By Vikki Trout
Basic Issues Women Hunters Confront
Part 2 – Fears, Challenges, Surprises and Satisfactions!
1. Facing Fears
Whether you’re a woman or a man, fear is a part of being in the outdoors, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Fear of the Dark
These are part of the universal fear of the unknown, and they’re two of the worst sensations. When I began hunting, I feared that something would jump out and grab me, especially when the wind blew and moved foliage. I would say a short prayer and keep walking to my location. This fear resolved itself after time.
Fear of Getting Lost
I recall one occasion when I left my stand at dusk and thought I was heading the right direction. Wrong! I soon realized that something was terribly amiss. I was lost and desperately needed help. This is where my two-way radio came into play. I stopped immediately, called John and gave him a brief description of my surroundings. It was not long until I saw his flashlight illuminating the area.
Fear of Bad Guys
Running into a stranger that may have less than honorable ideas on his mind is another fear on every woman’s mind. Though attacks seldom happen, using the buddy system and carrying a two-way radio can deter disaster and make you feel more comfortable. A villain may think twice when he realizes you are not alone.
Fear of Mistakes and Looking Foolish
Making mistakes while pursuing wildlife is a fear that only time can heal. As I mentioned earlier, it took 5 years for me to harvest my first wild turkey. It seemed that I could not do anything right and even wondered why John had not given up on me! I still make mistakes today, but that is part of hunting. We all have our bad days. Just do not quit – persistence pays!
Fear of Killing an Animal
A good friend of mine and a knowledgeable outdoorswoman, Lisa Metheny takes women afield on a routine basis. When I asked her about the main fears new women hunters have, said the two biggest were the qualms they have about killing an animal and the misgivings they have about making mistakes.
“I have had the good fortune to act as mentor and guide to many women on their first hunts. For the majority of these ladies, two fears seemed commonplace. The biggest fear was apprehension about taking an animals life. For some, shooting a deer with big pretty eyes was a challenge. This is when I mention the importance of conservation and how hunting is part of successful conservation practices. The second fear was their fear of messing up and not knowing what to do. Pre-season preparation can help alleviate this problem. Women by nature are eager to learn and if they are given the proper tools and education, they often love the challenge of becoming a hunter and more often than not – excel at it,” states Metheny.
2. Special Challenges
Ambulating in dense woods or mountainous terrain is especially hard on women. As a rule, we are smaller than our male counterparts, and it takes more effort to move about. Boots are probably the most important part of hunting attire. Whether rubber or leather, you need boots that are comfortable, will not cause blisters and provide traction. I would consider boots designed for women and made by Irish Setter of Red Wing.
Recovering game might be another challenge. Think ahead. Use a cell phone to call for help. Research equipment that will make the job easier.
3. Surprises Facing Women
The enjoyment of hunting is amazing. All the concerns of the day melt into the back of your mind when you are in the woods. It can take your mind off your worries better than any vacation.
You might be surprised to learn that women can become very good with a gun or bow.
Another pleasant surprise is savoring success. When I harvested my first wild turkey, I was so shocked when he fell to the ground that I just sat there! John had to tell me to get to my bird. Quickly, I arose and got to the turkey. I could not take my eyes off of him and the sense of pride I felt that day was second to none.
4. Satisfactions of Hunting
The beauty of the outdoors is truly realized best when you are out there! Watching wildlife in its natural habitat is exciting. They will teach you more than an anything (or anyone) else.
Viewing a breath-taking sunrise can put a smile on your face – even when the temperature is freezing!
Concentrating only on hunting instead of daily duties and chores is another highlight. You cannot think about your laundry list of chores while hunting. I make it a point to get all the “must do” on my “to do” list done before hunting.
Cooking your trophy is a very special occasion. You’ll be one of the few women who actually do bring home the bacon and cook it up in a pan. The joy in preparing a meal that you harvested will help make it the best tasting meal you ever eat!
Vikki Trout is a full-time freelance writer and photographer from southern Indiana. She loves hunting turkey, deer, bear, and small game. When she’s not hunting, she loves capturing wildlife through the lens of her camera. Please visit her website at www.troutswildoutdoors.com.[hs_action id=”7201″]
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