The Value of Female Hunters

Bighorn Outdoor Adventure Show

This past weekend, I went to the Bighorn Outdoor Adventure Show with a friend of mine.  It’s a sports and recreation show with over a hundred booths for all things hunting, fishing, and outdoors related.  I didn’t go for any specific item.  I mainly wanted to look around and see what was there.

One of our last stops was at a booth for an app that tells you if the land you’re on is public or private.  Several people have mentioned this app to me before and said it’s a great tool to use when hunting.  I’ve seriously considered purchasing this app knowing that I’ll likely be hunting on public land this year.  So I was happy that we found the company’s booth.

The man working at the booth overheard me saying I was interested in the app and walked over.  Immediately, he focused his attention on my male friend.  He gave him the whole sales pitch, not even glancing my direction.  I was pretty taken aback.

Part of me wanted to stop him mid-sentence to say, “Hello!!  Hi!  Interested, potential customer over this way!”  Instead, I just stood there waiting to see if he would include me in the conversation.

He never did.

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Failure to Launch: Learning How To Fish

Female Hunter Fishing

For this post, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to the time when my then boyfriend taught me how to fish.  It’s a tale of frustration and triumph.  I can’t help but laugh every time I think back to how ridiculous we must’ve looked out there trying to fish in the dark.

To set the stage, I’ve only had two real fishing experiences growing up.  The first was when I was 4 years old and we were using my dad’s super secret bait—beans and cheese.  I’m sure you’re surprised to learn it didn’t work and we caught no fish.  The second experience was when I was a 14 year old who wanted nothing to do with forced family bonding time.  We spent a few hours at a lake, but no one caught a fish then either.  This meant, I had never dealt with actually catching a fish.

Fast-forward to now.  My boyfriend at the time tells me we’re going fishing this weekend.  I was excited.  I hadn’t been in over a decade and wanted to learn more about his favorite hobby.  With the word “weekend,” I assumed we were going Saturday morning.  He, however, had other ideas.  Night fishing, his favorite.  When we got to the lake, the sun was setting and I took in how pretty it was.  We had a secluded lake out in the country all to ourselves.  It seemed like it would be a good night of fishing.  We started setting up our spot, getting out the lantern and spotlight for when the sun went down.  We covered ourselves with bug spray since the bugs were out in swarms.  Pro tip: Don’t get bug spray on your lips, they get all numb and tingly.  Plus it tastes repulsive.

My first task was to learn how to bait the hook with worms.  I’ve never had a problem with worms.  Digging in the dirt at recess was pretty normal growing up.  My friends and I heard if you cut them in half they’d grow back whole, so obviously we had to experiment.  Young curious minds!  This meant grabbing a worm to put on the hook wasn’t bad… until I stabbed it on the hook and the thing squirmed between my fingers.  I’m sure I’d squirm too if someone was trying to poke me with a hook!  But I had a job to do, and after a little bit of finagling the worm was securely on the hook.

The next lesson, how to cast the line.  This I vaguely knew and was decent at, if memory served me right.  Well… my memory was wrong, very wrong.  My boyfriend said to cast it straight in front of me.  I brought my arm back, then forward and let go of the line with my finger…  and watched it as it veered far to the right, almost into a bunch of lily pads.  I can’t tell you what happened, other than I wasn’t the best and my boyfriend really didn’t like the line being that close to the lily pads.  I tried again, carefully focusing on what I needed to do.  This time, the line actually went straight!  And right smack dab in the water a mere three feet from my shoes.  In a nutshell, I was awful.  By this point, the sun had nearly set and the night sky was becoming our only light.

For some reason, I couldn’t grasp the concept of letting the line out slowly.  I say it’s because I couldn’t see what I was doing.  My boyfriend maintained he could see great in the dark, unfortunately I’m not equipped with the natural gift of night vision.  My boyfriend was annoyed that I either let the line out too fast or wasn’t holding the reel correctly to let it out.  I can’t tell you what I was doing because I couldn’t see the seemingly foreign object in my hand.  The realization started to sink in—I knew nothing about fishing.

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Taking A Woman Hunting? Avoid These Mistakes!

There’s a great article I found on the Realtree website, “12 Mistakes Men Make When Hunting With Women.”  It’s worth a read!  I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement at some of the so-called “mistakes.”  Reading some of the examples, I remembered experiences I had with hunting and fishing.  Looking at the comment section, it’s clear this is a heated topic that not all women agree on.  Personally, I’ve only encountered a few of these, but it’s easy to see how they can happen.  The main takeaway is that one bad experience while learning something new can discourage a person from continuing to learn.  That applies to men and women in all aspects of life.  This article highlights some examples women might experience when hunting with men that could take away their interest in hunting.

Two mistakes stuck out to me and related to experiences I’ve gone through.

1.  “Displaying lack of patience.”
This was a problem I dealt with when a boyfriend was teaching me how to fish.  I hadn’t been since I was a little kid, so almost everything was new to me.  When he came over with all of his fishing gear, I was excited to spend the day out at the lake learning.  But when he said, “We’re going right now!” at 8pm, I was caught off guard and got a little nervous.  I asked if he was sure this would be a good time for me to learn and he assured me it was.  He said night fishing was his absolute favorite.

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My First Hunting Trip

Country Huntress Hunting Trip

Last fall, I joined my dad and brother on their yearly hunting trip.  To say I was excited is an understatement!  In the months leading up to November, my dreams were filled with different hunting scenarios.  My brother drew a late season buck tag, which meant our trip would be in November instead of October’s general season.  While my brother hunted deer, my dad and I were going to hunt upland birds.  I was hoping to get at least a pheasant.

We left on a Friday and halfway into the drive I realized that I had forgotten my hunting boots.  I had carefully placed them next to my door to be sure I wouldn’t forget them.  Whoops!  I only had the Nikes on my feet and knew those weren’t going to work being mostly mesh.  When we got to town to buy food for the weekend, I ran (yes, literally ran) to the closest retail store as my dad and brother shopped for food.  I bought the cheapest pair of boots and by some miracle, I didn’t get one blister the entire weekend.  My feet hurt, that’s for sure, but no blisters.

We decided that if you have to buy a pair of boots to wear immediately, buy the cheap ones because there isn’t nice, stiff leather to break in.  It’s possible that’s completely wrong, but I don’t know how else I didn’t get a single blister walking the entire weekend in a brand new pair of boots.  After my forgotten boots fiasco was fixed, we headed to camp with a food stocked RV.  The sun was setting when we arrived so unfortunately there was no time for scouting after we set up.  We went to bed early to be ready for the long day ahead.

My alarm went off at 5am on Saturday.  Instead of hitting snooze like I normally do, I was wide awake and full of excitement for the day.  After eating a quick breakfast, we grabbed our gear and headed out for the day.  My dad and brother have hunted this land for decades but last year it went through some changes.  My brother went to the main part of the hill to start deer hunting.  My dad wanted to show me the land as we started bird hunting.  We took off for a patch of brush on a hill in the distance.  Walking on tilled dirt definitely isn’t my favorite, it’s harder than it looks!  After twenty minutes of walking, we arrived at the brush and tried flushing birds out.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a buck out in the field that took off over a ridge.

A little while later, we saw three deer come over the ridge and go down into an area with a small stream running through it.  My dad decided we should walk to that area and see if the deer had bedded down near the stream.  If we found them, they might run up the hill toward my brother.  I don’t even know how to describe the excitement I had seeing those deer.  All I knew is that I couldn’t wait for next year when I was able to go for my own deer.  Keeping the wind in our faces, we made the long trek to the back of the ridge.  As we rounded the corner, we found the stream and it was no longer surrounded by vegetation.  There were no deer in sight.  We headed up toward the main hill to see if my brother had any success.  We logged about 10 miles walking that day all over the land.

One patch of brush was over half a mile long, my dad walked the top and I walked the base.  After a few minutes of walking, one doe sprang from the brush and took off.  A little further down, my dad was looking off in the distance when an animal got up and darted past him.  I couldn’t quite tell what it was because it happened so quick, but then three big, dark bodies stood up with their backs turned to me.  When their ears perked up, I realized they were coyotes and they all took off running within feet from my dad.  He only saw two run by and was a bit surprised to say the least!  Toward the end of the brush, another doe jumped out and took off in the same direction the others had.  I thought it was so interesting to see what all was hiding in the brush mere yards from each other.

By the end of the day we jumped two sets of birds.  Unfortunately, we weren’t really trying to flush them out when it happened so we weren’t set up for a good shot either time.  I learned the importance of always being ready.  My brother saw a four point buck but didn’t have a good shot at him.  As the sun was setting, we called it a day.

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