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Thrill of the chase ... Billie Bartlett, of Maitland, with her pig-hunting dogs, (from left) Fluffy, Nips and Tyson, who are as keen as their owner to head into the hills for a day's hunting. PHOTO: JENNY DILLNER

Some women’s hobbies may include activities such as sewing or knitting – but not in the case of Maitland woman Billie Bartlett.

In fact nothing gets her adrenaline pumping more than heading out with her man, dogs and honed knife to hunt wild pigs.

Pig hunting is Ms Bartlett’s passion and has been since she was 17.

“Just being able to get out in the middle of nowhere with my dogs and best mate is what life – and to me, freedom – is all about.

“There is something about heading out to catch a feed, being in the bush, hearing the birds and falling in love with nature all over again,” Ms Bartlett said.

For more than 30 years her best times had been when she was in the bush pig hunting.

“It was always about the bush to the plate, the dogs, and having relationships with other hunters.”

Eighteen months ago Ms Bartlett and her partner of five years bought a lifestyle block in Maitland.

“We breed our own pig dogs now and are impressed with the results.”

The dogs were trained to be “bailers”, not “holders”, which was less hard on them and the meat.

“Most important,” Ms Bartlett said.

She and her partner went hunting whenever they could.

“The weather does dictate when we go, as it can be too hot in the summer, at times, for the dogs.

“The best Christmas ever was getting up at 4am to head into the bush – we were home by 8am, before it got too hot.

“Now that was a great day.”

Hunting was not just for men, and she wanted to encourage other women and also children to give it a go, she said.

“It is important to be able to show the younger generation where their food comes from.”

Hunting for the table was something she found very satisfying.

“Personally, I will not give up until I can no longer walk.”