It is not hard to recognize that women hunters are on the rise and on the rise 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 and in other areas, it is so common, it is like “ so what”? Woman are showing just what they are made of. They are skilled, experienced, and passionate about hunting. There are no barriers when it comes to women in the woods. They are on equal footing with men and many times have advantages over their male counterparts. Maybe it is patience. Maybe it is determination. Maybe it is just down right honed skills. Truly, hunting transcends most barriers, even age and socioeconomic factors. It is never too early to be exposed to hunting and rarely too old to actually hunt if the desire is there.
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, woman hunters are part of the landscape. It is 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 opt. They are passionate, skilled, and experienced women doing the work of hunting. They scout, they track, they go into the backlands 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 the contributions these woman make to conservation, education, and the charitable contributions they make in their communities. They come from all walks of life… stock brokers, draftsman, hair stylists, stay at home moms, caregivers, chiropractors, paralegals, web consultants, waitresses, home schoolers, nurse practitioners, Clerk of Court Officers, attorneys, ranchers, farmers, orchard owners, professional shooting/archery instructors and professional hunt guides, and so many more hard working, amazing women! The most apparent common link with all these woman, besides their love to hunt, is their desire to protect our resources and their commitment to 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 low country of SC, woman hunters have been here right along, but maybe not as noticeable as in other parts of the country. With 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. Historically, We had one of the most prominent woman hunters right here in our area… our very own Belle Barouch, Baroness of Hobcaw I can only imagine what a trail blazer she must have been. She was unapologetic about how she lived and what she loved to do. She was more comfortable exploring the marshlands, hunting fox , ducks, and other wildlife, than living the socialite life in 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 did what she loved to do, much like today’s women hunters.
In the south, Unless you grow up in the country, dove hunting is the introduction most woman hunters have to getting involved with hunting. It can be a very social event and many girls get that big invite when their fathers/husbands/boyfriends ask them if they want to go. Dressing up in camo and heading out to the field is an unbelievable feeling and it is not long until you get the fever and it gets in your blood. So it is with hunting. 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 hunting opportunities… ducks, quail, and of course, turkey hunting and other big game.
For me, I have always had a fascination with anything to do with guns, bows, and hunting. I grew up in a hunting family but I ask myself why I had this passion for hunting in me and none of my 3 sisters ever had an interest or desire to hunt. 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, age 6 and 3 have been on dove and deer hunts with their daddy and wearing camo like their GaGa!
Today, I have the privilege to be very involved in the hunting world with my husband and best friend, Trippett. He will be the first to say that it is me that is obsessed and he puts up with my undying love 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 lead 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 much more. Most of all it is a celebration of the women I have come to know who hunt and fish. A large part of my subscriber list is men. They contribute as well and love knowing and sharing the love for hunting with the amazing women of the woods.
As written for Waccamaw Outdoors magazine, Dec. 2016