Saturday, December 14, 2013

Women in the Outdoors

I would dare guess that 90% of our viewers have heard of the fallout from the Melissa Bachman lion hunt...

However if you are unfamiliar with the story, this photo has caused quite a stir in the anti-hunting community, causing anti-hunters to go on the attack against female hunters.  Female hunters are now continually being bombarded on applications such as Facebook and Twitter, receiving hateful comments and even death threats not only to themselves, but also aimed towards family members.  On the positive side, it has also caused a call-to-arms in the hunting and outdoor community as we have rallied around the ladies in support of their actions and dedication to not only hunting, but wildlife conservation as well.  If fact, it has also become a golden opportunity to teach those that may not know the role of hunters in wildlife conservation and management as well.  in fact, take a look at this well written response from Melissa to those that have criticized her actions:

I'm not going to delve into the topic of the lion hunt further, as most of us have seen so much of the news and controversy frequent our Facebook pages, email, and news reels over the past 2 months.  But I do want to talk about women who hunt, in a different light.

About a month ago while browsing Facebook, I came across a couple of pictures of my friend Lisa Woolsey of Cedar City, Utah that caught my attention.  Lisa posed with a couple of nice looking ducks in hand, the background highlighted by falling snow, ice on the ground, and by the looks of how Lisa was bundled it was obvious it was very cold.  Now, I like to hunt about anything (including waterfowl), and I am well acquainted with hunting in the cold, but something about this picture made me shutter that day.  I found myself thinking, "nope, not me, way too cold today"!  My thoughts then turned to, "why on earth would a woman want to be out in this nasty weather"?

The night before Lisa had posted about her excitement to get out on the river hunting ducks.  The forecast was very ominous; there was a very high chance of snow, forecasters giving it close to a 80-90% chance of snow, with several weather warnings issued for the poor conditions that were approaching.  I actually had to go back and find Lisa's actual word-for-word status posted on Facebook the night before her hunt to give it proper justice:
"Since people complain so much about the snow...I'd like to say "its snowing & cold & I'm suppose to go duck hunting in the morning." Is this weather going to stop me? You bet your ass it wont!! Can't wait to dress warm and still freeze just to go out doing what I love! Hope everyone has a good & safe weekend. — feeling excited."

What do you say to that?  I found myself in complete admiration of anyone that would make such a comment about their love of the outdoors - male or female!

I thought on it more over the next week of and on.  What commitment and passion to go out in those conditions!  Then, as the Melissa Bachman drama unfolded, I also saw many negative comments hammered towards female hunting friends of mine on Facebook and Twitter.  These antis slammed these great women for turning on their nurturing, mothering instincts and responsibilities in turn "teaching their children destruction and death".  But, in the midst of the negativity I also saw a lot of other women post the question, "why would a woman want to be outside doing things like that"?

I started to think of how few women I know personally that have that kind of drive and passion for the outdoors as women like Lisa exhibited.   Fortunately for me, I realized that one I know is my wife, even though she may not be as vocal about it.  It was no surprise I knew far more women that distanced themselves from hunting than those passionate about it.  In fact, a lot of the wives of close friends and family members are the type of ladies that can't understand why anyone would like to prowl around the hills in the dirt and nasty weather conditions, "wasting" time and money to chase an animal.  As I thought about that more I thought, who better to ask than a woman herself, one that has that passion. 

It was all perfect timing.  I messaged Lisa to ask her how she would feel sharing her passion for the outdoors, and telling a little bit about why it means so much to her.  She very quickly wrote back that she was very excited to do so, and enthusiastically started sending photos along with her feelings of what the outdoors are all about to her.  I am excited today to share this very personal look into her life and love of family and the outdoors with you.

I know everything I know about the outdoors because of my dad & brothers. They are known as the Duff boys. Very well known. Since we were little whether we were skunked or scored, we would give each other a pat on the back. I try to keep up with those Duff boys. They say I do a good job for a girl. It's an honor to be in the mountain with my dad & my brothers. Hunting our legs to jelly and back to the meeting spot to see what eachother found is something to always look forward too.

I love to fish!! One of my all time favorite sports ever. It bores some people. And yes there are days you need to have a lot of patience, but even if you catch nothing I take it as a bad day fishing beats a good day working. I Love to eat fish also. Learned how to fish, gut & cook fish from my dad.

 I don't care of the weather conditions, I will do what I love and enjoy regardless. Obviously you dress for the weather. But hunting water fowl is just straight out a rush & I love the feeling of shooting at something that comes in flocks & is a smaller target just to put yourself to a test. My motto is 'aim small miss small' I love walking up to the ducks and admiring their pretty colors and duck isn't that bad to eat. Getting a duck stamp was $15 best money spent.

 Only thing that is a bummer is getting your daily limit & having to call it a day:)


Another bird I like to hunt is pine hen.  And they aren't to bad to eat. Again I like to use them as target practice for my motto aim small miss small.

 This was fun catching a wiper out of new castle trolling in the boat! It's a mix between a bass and a striper.

This is by far by favorite deer hunt ever. My last year's 4 by 5. I hit it on a dead run going up a descent size hill. I didn't think I hit him so I chased him; I wasn't letting him get away. Well the closer I got to where he was standing when I shot him there was blood so I knew he was hurt. I finally found him laying down hurt so I finished him off. And yelled of course like a girl. I love deer meat and love to find their sheds also. Deer & elk shed season is considered a holiday to me.

Me after gutting my deer. I feel you kill it... you gut it too! Unless there is someone there that just wants to help ya.

Antelope was a fun hunt but didn't take long for that hunt to get over. Only had a doe tag; one day I will draw a buck antelope.  Meat was descent not the best.

Shed hunting is considered a holiday.  It feels as if I'm a kid on Christmas seeing something they want and can't wait to play with it and show it off.  Hiking pays off to keep in shape & to get out and enjoy scenery & find sheds & arrowheads.  I love being in the mountains; its peacefully, stressfree & is closest thing to heaven in my eyes.

Can't forget about these 3 blessings in my life. My wonderful kiddos who I take hunting & fishing with me as much as I can, depending on weather and how much hiking there is to do. I grew up and was raised to enjoy the outdoors and I look back and its always one of my favorite memories so I hope my kids can get that enjoyment out of it because I want happy kids and feel they will appreciate it when they look back and do it with their own kids like a tradition.  Me & Stoney share a lot of the same hobbies which is great, but I believe if ya hunt together you stay together. Most of our best memories are out in the hills.

I want to thank Lisa for allowing us to share in this look into her life, and for sharing her love and success when it comes to hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.  What an incredible lady devoted to family and tradition!

I hope that you take the time to share this one with your friends.  My high hopes of this post is that we can share the excitement that a woman has found in the outdoors, giving us an opportunity to share it with those that may be a little confused as to what hunting and fishing is all about, or maybe those that are a little hesitant to get their toes in the water of these sports will find that bit of motivation to step up and give it a try.  

In closing, I know most of us know that a lot of what holds the ladies back from getting involved in the outdoors is the image.  I think women hunters are frequently viewed as rough around the edges, maybe a bit trashy, and lacking the class and grace that make a woman a woman.  I encourage you to take a good look around if you find yourself saying that.  Just look at these photos here today for example!  Here is a young lady, a young mother, who can hit the field and look classy doing so!  It's been a long time coming, but the outdoor clothing and gear industry is just coming around to outfitting the ladies.  Major outdoor companies such as Cabelas, Sportsman's Warehouse, and Bass Pro Shops (to name a few) have a large, growing line of clothing and gear for the ladies.  

Even apart from the outdoors, I'm sure any guy (as well as girls that already love the outdoors) can tell you, there's something to be desired and admired about a girl that can rough it in the outdoors and still get all dressed up for a night on the town.  It doesn't distract from class and gracefulness at all, it adds to it.  I for one am thankful for a wife that can rough it in the hills and still captivate my eye and and steal my attention in any formal setting (thanks babe!).  

I'd dare guess Stoney Woolsey would say the same thing about his wife, Lisa.  

And to you ladies out there representing all of us in the outdoors, keep it up!  You are great examples to all of us!