Don’t be afraid to be different.
Hunting was always something I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to hunting at a young age. I grew up with trained rabbit beagles, wooded land, and a living room full of mounts. My father was a hunter, as was his father, his father, and all of my uncles and cousins. It was inevitable that I would be one, too.
It didn’t matter that I would be breaking the gender pattern as a new hunter in our family tree of hunters. I was treated with just as much respect, and taught right from wrong, just like anyone else. No one ever assumed that I was less capable just because I was a minority in a male-dominated sport. Especially when I was armed and ready! Being the new hunter never bothered me growing up.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
As much as I was taught and learned along the way, I still had unanswered questions. They were the kinds of questions you think are too dumb to ask, because you’re afraid that someone might laugh or judge you. Well, to hell with them if they do! The more you know, the better off everyone is! Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.”
Always be proud of yourself.
New hunters are a rare breed in a fading culture. When people learn that I am an avid hunter, they are never anything less than encouraging and fascinated. Imagine it: me strutting into a check station covered from head to toe in camouflage, carrying my buck tag in one hand and my license in the other. I would always get a lot more yee-haws, handshakes, and slaps on the back from the men drinking their pity coffee at the diner counter than my brother ever would have had he done the same thing.
Of course, it can still surprise and offend slightly when a man says something like, “You hunt?” Female hunters—and really any hunter who isn’t a middle-aged white guy—are uncommon. People are naturally perplexed when they stumble upon one. I’ve come to realize that it’s often because they’re amazed. I always proudly reply, “Hell yeah!”
There is no standard you need to reach.
Most people acknowledge that I wake up just as early, climb just as high in my tree stand, sit just as long, and miss just as often as any other hunter. Fate and Mother Nature never discriminate during a hunt. Everyone is on even ground when it comes to hunting. You aren’t expected to be better than everyone, especially if you’re just starting out. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not competing with anyone.
Don’t let anyone get to you!
Now I’m not going to lie, I used to get angry when people would question my new hunter lifestyle. But I came to notice that most of the disbelief and questioning came from outsiders who have never hunted a day in their life. They were probably people who didn’t understand or support the lifestyle in the first place. The kinds of people who categorize girls into the prissy housewife stereotype are usually the ones who insult my hunting abilities. They are closed-minded about my chosen pursuit. To the people who think that I or anyone else who doesn’t look the part can’t be a good hunter I say, times have changed!
I love my apron and I love getting dressed up every once in a while. But I can also outshoot more than half the men that interrogate me about being a hunter. Some people are uneducated. We are no match for their ignorance.
Do it for you!
Aside from trying to find women’s hunting clothes that aren’t doused in hot pink or manufactured to fit Barbie’s physique, there has never been a disadvantage to being the doe in a field of bucks. Being a new hunter has never adversely affected me or my passion for the pursuit and it shouldn’t for anyone else! My devotion and love for hunting remains stronger than ever, whether people are shocked or not. So do it for yourself. Love yourself, your challenges, and your choices.
Last modified: December 6, 2018