My Introduction into the Hunting World

After learning of my not-so-feminine hobby, this question almost immediately follows: “How does a girl like you get into something like this?” They seem to find it hard to believe that a girl could get into hunting on her own free will, without the influence of a man.  I usually just smile and say, “I grew up in Alaska.”  After an upbringing like that, hunting wasn’t exactly an outrageous pursuit.

When most little girls were playing with Barbies, I was playing with fly tying material.  (Cut the hook off a Pike fly and you have instant entertainment for a kid).  I thought salmon-flavored tap water, daily Griz sightings, and 30” Rainbows on the first cast were normal.  It took all four of my family members to make the lodge run.  Dad as the bush pilot & head guide, mom as the chef, and my sister and I as the maids/waitresses.  Although as a teenager I heavily resented having to drop my life and friends and haul off to Alaska every summer (conveniently missing any warm weather season) I secretly loved it.  The removal from the clutter and influence of society and being placed in an atmosphere that emphasized what is most important in life – family and the outdoors – molded me into who I am today.

Sure, it eliminated my ability to retain a normal social life and pursue any school oriented sports, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It’s no wonder most of my classmates couldn’t quite figure me out.  I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.  I got used to the “Have fun with the penguins this summer” yearbook signings, the strange looks when I came to school in camo, and had no idea what the latest celebrity gossip or current fads were.  Quite honestly, I didn’t care.  I came back to school with an entirely different mindset than my peers.  I’m sure my apathetic attitude towards what most teens my age cared about seemed strange, maybe even intimidating.  It probably didn’t help that about this time I went from awkward teenage girl to suddnely morphing into my mom.  I think I would have been easier to stereotype if I was, well, ugly.  But by this time I was about 15, and the damage was done.  Fitting in to the conventional teenage girl world was quite literally about as impossible as it could get.  So I gave up.

It was shortly after this realization that I decided to take Hunter’s Ed and get my first rifle.  Way cooler than pom poms and a letterman’s jacket, in my opinion.  That .270 Ruger became my new pride & joy, and buck fever began to consume my mind.  Hunting became my sport.  I was always too independent for team sports anyway.  I hunted primarily by myself that first season, against my parent’s wishes of course.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  But, I was glad to be doing it by myself.  Despite my efforts and a few skipped days of class, the season ended without success.  I was one unhappy girl Dec. 2nd, 2002.  In the peak of the rut the following year, I finally got my first deer.  A decent buck, actually.  From then on, I was hooked.  For a rookie hunter, there is simply nothing more exciting than tagging your first buck.

I went elk hunting for the first time that year as well, and thanks to the North Idaho alders, didn’t even see one until 3 years later.  As far as I was concerned, their exsistence was indefinite.  I remember one year hunting in monsoon-like weather (only freezing) with my dad in Avery.  I had taken two weeks off work (and college – but he didn’t know that).  It was the last day of season, and we hadn’t seen anything but rainy, miserable skies.  There was a rock outcropping at the top of a ridge that had been taunting me ever since we got there.  Since at this time I really had no idea how to properly locate elk…I was convinced that simply hiking up the nastiest, steepest, brushiest country was my best bet.  Actually, I wasn’t too far off on that assumption.  After some persuading I convinced my dad to join me.  Let’s just say that this hike was 50% 6’ alders and 50% pure rock climbing, straight up.  Did I mention it was raining?  It was at this moment I thought to myself for the first time…”WHY am I DOING this??”  We got to the top of the ridge, sat down on what seemed like the top of the world, and it started to snow.

At a time when we should have looked at each other and said “This absolutely sucks”…we just started laughing.  No, we didn’t see any elk that season.  Yes, it was 90% miserable hikes.  But moments like those make up for all that.  According to some I had 6 unsuccessful years, but I could go on for hours listing memories and experiences that I would never trade.  Hunting isn’t always about killing.  That’s why they call it hunting.  You have to genuinely love it to continue doing it here in North Idaho.  You have to be ok with going years without even seeing the animal you’re chasing…and putting miles of strenuous hikes, hundreds of dollars, and countless hours in anyway.  This is the mark of a true hunter.

So, there you have it.  I wasn’t dropped on my head as a child.  I’m thankful now to have women like Tiffany Lakosky to inform the world that not all female hunters are brute mountain women.  If only she were around when I was in high school, damnit.  It would have saved me a lot of strange looks.  You can rock pink and camo.  You can be feminine and hunt.  In fact, I feel more attractive in full camo (stylish camo of course) than I do in a little black dress and heels.  Not because it’s “rare” or attracts attention, but because I shouldn’t have to forego my femininity just because I hunt.  Quite honestly I couldn’t care less if women hunting is “rare”.  I did it in high school when it was nothing less than weird, and that didn’t stop me.  Back to my original point – there is just something sexy about carrying a weapon and knowing you have the ability to kill.  Hence my most favorite icon, Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the hunt.  This is also one of the reasons I plan on making a small clothing line dedicated to female hunters – but I’ll talk more about that later.

Although there are a lot of women out there who get into hunting just for the sake of becoming a novelty, and probably don’t truly enjoy it (as in can’t-wait-to-get-bloody-enjoy it), I still say go for it girl.  You never know, you could get hooked.

 


Feb 18, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 1

 

One comment on “My Introduction into the Hunting World

  1. It’s a shame that more people cannot accept a lifestyle centered on nature. Often i find that people who focus solely on how they “look” keeping up with the manufactured trends and fads. They find so much stress in the busy lifestyle that they cannot see past their own nose.
    So obviously when faced with these kinds of people, given your background and interests, youre met with… hostility. It’s not right at all, because what you experience at the end of a hard hike on a specific mission to do what you’ve trained for, what you’ve worked and sweated for, is exactly who you are supposed to be. People who identify themselves with things that change and go out of style will never really be at peace with themselves. The same is not true with hunters, because we do something that has done since humans have needed to eat, we follow a desire to be one with the nature around us.
    It’s great to see women getting into the sport, to bring their femininity and experiences. Compare it to lions, where the lionness hunts for the pride. Women have just as much stake and claim to hunting as men.
    I hope more women see your story, and others like yours, so they don’t feel like they have to hide their true nature

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