It takes positive reinforcement to create a lasting relationship. I recently read a blog that reflected negatively on men in general and the way a few have tried to introduce women to the outdoors. I want to put a positive spin on the same topic. Below I’ll share what is being done correctly within our culture of hunting and spending time outdoors. It’s a topic that I know well, as I spend the majority of my life in and around hunting camps where I am surrounded primarily by outdoorsmen.
- They still give us their jacket when it’s cold.
I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been on a hunt in cold weather when a colleague, or my husband, hasn’t offered me an outer layer. Sure, I have my own heavy layers, but I still tend to get cold faster than the guys. Chivalry isn’t dead. These outdoorsmen always step up and ask if I’m warm enough, offer me a jacket, and even start the truck early so it’s toasty for me when we get in from the cold.
- Giving us some space to call our own.
I rarely feel crowded by the men in hunting camp. If I’m loading my gun, they don’t hover to see if I’m doing it correctly. If I ask for help, they are happy to oblige. I’m always given the same privileges as the men, and that includes a level of mutual respect. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand if you don’t feel comfortable, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to have them load your gun just because they think you can’t handle it. Communicate with the guys about your skill level, and you’ll have a great experience more often.
- It’s Not Just A Mans Camp Anymore.
Lady-friendly amenities have become relatively normal in most hunting camps. Depending on where and what you’re hunting, some camps will be nicer than others, but it’s not unusual to find a restroom set aside just for us girls in most camps. Even if it’s just for the week that you’re on site, as least you don’t have to share everything. Overall, I think that adding ladies to hunting camps around the world has brought some civilization and class to the usually rough natured atmosphere, and we should be grateful to the men who make it possible. I’m thankful for the kindness that’s been shown to me over the years.
- Confidence is Key.
Nothing looks as good as confidence does on a woman. Through social media I see men are showering praise on woman hunters for being a part of the tradition, and that is giving us more confidence in the field. Some of us will wake up at 4 a.m. to head into the woods with no makeup and messy hair – and knowing that we are respected for our strength and abilities instead of our makeup job is critical to our confidence. Conversely, some of us like to wake up 10 minutes earlier to put on a dab of makeup and we invest in well-fitting camouflage because that’s what makes us happy, and we still get the ultimate confidence when we are respected in the field for a good shot or a stalk well done.
It doesn’t matter if we wear makeup or not. It doesn’t matter if we style our hair or go with it messy. The only thing that matters is that we are out there enjoying those moments in the outdoors, and that we feel confident about it. Be sure to thank the outdoorsman in your life for boosting your confidence when he does. This goes back to that beginning statement I made about positive reinforcement.
- Helping Us Practice.
Let’s face it, many men want their woman to participate in hunting sports because it will give him more time in the field, and more time overall with his girl. I’ve noticed a surge in the number of men who take their lady shooting, whether it’s skeet, archery or to the range. When a couple decides to practice shooting together they begin to form a new kind of bond. Beginners might feel discouraged if they miss a shot or don’t see improvement quickly, but in my experience a true outdoorsman will work patiently with his lady to ensure that she is safe and happy during practice time. A little instruction now and then is good if she is a beginner, but give her some space to grow on her own also.
- Public affirmation of her success.
Rarely does a day go by when I am scrolling through social media and I don’t see a photo posted by an outdoorsman of his girl with some kind of trophy. Maybe she’s just in camouflage, or maybe she hit her first limit of ducks. No matter what the description is below the photo, I’m happy to see that many men are publicly praising their ladies for getting outdoors and working on their skills in the field. The outdoorsmen of today have created a culture of appreciation and affection towards women in the outdoors that is unparalleled.
- The Most Valuable Gift Of All.
So far we’ve covered everything from giving her your jacket, giving her confidence, social media praise, and even giving her the better bathroom in camp. That leaves us with a very important final gift that doesn’t cost anything, but one she’ll never forget – the gift of time. Time spent outdoors together is more valuable than anything else. If you’re sitting in a treestand together, filming each other’s hunts, or even learning new skills together as a team, these are the moments that you’ll reflect back on in the years to come. So be sure to thank your outdoorsman for taking time to sit with you, to help you clean your first deer, or even just when he loans you his jacket because he saw you shivering in the cold.
There are exceptions to everything, of course, but overall I believe our outdoorsmen today have stepped up and made us proud to be their counterparts. We outdoorswomen shouldn’t bash the men out there just because a few have made mistakes along the way. We wouldn’t want a man to write an article about all of the things we’re doing wrong, would we? So let’s celebrate the fact that we live in a place where we can spend time together in the woods, we can harvest our game legally, and we can continue this important heritage of just being outside together and enjoying nature.