily accept the fact that she is past president of the Tucson Opera Dames and served on the Arizona Opera Company's Board of Directors. What you might not be able to believe is that she's an accomplished hunter and conservationist who is highly respected in the hunting industry. She has hunted all over the world (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America) and is a true ambassador for women hunters everywhere.

Vallery has completed 15 big game African safaris where she has bagged 70 African species, including the bongo (the most sought after trophy in Africa), leopard, lion, cape buffalo, sable and white rhino. And she was the first woman to take an elephant in southwest Africa.

Vallery's experiences in Europe include taking a world record Spanish Ibex and being the first American woman to hunt Bulgaria. She not only took a fine trophy Roe deer there but also stayed in the hunting lodge of President Kruschev and attended the opera with the top-ranking general of Bulgaria, General Christo Rouskov, and his wife.

In August of 1981, Peggy was allowed to hunt the People's Republic of China on one of the first two individual visas to enter China, making her the first Western woman to hunt in that country. As in Bulgaria and Spain, Chinese officials honored her at a dinner including many local delicacies. She has also traveled to Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo to speak about her extensive hunting experiences.

A resident of Tucson, Ariz., Vallery also hunts and fishes closer to home and has taken many game and fish trophies in the U.S. and Mexico. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Wild Turkey Federation; Grand National Waterfowl Hunt Club; Safari Club International, Arizona Chapter; Quail Unlimited; and serves on the Arizona Governor's Off Highway Vehicle Advisory Group as a governor's appointment. Vallery also organized the first Arizona Women in the Outdoors event and actively supports and participates in events throughout the Southwest.

She is actively involved in the politics of protecting our rights to bear arms and hunt. She represented the NWTF at Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus events in Washington, D.C., and started and raised funds for the Safari Club International Political Action Committee.

Vallery's commitment to hunting and conservation is only part of her active life. She is a successful businesswoman (a former corporate efficiency expert), mother of three children and grandmother to five, active in cultural and political affairs throughout Arizona, yet she still finds time to enjoy her home in Tucson.

A walk through Vallery's lovely home is not complete without a thrilling tour of her trophy room. The room is impressive by the number and variety of trophy mounts, the beauty of the game but maybe most of all by the sophisticated, soft-spoken, friendly woman who calmly describes the often terrifying experiences surrounding the taking of each animal. She downplays any discussions about the hardships of her hunting trips, though one can be sure there were many. But she does admit with a small laugh, "Well, I was a little scared once when my guide told me to shoot anything that came through the door of my tent!"

Later, Vallery sits on her patio, enjoying the beautiful roses that surround her yard and watching and listening as quail sound their assembly call to gather in a covey surrounding her home. Her love of the outdoors is evident as she talks about "her" quail and the mountain lions that often prowl the upper edge of her backyard.

Q&A With Peggy

What hunting trophy are you most proud of?
"I am most proud of my accomplishments because of the time I accomplished them. Not many women in the late 1970s and 80s were hunting the species in the places that I did. I am also proud that I've been able to introduce so many women to the outdoors and to hunting, to give them some of the opportunities that I had."

What accomplishment in others do you admire most?
"Well, I used to say going to Africa for the first time. Now I say going turkey hunting for the first time. I've said many times turkey hunting doesn't even compare to hunting in Africa. It is the most exciting hunting I've done��hearing turkeys gobble and seeing them strutting around��wow! In fact, I told a television reporter in Kansas (following the Kansas Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt) that if men would put that much effort into impressing women, they would never have trouble getting a date!"

[story and photo courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation]