Here is some information that a trapper out of Wisconsin posted, and, as a woman and a sportsman, I found it quite interesting and pretty much dead-on in many ways. Skye Goode is her name, and you can check out her full blog here. Now, don’t get me wrong…..I am all about hunting with my guy, as I am obsessed with sharing those super awesome hunting, fishing and trapping moments with him, but with technology, it is possible to feel like you’re there without actually being there. You can now capture moments like that on video and not only have them in your memory bank but also on a hard drive.
As a huntress, I can SO relate to what Skye has to say, as before I met Jason, I only bow hunted on my own. At the same time, I’m glad to have him around to incorporate into my memories, whether it be via video, photos and in my head, and to share the thrill of catching up to and successfully harvesting an animal you have been hunting.
What do you think about this?
- He’ll want to carry everything for you. This may sound like a perk, but in fact you could miss out on key shot opportunities if your man is carrying your gun or bow. I recently went elk hunting with my boyfriend in Colorado, and yes, I depended on him to guide me being that I’ve never been West of St. Paul before and he’s an expert on elk hunting. However, he insisted on carrying EVERYTHING, including my bow, the range finder, and all the calls. He was only trying to help me since I was having a tough time handling the altitude, but still, I was so frustrated because I kept thinking as we were walking through the thick brush that I might only get a split second to nock an arrow, and that opportunity might be gone if I don’t even have my weapon in hand. So on one hand it’s nice of him, but on the other hand, if women want to be treated equally, do whatever a man can do, and be strong enough to carry out the game you’re about to kill, carry your own damn stuff!
- He’ll insist on doing all the calling. I’m not sure why, it might relate to why men always have to drive when you go somewhere, but I’ve noticed that anytime I go turkey, deer, or coyote hunting, whether it be with a guy friend or my boyfriend, the guys always insist on calling. I’ve encountered alot of guys that are TERRIBLE at turkey calls, or hammer on a distress call like a drunk with a party horn. The exception to this rule is seniority. When I go hunting with an experienced, veteran hunter, I do not overstep my bounds and I sit back and absorb every bit that I can. This way, when you go alone, you can have the chance to try out those same techniques. So if you are already an experienced caller, you should have that chance to showcase your abilities. In the same respects, if you are new to calling, the only way for you to learn is to practice yourself! So if you go hunting alone and are forced to use that turkey diaphragm or open reed coyote call, you’re going to have to learn and you’ll only improve with every hunt. Sometimes when we hunt with another person, we are embarrassed or shy to try calling on our own, so going alone gives you the chance to build up that confidence.
- You need to make your own mistakes. Hunting shouldn’t be this fad or craze that it has become on Social Media. Every woman is a “huntress” or “prostaff” and has a “Public Figure” Facebook page. Yet most of these women have never set foot in the woods alone, or even have more than one season under their belt. One of the most important aspects of hunting is to learn from your own mistakes. You will make many. Many. In turkey hunting, there can be everything from misjudging a distance on a shot, jake versus tom, even shooting the decoy. You might set up in a spot that looks great but no birds. You might set up on the wrong side of the flydown or have some bitch of a hen steal your tom away. In coyote hunting, learning to set up according to the wind direction is key. Along with being on good sign, learning whether or not to use distress calls or coyote vocalizations, judging distance, waiting for the right time to take the shot. In deer hunting…well, we don’t have enough time to list all the mistakes that you will make deer hunting. But the point I’m trying to make is; if you head into the woods and someone says, “Sit here, Face this way, it’ll walk out right there, then shoot”, you are not learning nearly as much as you would by spending your day in the woods alone. Literally every single time you go hunting or trapping you will learn atleast one new thing. I’ve never been on a hunt without doing something stupid as well.
A few seasons ago I missed a huge buck. Like huge. I estimated he was at 25 yards but when I checked after the shot he was at 34 yards. The arrow went right under his belly. I cried, gave up hunting, then cried some more. I was alone in the swamp and didn’t have anyone to range for me, tell me to draw back, tell me to watch for that limb, tell me that he was at 34 yards, etc. I had to make that mistake on my own and it still haunts me when I think about it. But redemption was sweet the next week when I shot a nice buck to fill my archery tag for that season.
Now sometimes we have hunting mentors or get the rare opportunity to hunt with a veteran hunter who will have a vast amount of knowledge to share with you so you can avoid a few mistakes. This is an opportunity that you do not pass. If you get an invite to accompany an old-timer on his trapline, you better be calling into work sick that day. This is a great way for you to learn how to gut your own deer, set your own traps, fillet your own fish, etc. The point I’m making here is to make sure that you spend an equal or greater amount of time in the woods alone, making stupid mistakes which will guarantee to make you a better hunter.
- One person makes way less noise. This is a no-brainer, the more people you have tromping through the woods, the less stealthy you can possibly be. Women tend to be lighter and step more diligently than a man. Women tend to pay more attention to detail and not step on sticks, break brush, etc. If you go alone, you can mimic walking like a deer by taking 3-5 steps, then stopping and looking at your surroundings for 10 seconds. You can even put a turkey call in your mouth in the spring and fall and do little “putts” to imitate a hen walking through the woods. This will put all critters at ease, especially the “look-out” animals like blue jays, squirrels, and crows.
- You need to take care of your harvest. It is of utmost importance that when you shoot an animal, you get the meat cleaned and processed as soon as possible. When harvesting animals for their fur, it can be a matter of hours before the pelt slips and is rendered useless. If you take on the extraordinary feat of harvesting an animal, you have to take the responsibility of caring for it in a timely manner so as not to waste a single usablepart of that critter. That is why it is important for women to not only enjoy the process of killing an animal and posing for a trophy picture, but you also have to know how to gut, quarter and/or skin from start to finish. If you think any part of that is “gross”, then you probably should not be hunting in the first place. Hunters have a duty to honor every animal they take, whether it be a squirrel or a bear.
- Cooking up what you harvest. Okay, this is a blatant stereotype. But women can cook. It’s just the way it is. Women also value providing for their families and making sure their families are well fed. I guarantee you will have an amazing sense of pride if you go shoot a deer, gut it, bring it home, cut out the fresh backstraps and fry them up for your family all within a few hours.
- Greater sense of accomplishment. I think this is the number one reason that women should be attempting to hunt and trap solo. There is nothing more rewarding than preparing for your season, scouting, calling, sitting still all day, and then harvesting an animal all by yourself. Some of the best turkey hunts I’ve ever been on were with my cousin Adam. He taught me a lot and basically put several birds right in my lap. I appreciate and cherish the memories of those hunts. However, when I shot my first turkey all on my own, I’ve never cried so hard. I sat for 13 hours on an oak ridge until finally a nice mature gobbler came up behind me responding to my calls and I flopped him right next to the decoy. The sense of accomplishment was so overwhelming, and the confidence boost made me realize that I do have what it takes to hunt solo.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is always fun to spend time with a spouse, family member, or friend in the woods. I’m not trying to come across as some bra-burning womens’ rights crazypants. The point I’m trying to get across is that if you are going to take on the responsibility of being an outdoorsman, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not because it’s “cool”. So, if you can accomplish the same feats in the woods solo that you can while with a friend, and you genuinely live to hunt, then you know that you are there for the right reasons. If you need someone else to tell you how to load your gun, or where to sit, or if you can’t tell which direction the wind is out of, please, stop. If you don’t dare set foot in the woods because you don’t know what to do on your own, then please, stop.