7 Life Lessons the Outdoors Taught Me

By Tom Claycomb III

The outdoors can teach us
countless lessons –

here are 7 you shouldn’t forget!

Outdoor life lessons learned

As a young rodeo champ, the author learned some good life lessons. (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

How observant are you? Over the years I’ve witnessed a lot of things in the outdoors — and learned many of life’s lessons from what I’ve seen. Here are just a few, in no particular order.

1. Ever sneak up on a herd of deer and notice one doe that’s super vigilant? She’ll bob her head and stomp her feet — it’s maddening. If it weren’t for her warning the others and spooking them to take cover, I’d have made a million easy kills by now. (OK, maybe only a half million …)

What’s the lesson? The world has all kinds of dangers humans need to watch out for, too. Some threaten life, others destroy relationships. When I’m with my family and friends, I need to be more like that doe and notice danger when others don’t.

2. You’ve probably noticed when the big bucks fall, or when wary gobblers come running to a call. It’s when they’re chasing the girls. Back in ’73, I won the Bareback Champion saddle at the Winnett Indoor Arena. Hoyt Winnett took me aside and asked, “Have you ever heard of …?” and named a couple of great rodeo riders. “Yeah, everyone has!” I said. Then he asked, “Have you ever heard of …?” and named another rider. “No, never heard of him,” I replied. Then he said, “We started all those boys. The last one was just as good as the others, but women and whisky ruined him. You’ll do fine, Tom, just avoid the women and whisky.”

What’s the lesson? The habits that kill the mighty and majestic in the outdoors can do the same with men. I’ve seen many fall and lose everything since Hoyt gave me that sage advice years ago.

Little Jack fly fishing

My best buddy Dude Kissel was fly fishing in elk camp. Unbeknownst to us, little Jack had been watching his dad and thought he’d give it a try. We think that’s cute, but that’s not the issue. The issue is kids are watching, so what kind of example are you going to be? (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

3. Nowadays, everyone idolizes and indulges their pets, but not many years ago — before they reached this royal status — household animals were trained for a purpose. Have you ever hunted with a dog that ran 100 yards in front of everyone flushing all the pheasants? Ever have a dog run off so you spend the morning hunting for him? Have you ever been on a pack trip and had a horse spook, and wipe out a pack train? We had one spook and roll himself and two mules down the mountain into the river below. That horse ended up as bear bait.

What’s the lesson? An untrained animal is useless, maybe even harmful. It’s the same with kids. They won’t ever get a job or be productive in life if they aren’t conditioned to be productive. Training people or animals to be useful, disciplined and productive is just one way we show them love.

4. Donuts are like crack cocaine to bears. Habituate a bear to a pile of pastries and you’ll likely get a good shot. Grain is the downfall of horses. Approach a straying horse with a bucket of oats and you can probably catch him. A trapper knows the importance of bait. A mousetrap always has free cheese. Every animal needs to eat, and you can use food to gain control.

What’s the lesson? Yes, food is necessary for life, but if you can be controlled by your stomach you can be controlled by others. You don’t necessarily need to diet, but eating right puts you in control. However, this lesson is about more than food. Remember this — the better the bait, the worse the deal. Be wary of deals that are too good to be true.

5. I do a lot of knife-related seminars at some of the major conservation organization conventions and sport shows. I’m always amazed at how sliding a knife’s edge along a steel produces such incredible sharpness.

What’s the lesson? The same is true of men. If we want to be our best we need to choose an inner circle, those we allow to get close to us and influence us, because iron sharpens iron. We’re better men when we respect the advice we’re given by trusted friends. (Brace yourself now — you might even need to listen to your wife!)

Iron sharpens iron - sharpening a Havalon blade

Iron sharpens iron. Even a used Havalon blade can be tuned up on a sharpening steel. Likewise, one man sharpens another, too. (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

6. Does it make sense to throw your line into a trout hole and beat the water to a froth? Or to study the hole, see where the trout are feeding, what they’re hitting and how they’re using the current — all before you wet a line?

What’s the lesson? Don’t be impulsive. Give some thought to a new idea before you try it. Study new situations and come up with a game plan before you jump in. Not many situations in life turn out very well if you don’t approach them with a plan, even if your plan has to change.

7. There are seasons in the outdoors. Winter predator season. Spring gobbler season and bear season. Summer crows and varmints. Fall whitetails and elk. Then there’s morel hunting, and crappie fishing. Everything in its due time.

What’s the lesson? Life has its seasons, too. When your kids are small, maximize your time with them. That season will change soon enough — they’ll become teenagers and you’ll lose that special teaching relationship. You’ll have plenty of time for personal interests later.

Being outdoors with your kids can teach great life lessons

I’m sure people bond playing soccer or other sports, but the ultimate is being in the outdoors with your kid. Seek opportunities to be together — just you and them. (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

Every outdoor experience offers lessons worth learning. What are some you’ve learned?

Author Tom Claycomb IIIAbout Tom Claycomb III:

Tom lives in Idaho writes outdoor articles for various newspapers, magazines and websites. If it’s something outdoors, he probably likes it. You can read some more of his writings at: www.Amazon.com, www.TomclayComb3.com, and www.BassPro.com.

Check out the new Havalon Piranta
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You Forgot the What!!! Hunting Packs Perfected

By Tom Claycomb III

4 foolproof rules —
so you don’t leave anything behind!

How many times have you arrived at camp only to discover that you forgot something essential? Can opener? Compass? Some forgotten hunting supplies may be a slight inconvenience, but others are a deal breaker. Boots? Bullets? What if you forgot your rifle?

OK, before my wife rats me out, I’ll confess: just the other day I forgot to pack the peanut butter and jelly for a backpacking trip into the wilderness — and I even had a list. That was supposed to be lunch for the week. As things turned out it didn’t matter — something came into camp on the first night, gnawed into my hanging food bag and ate all my bread.

Hunting packs should include essential supplies you shouldn't forget

In the backcountry, we were 8 1/2 hours from a town, and that was a mountain town of only 900 people. When heading into wilderness like this, you can’t afford to be forgetful. (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

Years ago an old buddy of mine gave me some sage advice. He said one night he witnessed one of his sons running around like a chicken with its head cut off, packing for an elk hunt he was leaving on first thing in the morning. He ended up forgetting at least five things in his hunting pack.

My friend then pulled out an elk hunting checklist from a filing cabinet and said, “I drew this up decades ago. It’s all of the necessary items I’ll need for a week of elk hunting, and it has saved me quite a few headaches.”

His advice has served me well. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your hunting bag is packed with all the right supplies for a successful hunting trip:

1. Make your lists, and check them twice!

I’m going to expand on the idea of a checklist and suggest you make one for all of your major outdoor pursuits — elk hunting, backpacking, Alaska fishing trips — whatever you do most often. It will save you a lot of heartache, and maybe even your life.

Even if you’re just going on a day hunt, it’s still important to make a small checklist for yourself. If you’re leaving for a weeklong hunt somewhere like in Idaho where I live, you may not have a town within 4-5 hours where you could run and grab some gear that you forgot. It’s times like these where a checklist really comes in handy.

Forgetting a fishing rod in your hunting pack will do you no good

A trip into the wilderness is all about fun. A fishing rod, or anything else, can’t participate in the fun if you left it at home. (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

2. Keep your gear packed!

You should also leave some of your hunting supplies packed. Build a camp box and leave all of your vital items in it. If you don’t, you’ll invariably forget a can opener, coffee pot or something you’d rather not live without. This ensures that everything is always together. If you own a camper, that really simplifies things.

In each of your packs you should also leave in an Adventure Medical Kit, extra compass, a package of moleskin, fire-starting supplies, poncho and any other lifesaving items. I always leave these bare essentials in all of my daypacks and backpacking packs. It’s also smart to keep string, a can opener and tie-down straps in every pack.

To simplify my fishing trips, I have separate tackle boxes for crappie fishing, bass fishing and salmon fishing. That way all I have to do is grab the proper box and I’ll have all the necessary lures. (Yes, for some species I may have three or four tackle boxes.) Of course, for fly fishing I leave all of my fly fishing gear in my fly vest.

Leaving the above items packed will save you a lot of misery, but for everything else go back to rule #1. Here’s why: I carry my .44 magnum on day hikes, backpacking, elk, deer, bear hunting and fishing trips — but who has six .44’s to put in six different packs? Same with rain gear and so forth. See what I mean? You still need to repack 90 percent of the items you’ll need for every trip. That’s why each pursuit needs its own list.

backpacking packs filled with essential hunting supplies for a trip

When you’re backpacking, every single item is important or you wouldn’t waste energy packing it in. And from the look on my face, you can see it does take energy! (Photo: Tom Claycomb III)

3. Start packing early!

Another thing I do is start packing at least one, if not two weeks ahead of time. Otherwise you’re doomed to forget something, or be scurrying around at midnight the night before you’re supposed to leave. I love my wife and kids, so the evening before a big trip I want to relax with them and not run around yelling because I’m in a sweat. I’d like to take them to dinner, watch a movie or just doodle with them. If you wait until the last second you’ll be running around in a tizzy yelling at everyone, and on the first day of your trip you’ll be ragged out from little sleep and a guilty conscience for yelling at your wife and kids. I don’t want that, and neither should you.

4. Visualize!

And finally, take about five minutes to visualize your whole trip while you’re packing. For instance, on a backpacking trip I try to visualize setting up camp. Do I have a tarp, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag? When I hit the stream, do I have my fly rod, net, fly vest? This always jogs my memory about something I was almost ready to forget.

From now on, use these four rules for packing a hunting bag so that by the time you get to camp you can avoid saying something like, “Oh no, I forgot the [insert forgotten item]!”

Author Tom Claycomb IIIAbout Tom Claycomb III:

Tom lives in Idaho writes outdoor articles for various newspapers, magazines and websites. If it’s something outdoors, he probably likes it. You can read some more of his writings at: www.Amazon.com, www.TomClaycomb3.com, and www.BassPro.com.

Don’t forget to pack the sharpest
hunting and skinning knife out there –

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3 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making With Your Duck Hunting Dog

By Brian Johnson

To make your dog’s first duck hunt
a success, you’ve got to think like one!

As a professional duck dog trainer for over 20 years, I’ve trained well over a thousand dogs. I’ve spent so much time around them that I’ve reached the point where I honestly believe I can think like one too. One thing I do know is that on opening day, your newly trained Labrador is probably thinking about some things you aren’t even aware of.

duck hunting dog

There’s nothing like the joy of a well-trained dog on a hunt. (Photo: Brian Johnson)

If you can learn to think like your dog, you’ll be able to avoid a few common pitfalls that most dog owners make. Training a duck dog is no easy task, but by avoiding these mistakes you’ll end up with a better duck hunting dog and a more enjoyable hunting season. Below is a list of three common mistakes dog owners make, and the thoughts running through your dog’s head during those little slipups.

Mistake #1 – Ignoring your dog until the season opens

Many well-intentioned owners send their dog to a trainer for several months at a time, and fail to visit the dog in the process. A day or two before the hunting season begins, they frantically call the trainer to pick up Fido for his first hunt.

Fido thinks: “Help! I’ve been kidnapped! Who is this stranger, and where is he taking me? What is this food he’s feeding me? I’m nervous, scared and UH OH … I think I’m gonna have diarrhea!”

The solution: Make sure to schedule a visit with your trainer and your dog at least once a month, and even more so as the season gets closer. Your duck dog should be picked up from the trainer at least 2 weeks prior to your first big hunt. This will allow your dog time to adjust to your family, you and your expectations. The last thing you want is for your duck hunting dog to act like you’re a complete stranger.

duck hunting dog and his owner

Get your dog used to the gun, and make sure he is in a spot where he can see the action. (Photo: Brian Johnson)

Mistake #2 – Surprising your dog on opening day

You wake up at two in the morning, fumble through the dark and load Fido into the truck. You arrive at the duck lease, unload Fido, drop him into the boat and race to your spot. You throw decoys out, climb into the blind with your four best friends, and shoot 12 times at the first flock of ducks that come in. Then you expect your trained lab to perform flawlessly on this first hunt.

Fido thinks: “What’s wrong? Why are we up so early? Is everything OK? Where are we going? Who are all these people? Wait, give me a minute … I need to poop. I’ve never been on a boat ride. Warn me before you take off like that! My toenails are slick on the deck of this boat, and I could fall overboard! Hey, should I fetch those decoys? Why are you throwing so many and making those big splashes? This looks just like when we train. I think I’ll go get a few.”

The Solution: Take Fido on a boat ride to the place he’ll be hunting at prior to your first hunt. If you use an ATV, do the same thing. Train him to sit still while you throw decoys out, then run him from your duck blind. It might be a good idea to have your buddies come along to do a little extra shooting, starting at a distance first and then moving in closer. On the morning of the hunt, be sure to air Fido out and let him go potty. A turd dropped in the front of the boat is no laughing matter! Also, on the first hunt or two, plan on working your duck dog and letting your partners do most of the shooting. This will help Fido catch on much more quickly and pay lifelong dividends.

Mistake #3 – Getting upset with your dog

When Fido doesn’t do so great, you scream, holler, yell, blow a thousand whistles and think about leaving him in the marsh. You’re mad, he’s confused and your friends wish you would just calm down.

Duck hunting dog

Hunting is fun for you; it’s your responsibility to make it fun for your dog. (Photo: Brian Johnson)

Fido thinks: This sucks! He doesn’t hit but one out of ten ducks he shoots at, and I’m supposed to be a 100 percent on my retrieve? I can’t see squat from this stupid blind, and if he yells at me one more time or even thinks about shocking me again with that darn collar he can swim out there and get his own spoonbill.” 

The Solution: Have realistic expectations. The first time I played golf I wasn’t so good. After a few rounds I got better. As long as Fido has the skills, he will become a better duck hunting dog. Make sure your duck dog is in a spot where he can see all the action. Try to have a partner shoot a single over the decoys that will present an easy retrieve so your dog will have some success. If he struggles, walk out to get the bird and toss it for him. Praise him for the retrieve. Be sure to prepare your buddies by telling them this is your dog’s first hunt. Most of all, love your dog and make sure he has fun. And have fun yourself while you’re at it! You got a hunting dog not just to shoot ducks, but to enjoy shooting ducks for it. Duck hunting is a great privilege, and we should cherish each and every hunt.

Avoid these mistakes. Start thinking like your dog – all it takes is a little common sense – and you and Fido will be on the road to happiness together.

About Brian Johnson:

Since his college years, Brian has training dogs for duck hunters. Besides his dog training business, he is the pastor of the Outdoorsman’s Church of Winnie, TX Contact him through www.DuckDogTrainer.com. When he is not preaching, training a dog or hanging out with his family, you can find Brian on a golf course in pursuit of a different kind of birdie!

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4 Ways Technology Will Make You a Better Deer Hunter

By Bernie Barringer

Add “new school” to “old school” and
get more bucks!

On an out-of-state bowhunt in 2010, I found myself in the perfect spot. I’d never been there before, but my research from home gave me total confidence in the spot. I used Google Earth to find some great looking terrain, checked the state’s Game and Fish Department website, made some calls to local biologists and planned my hunt. By the time I arrived, I had some good ideas of where to hang stands, and on one of them I scored a really nice buck. I also filled the doe tag the same day.

Deer hunting technology

Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to go to a new area and try to figure out the best way to hunt it. Starting at home in front of the computer can shorten the learning curve significantly. (Photo: Bernie Barringer)

Yes, it was one of the most shining moments in my bowhunting career, but it didn’t happen by accident. The hard work started long before I arrived for the hunt. What made it all the more rewarding was that I had chosen that spot from the screen of my computer before I even bought the tag. The number of resources we have at our fingertips today is truly remarkable. There’s a lot out there, for sure, but I’ve narrowed down some of my favorite “new school” tricks that have helped me redefine my deer hunting skills for the modern era:

1. Using Google Earth and Topographic Maps

Prior to a hunt, I spend a lot of time on Google Earth looking for land features that might indicate a deer hunting hotspot. Funnels or pinch points are obvious, as are field corners, outside edges of river turns, long running barriers to travel and narrow strips of cover between two large blocks of timber. All these and more are potential spots to bag a buck, and they’re obvious on maps and photos you find on the Internet.

Add the factor of topography to the equation and you’ll realize the true value of each of these spots. Some places may look great on the computer screen, but once you figure in the lay of the land they don’t have as much appeal. On the converse, places that look good become great when you discover a steep hill or barrier of some sort that couldn’t be seen from the flatness of your computer screen. Each and every aerial photo needs to be compared to a topographic map or an in-person visual to fully analyze the location’s potential.

Knowing how deer use the terrain and using that knowledge to pick out locations on aerial photos can help you choose great hunting locations within public hunting lands.

2. Downloadable Public Land Maps and Phone/Tablet Apps

Many states have downloadable, interactive public land maps. Some are for using online, which means you must be connected to the Internet, but some you can actually download onto your phone or tablet and access them offline. This is especially helpful where cell phone coverage is unreliable.

Deer hunting technology

Aerial photos available for free through Google Earth and other providers can be a great tool for learning the lay of the land. Sometimes great hunting locations jump right off the screen at you, but all of them must be checked out in person to verify the amount of deer activity in the area. (Photo: Bernie Barringer)

Online maps provided by several states’ websites can be very helpful. They clearly show property borders and features within the properties. They show parking lots, access roads, food plots, even waterholes. In many cases the resolution of the aerial photos is so good you can zoom in and see deer trails. In one case I was examining an aerial photo of public land and the detail was so good I picked out two pheasant hunters and their dogs!

Google Earth has an app that allows you to see where you are on the aerial photos, placing an icon to show your location. In areas with more than two cell phone towers, their location capabilities are every bit as good as GPS. Several other mapping apps offer similar features. Some are linked with weather info such as Scoutlook Weather, which offers other helpful tools including a scent cone feature. Carrying a tablet computer into the field gives you an opportunity to see everything on a larger screen. Tablets and iPads have other uses, some of which I will discuss in the section on game cameras.

Check state wildlife departments’ websites for public land apps. Several states now have them, and others add new ones all the time. If they don’t, a data connection is all you need to access online maps for state websites that don’t have an app yet.

3. GPS Mapping

One of the more helpful technologies is the introduction of GPS maps that include everything from public lands to USGS topo maps. The Trimble Outdoor Maps series is a good one. It features micro SD cards that you insert into your GPS or download from your computer to your GPS. These maps show public lands in different colors. Federal lands, state lands, timber company, county and local public lands are all different colors. These are overlaid on top of topo maps with roads, trails, rivers and other important features.

Some of these GPS applications even have databases with landowner’s contact information. It’s like having an online plat book on your GPS. Property lines are laid out clearly, and the names of property owners are there in the event that you would like to attempt to get permission.

Deer hunting technology

A Google Earth screenshot can reveal excellent deer habitat. This series of wooded draws surrounded by crop fields and pastures has a ton of potential as a deer hotspot. I often print off these aerial photos and take them with me while I scout. (Photo: Bernie Barringer)

With the help of all this technology, choosing a place to hunt is easier than ever before, but you still have to put your feet on the ground to actually know for certain if an area is really as good as it looks from the screen. This is where a preseason trip can be invaluable. It’s rare for me that preseason trips are an option, but let’s take a look at this topic in case it works for you.

4. Trail Cameras

Game cameras have changed hunting like few other advances in technology. Trail cameras are the best tool available for preseason monitoring of deer movements on any piece of property, and nothing takes an inventory of an area’s buck population like a camera set up over an active scrape. That camera will get photos of the majority of the area’s bucks within 2-3 days.

Today’s cameras are small, lightweight, take great photos and have some amazing features. Some will take video, and some will monitor an area by taking a photo every few seconds around the clock. Some even text or email a photo to you as soon as the camera snaps it. This can be a big help in determining where the deer are moving and when. It can also help you catch a thief or a trespasser.

Bottom line – take advantage of the technologies available to you today. You don’t have to abandon “old school” practices, but learning how to use the “new school” tools at your disposal will lead you down the path to more successful deer hunting.

bernie-barringerAbout Bernie Barringer:

Bernie Barringer hunts and fishes for a variety of species in several states and Canadian provinces. He has published more than 600 articles in two dozen outdoor magazines and authored 12 books on hunting, fishing and trapping. The latest is “The Freelance Bowhunter: DIY Strategies for the Travelling Hunter.” He is a recognized authority on DIY hunting, and blogs his hunts on his website www.bowhuntingroad.com.

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Hunting – It’s a Woman’s Right!

By Ron Spomer

Eva Shockey has been under attack from people against hunting

Eva Shockey is the most recent example of female hunters receiving negative attacks from anti-hunters on the Internet. (Photo: Todd Forsbloom)

Editor’s Note: Harassment of women hunters is on the rise, and certain high profile hunters have suffered the brunt of these attacks on the Internet. The latest is Eva Shockey who, with her father Jim Shockey, is sponsored by Havalon Knives. In this essay Ron Spomer comes to the defense of women who hunt, telling us that one of the big reasons for the attacks is that women are the fastest-growing demographic in the hunting world. That means anti-hunters can no longer paint hunting as the domain of Neanderthal men when the same realm is also the province of nurturing women - Steve Sorensen.

If you don’t think that hunting and hunters are under serious attack right now, try being a woman hunter.

Threats in the digital age

Last year, a female hunter had the unmitigated gall to post a picture on her Facebook page of a mature male lion she had shot. Not only was she called every foul name in the book, along with several that aren’t even allowed in the book, but she also received thousands of hate mail messages and hundreds of death threats. Even her parents were threatened. The FBI investigated. National news media reported on the story, but not because of the death threats or the FBI involvement. No, they interviewed the usual anti-hunting organizations and “lion rescue groups,” wrung their hands, cried crocodile tears and questioned how anyone could commit such a barbaric act as shooting an “endangered species.”

Except African lions aren’t even endangered. Nor does regulated sport hunting reduce their populations.

Women hunters are quickly growing in numbers

The fastest growing demographic in hunting has the hand that rocks the cradle. (Photo: Ron Spomer)

The benefits of lion hunting

Here’s the truth: after age 5 or 6, male lions become a burden to their former prides. They’re either killed by younger, stronger males or driven out entirely. They then proceed to prey on cubs of their own species, kill cattle and sometimes even humans. Shooting older male lions actually increases the lion population. More importantly, the money paid by hunters makes lions more valuable to the local people. It funds anti-poaching patrols and habitat restoration efforts that not only benefit lions, but all other native wildlife as well. Hunters fund jobs for dozens of workers at each camp. All of this helps African countries justify saving wild habitats from human encroachment, logging, overgrazing, dams, mines and the usual culprits involved in the disappearance of natural habitats.

But none of that mattered. A female hunter had killed a lion, and that made her fair game for vicious attacks.

Not an isolated incident

She wasn’t the only one. This summer another woman posted photos of herself with game she’d taken on a safari with her father. She got the same vilification on social media and national news outlets. She was called the same foul names, the kind that would get anyone labeled a rabid misogynist in any other context. But because this woman was a hunter, she too was fair game. Defenders of women and women’s rights looked the other way.

Woman archer exercising her right to hunt

This woman certainly doesn’t look scary, but she has all the discipline and perseverance it takes to be a good hunter. Anti-hunters hate that! (Photo: Steve Sorensen)

Anti-hunters fear women hunters

Women who hunt frighten the tolerance right out of anti-hunters (who don’t have much left to lose anyway) because women hunters are no longer few and far between. The fastest growing demographic in hunting has the hand that rocks the cradle. Mothers have a huge influence on the attitudes and philosophies of their children. People who are against hunting don’t want women raising a generation of respectful, dedicated, self-sufficient conservation-hunters.

Despite the success of the women’s movement and our culture’s acceptance of women’s rights, the anti-hunting crowd believes women should stay in their place. Women should squeeze snugly into the pigeonhole of gentle, loving, nurturing protectors. Not killers.

Women are natural hunters

One thing people don’t understand is that hunting is the original, natural role of a competent, protective mother. It’s the female African lions that do the bulk of the hunting, killing and providing. Every female carnivore, from grasshopper mice to polar bears, is a nurturing hunter and killer. Bringing home a bobwhite, bunny or buck and preparing it for the family dinner is the necessary expression of nurturing, motherly love.

But listen: never mind that women have the skills, interest, instincts, obligation and right to provide food for their offspring. Never mind that predation and meat eating are and always have been natural and essential to life on Earth. Never mind that Nature or God (depending on your theological camp) created this system that requires predators to kill and eat other animals. Never mind that this self-sustaining system has been functioning successfully for quite a long time. None of that matters to misogynistic anti-hunters because they know better than Mother Nature. They know better than God. Women should not hunt because people against hunting think they shouldn’t. End of story.

But women don’t care. They won’t be pigeonholed, won’t be denied their natural rights. You might be able to deny them access to certain golf courses, keep them out of Major League Baseball and the NBA, but you won’t keep them out of the deer woods.

Woman hunter with her rifle

Women have the right to hunt for food, for joy, for adventure, for spirits to soar. (Photo: Ron Spomer)

A word to moms and men

Moms – you have the power. You can raise your kids on venison and teach them to understand and respect their role as hunters. You can set the example of a caring, nurturing hunter who guards our woods and waters, who lobbies for increased wildlife habitat and conservation funding. You can teach by example about how responsible hunters demand protection for sustainable populations of wildlife and the places they live. You have the power to teach respect for our game wardens and biologists. You can hold politicians’ feet to the fire in defense of the game your family wants, loves and needs. You can fight for your rights to hunt for food, for joy, for adventure, for your spirits to soar.

Men – take your wives, daughters, mothers, girlfriends, aunts and friends hunting. Share your venison, your stories, your adventures and joy in the great outdoors. Hats off to all our female hunters. They hold the key to the perpetuation – even the salvation – of our hunting heritage. Without our modern Dianas*, we could lose it all.

*Diana was the goddess of the hunt in Roman mythology.

Ron SpomerAbout Ron Spomer:

Ron is rifles/optics columnist for Sporting Classics and North American Hunter magazines and host of Winchester World of Whitetail on NBC Sports. Learn more at www.ronspomeroutdoors.com.

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