The guide for every man on exactly how to show a lady a miserable time in the woods
By Barbara Baird and Stephanie Mallory
Women are joining the hunting ranks at a faster rate than men. But, we ladies still encounter a few problems when it comes to learning the sport. The No.1 problem for women going afield is trying to find places to hunt.
The No. 2 problem? You guessed it. It’s you guys.
Women are the fastest-growing hunting demographic. (John Hafner image)
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not trying to man-bash. We love that you’re willing to take the ladies in your lives hunting. But, sometimes you guys make mistakes – big ones that may prevent us from wanting to ever hit the woods with you, or anyone else for that matter, ever again. If you truly want us out there with you, then read on to find out how to make our experience more enjoyable. If you don’t, then read on to learn how to ensure that the ladies in your life will never want to go hunting again.
We asked some of our female hunting friends to help us list the top 12 reasons women get turned off while hunting. We also provided solutions, because we care. (Also, remember that dark chocolate is usually the choice of the female hunting masses.)
Barbara Baird (Jason Baird image)
1. UNDERESTIMATING THE IMPORTANCE OF COMFORT
“I know we have cushy bottoms made for sitting, but not for hours on end in the briars. During one of my first turkey hunts, my guide made me sit on the ground in a briar patch where I couldn’t see anything coming or going — just a small swath directly in front of my feet. The temperatures started dropping – from the high 50s to low 40s – with light, and then toad-strangling, rain. We sat there for six hours. My legs jumped and moved all on their own, just trying to keep some body heat. When I finally stood up, I almost fell back down. I had to stop at a gas station, change in the bathroom and wipe down with paper towels. Now that I know more about turkey hunting, I would never do that to a new hunter.” –Barbara Baird – Realtree.com blogger and publisher of Women’s Outdoor News
The Solution: Remember these words: “This is fun.” If it ain’t, call it a day. How can you tell? Well, look at her face. If you see strained expressions or grimaces, she’s done. Or, she might say something like, “Sure would be nice to take a bath.”
2. BEHAVING CONDESCENDINGLY, BECAUSE BIG GIRLS DO CRY
“There have been times while hunting alongside men that I have heard the words, ‘You stay in the blind; we will put out the decoys … too cold for you!’ I once made the shot on a bird, but the guy next to me screamed, ‘How did you like my shot?’ I have been told, ‘You shouldn’t shoot a 3 1/2-inch shell – too much for your little arms to take!’ and I have even heard, ‘The only reason you get any attention is because you are a woman hunter and they are so rare you don’t have to be good.’” – Kimberly Snyder – Outdoor pro-staffer for various waterfowling companies and contributor to Lady Hunter Magazine
The Solution: Don’t push. Just be there. Kimberly advises, “It can be very tough. When I take women out with me, I make it about what they are comfortable with. I don’t ever push, but I try to make it a bonding and fun experience that keeps them wanting to get back out there. I try to be positive, supportive and encouraging – all the things I would want from someone. Allow them to push themselves.”
3. NOT HELPING WITH SHOOTING PRACTICE BEFORE THE HUNT
“Practice, practice, practice. Help them make good shots so they don’t have to see an animal suffer. The experience can be frightening and can even make them not want to take the second shot to finish the animal. And, take caution in showing women the guts and gore. If they don’t want to see it, don’t make them. They’ll grow into it in their own time.” — Mia Anstine, outfitter, hunting guide, freelance writer
The Solution: Make sure she is familiar with her gun or bow before she hunts with it. Has she patterned that shotgun or sighted in that rifle? Does she know all the safety rules for handling firearms? Has she practiced with her bow? Education on how gun or bow works and what it will do is paramount to success in the field. Also, think about recoil and noise. You can greatly aid your lady friend by making sure that she has hearing protection and that she wears shoulder padding.
They even make a recoil pad that pins under a shirt on a bra strap, but it’s probably best to let her do that – unless you ask first.
Ample shooting practice is essential for a successful hunt. (John Hafner image)
4. Being crude or rude
“I try to be just one of the guys when I’m hunting with men, especially if I’m the only lady in camp. I don’t get offended easily, but that doesn’t mean I want all sense of decorum and class to be tossed out of the window. I once hunted with a guy I’d never met who not only burped inches from my face, but he peed right in front of me as well. Let’s just say that put a bit of a damper on my hunt. I also hunted with a guide who proceeded to show me vulgar photos of women on his cell phone. Only minutes after meeting me, another guide felt the need to tell me about all of his and his friends’ forays with prostitutes. There are some things female hunters don’t want to see or hear about, at least not this female hunter.” — Stephanie Mallory, Realtree blogger, owner of Mallory Communications Inc.
The Solution: Sing it, ladies … R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
“Animal House”-type antics never belong in hunting. Treat the lady hunter how you’d want someone to treat your mom, sister, grandmother or any other female in your family. A good rule of thumb is to let the female hunter set the tone for your hunt. She may be prim and proper, or she may be as crude as a Bob Saget stand-up routine. If you don’t know her that well, play it safe and display good manners. Avoid vulgar language, sexual innuendos and crude behavior. If she’s your buddy, wife or girlfriend, then you should already know how she wants to be treated. If you haven’t figured that out yet, then enjoy what little time you have left with her.
5. NOT PUTTING SAFETY FIRST
On another turkey-hunting expedition – this would be about No. 19 without a tag filled – my guides sat me, my hunting partner and a cameraman under a tree. They positioned themselves about 100 feet down from us. A thunderstorm promptly rolled in, but did the guides call it off? Heck, no. We sat there in the rain, watching toms walk past us out of range for hours. Meanwhile, the creek rose, logs rushed down it and our posteriors created magnificent butt puddles. When lightning started striking around the field, I kept thinking that my kids would tell their friends that, “Mom died while sitting under a tree in a thunderstorm, pointing a metal rod into the air.” — Barbara Baird
The Solution: Never put your lady in danger, from the weather or anything else. If she’s the mother of your children, consider whether or not you have enough insurance to raise said children properly with an English nanny? Stephanie and I have four children each, and believe me, our husbands could not afford the quality of care that we dish out to our kids.
Click here for original article from Realtree.com