These 6 tips help break the stigma that a new huntress may face.
(1) 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 did it, his father did it, HIS father did it, even all of my uncles and cousins were hunters; It was inevitable that I would be one too. To me, it didn’t matter that I would be breaking the gender pattern as a new huntress in our family tree of hunters. I was treated with just as much respect and I was taught right from wrong just like anyone else. I can proudly say, no one ever assumed me to be less capable (especially when I was armed and ready!) just because I was a minority in a male dominated sport. It never bothered me growing up and being the new huntress.
(2) Don’t be afraid to ask.
As much as I was taught or however much I learned along the way, I still had unanswered questions. You know, the kind that you think are too dumb to ask because someone will laugh or judge you? Well to hell with them if they do, the more you know the better off everyone is! Like Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t”.
(3) Always be proud of yourself
As a new huntress, we are a rare breed! In my entire life I’ve never experienced anything less than encouragement or fascination when revealing I’m an avid hunter. Strutting into a check station covered from head to toe in camouflage and Scent-away, carrying my buck tag in one hand and license in the other, I would easily get a lot more yeehaws, hand shakes, and slaps on the back from the men drinking their pity coffee at the diner counter than my brother ever would had he done the same thing. Being a female hunter is impressive, and frankly admired (not to steal the glory from my brother, he still has the bigger buck on the wall). Although, sometimes I still get taken by surprise or get slightly offended when a man says something along the lines of, “YOU hunt?”. Female hunters are infrequent, so naturally people will be perplexed when they finally stumble upon one! I’ve come to the realization that often times it’s because they’re amazed so I always proudly reply, “Hell yeah!” to their unintentionally offensive question.
(4) There is no standard you need to reach just because you’re a woman.
Most people realize I wake up just as early, climb my tree-stand just as high, sit just as long and miss just as hard as any other hunter does- regardless of being a girl. During a hunt, Mother Nature and fate will never discriminate. Everyone is on even playing grounds when it comes to hunting. You aren’t expected to be better than everyone, especially if you’re just starting out. The biggest thing to know is that you’re not competing with anyone.
(5) 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 huntress lifestyle. However, I came to notice that most of the disbelief and questioning came from outsiders and people who have never hunted a day in their life and don’t understand/support the lifestyle. Or it would come from people who still categorize girls into the prissy housewife stereotype. These people are usually the only ones who insult my hunting abilities, being closed minded about the sport and the idea of a woman taking part in it. To those people I say, times have changed! I love my apron and 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. Accept the fact that some people are uneducated and we are no match for their ignorance.
(6) 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 huntress has never adversely affected me or my passion for the sport, nor should it for anyone else! My devotion and love for hunting remains stronger than ever, regardless if people are shocked. So do it for yourself. Love yourself, your challenges and your choices. In the end, it makes it all worth it, because damn ladies, nothing beats seeing a mans jaw drop when they see you walk in with a nice rack! From a buck of course!