Happy Hunting Ground
Published in Grand Strand Magazine
Maggie Boineau’s camo365 puts a spin on hunting threads for a bigger purpose
Camouflage certainly makes a fashion statement. Especially when you’re a woman wearing it in some way, every day, for 365 days. That’s exactly the statement—and much more—that Maggie Boineau is making with her camo365 mission.
It’s something she took on (and inserted into her wardrobe) September 5, 2015, the opening day of dove season here in South Carolina.
“Camo really is a good conversation starter,” says Boineau. “People don’t think of Maggie Boineau, Realtor of luxury property, as someone who does this. And I still do that. By the way, I’m not just about hunting. But when they know I can also handle guns … I don’t come out and talk about it too much, but the camo has raised awareness.”
The awareness Boineau has raised and the passion she’s introduced for hunting, as well as conservation and the second amendment, to a female audience has been much better than she first expected. By blogging her life story out in the wild, Boineau has tightened the connection between fellow hunters who also break the mold.
“I am not an expert at anything,” she says from her home base in Murrells Inlet. “I want to make sure all women, no matter the level of experience, have an open door to explore what’s out there, from carrying a handgun to target shooting to hunting in the field.”
Boineau grew up around guns and hunting as the middle child of a family of seven on a 250-acre dairy farm in northeastern Pennsylvania. While her three brothers and father were the ones who’d venture deep into the woods during deer season, Boineau was still known as the Annie Oakley of the family as early as eight years old.
“Hunting was really about harvesting meat for the family and filling the freezer; it wasn’t done for recreation,” she says. “But I always had a fascination with guns and archery as a child because guns were an everyday thing on the farm. I had a bow and a BB gun and I would shoot snakes with a .22. I had a really good eye … such a tomboy.”
Boineau shares memories she has of her dad returning from a hunt with his big coat. “He would come back in the house and start pulling things out—like a magic coat: cockbirds, pheasants, grouse, rabbits and squirrels,” she says. “And I would help clean the game down in the basement with my mom, so I learned to appreciate the sacrifice the animal makes in this life cycle.”
Flash-forward to her migration to the South, where, before re-entering the great outdoors, she juggled a successful real estate career and raised two daughters with her husband, Trippett, an avid duck hunter.
“I was an extremely hands-on mom, involved with everything the girls did up until they went off to college,” says Boineau.
Which is when, 12 years ago, the opportunity to hunt with her hubby arose. Boineau voiced her interest in joining him on the dove hunt. And Trippett responded with a showering of gifts.
“He went out and bought everything a girl could need for a hunt for Christmas that year,” she says. “Got me a 20-gauge over-under shotgun, some hunting clothes and everything I’d need to go dove hunting.”
Today, Boineau’s wardrobe and equipment have expanded after the couple’s countless deer hunts, hog hunts, turkey hunts and bird hunts. Her favorites are her Benelli 12-gauge Ultra Light.
“By far, that’s the most amazing gun a girl could have,” she says. “It weighs under 6 pounds and is great for dove and turkey hunting.”
Boineau’s favorite rifle is her Remington 270, complete with a Trijicon scope that’s ideal for nighttime hunts. Her hunting wardrobe has also improved, thanks to her new first-level membership position on the hunt staff for Prois, a West Coast-based hunting apparel company for women.
“I saw a Prois Facebook ad and started talking to the Prois staffer and she encouraged me to apply for one of the positions. I’m having so much fun,” she says.
Know what else is fun for Boineau? The actual act of the hunt.
“When you’re in your stand an hour before daylight, it’s a beautiful time,” she says. “Mornings are insane because you’re there when the world wakes up. It’s pitch black and you’re listening to the first hint of daylight. First, you hear the owls, then the crows, then, little by little, every little bird. I love just sitting there in anticipation and stillness and appreciating all in life with the stars above. Sometimes you don’t see what you’re hunting, but that’s OK. I appreciate just the thrill of being able to see something in the wild.”
Which recycles to the passion and purpose of Boineau’s camo365: a way to speak to all kinds of hunters—to bring to light the message that there is no glass ceiling in the woods. Through her blog, she’s connected to a Teen Miss South Carolina who hunts, a young woman studying to be a surgeon who hunts with her family and helps with their taxidermy business and so many more.
“About eight years ago, my friends were posting things on Facebook about hunting, and now I notice that women aren’t posting about hunting anymore,” she says. “I think most people have retreated to where they feel accepted and I want to bring it back to where people are not ashamed for hunting or harvesting ethical kills.”
Boineau and her camo are doing just that—even for her granddaughters who love what “Ga Ga” does.
“I think it skips a generation because neither of my daughters are into hunting, but they’re very supportive,” she says. “My son’s daughters, ages 6 and 3, however, love it! I buy them all kinds of camo clothes and they have a camo tent. One has been deer hunting and dove hunting.”
On a larger scale, Boineau brings awareness to conservation issues via her active membership in organizations like Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Coastal Conservation and the Quality Deer Management Association. She also gives back to charities, such as the Matthew Bellamy Project that teaches gun safety through education, Wildlife Action Camp and C. Mo’s Kids, which gives special needs children the opportunity to hunt, fish and camp in an outdoor experience.
“Whether you’re a hunter or outdoors enthusiast, it’s important to know that the outdoors belongs to everyone, and hunting helps in so many ways,” says Boineau. “Today we have to maintain the wildlife population. That’s why we hunt under regulations: to make sure that wildlife and the outdoors are protected.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LISA YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY AND COURTESY OF MAGGIE BOINEAU