This post is in response to the challenge at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit called Non-Traditional Faces of the Outdoors.(please encourage all women hunters to join the Outdoors Bloggers Summit if you can.)
As I was growing up at a hunting camp in the south, it was still a man's world. Yes, I knew a few adult women that hunted but they sure as hell were not going to come to stay at our camp. Men cursed, drank, stank, peed in the yard and were in general pretty uncouth there and it was a true He-Man, Woman-Haters Club. Everyone knew women could not hunt. They took too long to do anything, always had to go to the bathroom and got cold. Plus they always wanted you to clean this, or clean that and everything at camp was icky to them anyway.
Hunting was for tough guys. Even my sister was treated this way and told to stay home with her Mama. I do not say this was right, it was just the way it was.
This was my thought at a young age, but slowly it has evolved until I see it in a whole new light, as have all the men of my family.
As I grew older, I still thought of hunting and camp as a very virile sport, and going to camp was a place for kids like me to be treated as men. Deer camp was not for girls! Then I learned a lesson. The lesson came when I held my newborn baby daughter in my hands and realized the importance of making sure to spend as much time as I could with her while I could. My eyes opened and I began to realize there were a lot of women out there that hunted, and having them at camp was pretty much OK. Once they were accepted, I found out they were eager to pull their weight, eager to learn, and a lot of fun to hunt with.
Marian has hunted with me many times and she is a joy to have at camp. My children and Pauls children all hunt and if some one is getting dressed and walks by a doorway in their underwear, the girls don't bellyache and act like they are insulted. They politely turn their heads and keep doing whatever. None of them have shirked their duty to be good sportspeople, to abide by the rules and game laws and to dress their kill if they take an animal. It is part of it and I have found that the women that hunt accept that responsibility as being part of the club. A lot of them can drink and spit peanut hulls into the fire as well as you can, and they are as competitive as any hunters you have known. In fact, I am looking forward to meeting and getting all my female link friends to come visit and hunt with me when they can.
This is a little rambling, but the truth is here. Women are a wonderful part of the Outdoor tradition, and us men need to encourage every woman to get involved.
PS That damn Thunderhoof loves women hunters and that is good enough for me.