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.
According to Census Bureau Statistics, women currently make up 11% of all U.S. hunters. From 2006 to 2011, the number of female hunters rose by 25%. More and more women are becoming involved in hunting and guess what, we’re going to be buying a lot of products that men buy. The average hunter spends $1,638 every year (National Hunting and Fishing Day).
Maybe we don’t look like your typical customer, but our money looks just the same. That company lost a potential $100 sale because their employee failed to acknowledge the female hunter right in front of him. Worse, I now have a pretty poor view of the company and will look elsewhere when I do end up purchasing a GPS hunting app.
As we walked away, my friend commented, “It’s funny you were the one that said you were interested in it, but then he never even talked to you.” Sadly, I knew the reason. He was male, I was female. In that employee’s mind, the female standing before him had no use for the app.
I did actually consider making myself a part of the conversation, but stopped when I realized it’s his job to sell me the product, not my job to make him realize I’m a potential customer. The power of being a consumer is choosing where you spend your money and in that moment, I knew I’d rather give my money to another company.
If companies fail to see the value of female customers, they really are the ones losing out at the end of the day.
Have any of you female hunters dealt with something similar? It can be frustrating, to say the least! How did you deal with it? Comment below and share your experience!
11 thoughts on “The Value of Female Hunters”
Even just doing things in the backcountry on my own, I’ve experienced this kind of treatment over and over again.
How do we create a collective voice in a room full of men who have created a culture of dismissal? This is definitely something to think about. And bully for you on not acquiescing and buying the app anyway. You should make the name of the app public so the company can address this within their ranks, there’s nothing rude or demeaning about honesty.
Thanks for writing this piece, it’s important! And not just in the world of hunting 🙂 Woman are not second-class citizens, and we shouldn’t be treated as such! Sorry you had to go through this!
That’s a great question, Nicole! I wish I had the answer for it because it’s definitely something that needs to change!
I’ve emailed the company and will post an update with what they say. I’m sincerely hoping this is the view of just one employee and not the company as a whole.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I think starting a discussion is the first step to bring about change. You’re right that it’s in all areas, not just hunting. Hopefully this post brings men some awareness about what women often go through.
Things where I live are slightly different- a *lot* of women in Wisconsin hunt. However, I still face people talking to my fiance instead of me, and pink camo. Don’t even get me started on the surprise when I purchase tags by myself. I think the solution is to keep on keeping on. Buy the things from decent companies that sell what you want, avoid the ones that don’t. Speak up over and over again, whether among guys in meatspace, or online through written complaint forms and blogs. As long as female hunters are seen as a marginal group, or a bunch of decorations, nothing will change
I think your solution is great! We should definitely keep on keeping on. You’re completely right women should speak up in any way they can. Hopefully the view of female hunters will shift sooner than later. I hope that if I have a daughter one day, things will be different by the time she’d be hunting.
Thank you for sharing your experiences! It’s great hearing from women in other states. I wish I could say Washington has a lot of women who hunt, but it looks like we all run into similar problems no matter where we are.
I’ve had a similar experience and gave them a chance but when not acknowledged, I politely let them know at that moment, that I was the one who was looking at the product and because I wasn’t taken seriously as a huntress they lost a big sale. With a smile, I politely warned them there are many women needing hunting supplies and to adjust their attitude accordingly in the future. I sometimes feel that some people are like kids or dogs… you kinda have to correct them in the moment for it to stick. And in the same token, we as strong female hunters can’t be bitter… just smile and help them be more aware. We are ambassadors for the next gal who needs hunting gear. Help that next huntress have a nice sales experience and leave the saleperson with a pleasant impression of women hunters. 😉
That’s a great way to go about it! Correcting them in the moment for it to stick makes a lot of sense. I love that you said we’re ambassadors for the next gal who needs hunting gear, it’s true and we should all be doing what we can to help each other out.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! This was also a learning experience for me and after reading what you all have said, I feel more confident about handling this the next time it happens. The company responded to my email last week and they were very apologetic. I’m supposed to hear from a couple more people in the company and then I’ll make my follow up post. I’m glad that I spoke up through email, but next time I’ll plan to do it as it’s happening in person.
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Reblogged this on Iowa Huntress.com and commented:
I’ve had a similar experience and gave them a chance but when not acknowledged, I politely let them know at that moment, that I was the one who was looking at the product and because I wasn’t taken seriously as a huntress they lost a big sale. With a smile, I politely warned them there are many women needing hunting supplies and to adjust their attitude accordingly in the future. I sometimes feel that some people are like kids or dogs… you kinda have to correct them in the moment for it to stick. And in the same token, we as strong female hunters can’t be bitter… just smile and help them be more aware. We are ambassadors for the next gal who needs hunting gear. Help that next huntress have a nice sales experience and leave the saleperson with a pleasant impression of women hunters.
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As a former teacher of firearm safety here in Washington, at least in my classes we encouraged the young girls and woman to part of what used to be thought of as a mans world. But I gave equal encouragement to both woman and men/girls and boys. It is important that we all work together for the sports. Whether hunting, shooting, or fishing. I have seen it time and time again. In the woods, and at the shows. I do my best when given the opportunity to pipe up and say my piece. Mostly it is taken well, and hopefully, well remembered. I do feel at times it is just as good for the female when confronted with this issue, to speak up. Turn the tables, and sometimes the shock of “oh I didn’t even think of that” might just turn the tides. Keep it up girls. And Nice write up!
That’s great that you’ve had classes that encouraged young girls and women the same as men. It is important that everyone works together for the sports.