There are no barriers when it comes to women in the woods. They’re skilled, experienced, and passionate about hunting. They’re on equal footing with men, and many times have advantages over their male counterparts. Maybe it’s patience. Maybe it’s determination. Maybe it’s just downright, honed skills.
It’s not hard to recognize that women hunters are on the rise, and at a rapid pace. Depending on where you are located, finding a woman hunter can be like finding a unicorn; they simply don’t exist. In other areas, they’re so numerous it’s like, “so what?”
I am a proud member of the Hunt Staff for Prois Hunting Apparel and Gear for women, founded by Colorado native Kirstie Pike. In her neck of the woods, women hunters are part of the landscape. It’s truly a way of life.
Since I became a member, I have networked with women hunters across the country, and I can tell you, they are the real deal, not just girls looking for a photo op. They’re passionate, skilled, and experienced women doing the grunt work of hunting. They scout, they track, and they go into the backcountry to hunt, sometimes for a week at a time. They field dress their kill and pack it on horseback for the long ride home.
I am so impressed with the knowledge and contributions these women make to conservation education, as well as the charitable contributions they make in their communities. They come from all walks of life—stockbrokers, draftsmen, hair stylists, stay-at-home moms, caregivers, chiropractors, paralegals, web consultants, waitresses, home-school moms, nurse practitioners, attorneys, ranchers, farmers, orchard owners, professional shooting/archery instructors, and hunt guides. And more.
The most common link with all these women, besides their love of hunting, is their desire to protect our resources and their commitment towards conservation so that their children and the generations to follow will have the same opportunity to love the outdoors and preserve the heritage of hunting.
Here in the lowcountry of South Carolina, women hunters have been present all along, but maybe not as noticeable as in other parts of the country. Historically, we had one of the most prominent woman hunters right here in our area—our very own Belle Baruch, Baroness of Hobcaw.
She was unapologetic about how she lived and what she loved to do. She was more comfortable exploring the marshlands, hunting foxes, waterfowl, and other wildlife, than living the socialite life into which she was born. She was said to have stalked feral hogs in the swamps right up until the end of her life (1899-1964).
She truly fascinates me, as she lived in a time when it was not a proper thing for a woman to do. But she didn’t care what people thought. She pursued her passion much like today’s women hunters. I can only imagine what a trailblazer she must have been.
Today, especially via social media, more and more women are showing their passion for the outdoors. There are a lot of Facebook hunting groups that support each other, and the numbers are growing fast.
In the South, unless you grew up in the country, dove hunting is the introduction most women hunters have to the sport. Dove shoots can be major social events, and many girls get that big invitation when their father/husband/boyfriend ask them if they want to go. Dressing up in camo and heading out to the field is an unbelievable feeling, and it’s not long until you get the fever and it gets in your blood.
So it is with hunting in general. One hunt is over and you can’t wait until the next. Once you get a taste of the thrill of hunting, it opens the door for other opportunities—ducks, quail, and, of course, turkey, deer, and other big game.
I have always had a fascination with anything to do with guns, bows, and hunting. I grew up in a hunting family, but ask me why I had a passion for hunting and none of my three sisters ever did. I don’t know the answer, but I have always been adventurous and very much a tomboy. It has skipped a generation, as neither of my daughters have an interest. However, my grand girls, ages 6 and 3, have been on dove and deer hunts with their daddy and wear camo like their “GaGa!”
Today, I have the privilege to be deeply involved in the hunting world with my husband and best friend, Trippett. He will be the first to say that it is me who is obsessed, and he puts up with my undying desire to be in the woods.
There are so many rewards I have enjoyed as a hunter. I genuinely feel empowered with the skills I have developed, the challenges I have overcome, and the success of harvesting healthy meat for my family. I have an insatiable desire to learn and become more skilled, which happens best with experience. I have had some great adventures, and I have combined my love for hunting with my love for writing.
That has led me to become a blogger. My blog, camo365.com | Girls who Love to Hunt and Fish, is all about those adventures, tips, trends, gear reviews, recipes, and more. Most of all, it’s a celebration of the women I have come to know who hunt and fish.
And to top it all off, a large part of my subscriber list is made up of men who enjoy celebrating women who hunt and fish. What other industry accepts and promotes women like the hunting industry?!