By Emily Anderson
Has this ever happened to you? Sitting around the campfire the evening before the morning hunt, several hunters discuss the plan for the morning and one is strangely quiet. Maybe the “one” is new in the group; or maybe the “one” is the token girl…
The question hangs in the air…. does their opinion matter?
Okay, guys, you’ve invited your spouse, girlfriend or daughter into your hunting camp. They’ve now entered your world of hunting and all that comes with it. They no longer question the reason for all the excitement when hunting season comes around. The girls not only understand the hunting fever and all that comes with it, they now join in the fun at every opportunity. You have won over the other side and together you are now counting down the days until you can do it all again each season. Bows, Camouflage, Arrows, Range Finders, Tree Stands, Backpacks. They all come in pairs, and your designated hunting closet space just shrunk – as evidenced by heels replaced by hiking boots.
But here are some questions for you… Do you value their hunting opinion? Do the girls in your world have a say in the planning? Do they get to voice their opinion when discussing the next hunting tactic?
Guys, hear me out. I know you may be cringing a little at this point. You have been hunting a long time and we (ladies) may be presenting some bizarre ideas. However, here is your challenge… Don’t roll your eyes, discredit or discourage us from our attempt to join the conversation and offer our hunting opinion, because in doing so, you may not realize you are squashing the new gal’s attempt to simply join in. I now understand how challenging this may be, because when I started hunting I honestly didn’t know what I was talking about at times, e.g., not considering weather, thermals, hunting pressure, etc. However, my challenge to you guys is to gently explain to the newbie WHY we may be wrong. Don’t extinguish the spark! And who knows? Maybe that crazy idea will shake things up and it is just the out of the box idea that works!
On the flip side, Ladies, you need to consider a few things before just jumping in and flapping your jaw (I’m speaking from experience here). May I be a little vulnerable? At times, I remember being a bit frustrated during my first years of hunting. I wanted to not only join the conversation; I at least wanted my opinion to be valued. I’m not pointing fingers in any way here, I’m simply saying that as a girl it is easy to let your emotions / feelings rule the day and forget to balance it out with reason. So here are some tips to think about before speaking…
1. Experience – Remember that if you are new to hunting; the friends that have invited you into their camp have more experience than you. The simple fact is experience speaks volumes and demands respect. Yes, you want your opinion to be valued, but it is usually experience that is going to win the day. Don’t forget that and instead of turning a deaf ear, it would behoove you to listen to the wisdom from experienced hunters. They have already experienced the thrill of a close encounter, learned lessons during long stalks, or may even think like the animal being hunted… anticipating their next move.
2. Time – Consider the amount of time the group of hunters you are now hunting with have spent together in the woods. They may have hunted the same unit multiple years together, maybe decades. It takes time to become part of the group and develop your own hunting stories. Cherish the opportunity that you are now part of the group, but honor the memory of past hunts you were not a part of. Let them share the stories, and glean valuable information shared from previous hunts.
3. Territory – Respect the fact they trust you with keeping a secret. Most hunters have a favorite hunting spot which is not even whispered about to a close relative or good friend. It is the honey hole on public land that hasn’t been overtaken yet by the masses. Or even private land acquired through hard work in order to be given permission to hunt. These are the places hunters only tell certain friends about – and if you are one of the privileged ones, respect that!
After considering these things, be thankful you are now part of the team and then jump into the conversation. Your opinion does matter!
Emily Anderson’s hunting journey began shortly after she got married. She enjoys the passions for the outdoors, hunting and fishing as a team with her husband. She established www.FromTheDraw.com as a way to share her stories as a female hunter. Emily lives in Colorado and is currently on an Elk hunt. She is now a PSE Staff Blogger and will be posting daily about her experiences and views on archery and hunting.
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!