Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cabela's, Please Return My Call !

I'll warn all of you that this post is about a personal irritation to say the least, so read on at your own risk. Let me apologize if I step on anyone's toes, then again maybe they need to be stepped on.

I am frustrated, angry and mad about the fact that there is not a single company manufacturing or offering, a quality Woman's Breathable Camo Chest High Wader. Yet there are well over a dozen different styles and price points for men to choose from in a breathable camo chest high wader.

As a woman hunter having spent over 35 years in the field chasing ducks, geese, pheasants, quail etc. I endure 1/2 as many gear choices as the men. Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Macks Prairie Wing, Dunn's Sporting Goods, Drake Waterfowl and Gander Mt. are all guilty of ignoring women. In any of these catalogs there are but a few choices of women's boots, be it knee high rubber or leather field boots and many pages of men's boots. The same is true for clothing and waders.

I am tired and angry that when I ask "when is your company going to start offering Women's Breathable Camo Chest High Waders" the sales person either dismisses my question, asks if I want to be put on their mailing list or simply apologizes. None of those responses work for me in the slightest.

Seriously, if the sport of waterfowling is to continue to grow then it is time to meet the needs of women hunters and actually have a selection of materials and fabrics to choose from, not just one style. Women as consumers are a powerful group and once involved in a sport or activity their family often follows. Sons and daughters carry on our outdoor traditions in the shooting sports. There are even more choices of outdoor related garments and products for boys then there are women. Wouldn't it be nice for the women to be just as well outfitted and comfortable as even the little boys?

Let me tell you why I want Breathable Camo Chest High Waders. Hunting in early October and November temperatures are quite mild. Neoprene waders are heavy, don't breathe and after walking for 15 minutes in them in 40 degree temps or higher I am soaked. Were I were wearing a Breathable Camo Chest High Wader that dissipated my body's heat, I would remain dry and comfortable. Neoprene is old technology and about the most uncomfortable experience I have had as a hunter. How many of you men enjoy sitting in sweat soaked neoprene? Not my idea of a good time.

I have called Cabela's corporate headquarters over a half dozen times in the past two weeks and left messages with 2 different individuals and still have not had my call returned. For a company that is the size of Cabela's who boasts excellent customer service, I am a bit mystified with their lack of response.

Furthermore being a Cabela's Club Card member and loyal customer for more years than I care to admit, it is even that much more baffling to me. Also some of us women like plain, solid color chamois shirts because we actually hunt in them. A chamois shirt with a colorful pattern or horse print just doesn't work for us all.

Are manufacturers ready to listen to what women hunters really want and need? Please start treating us as equals. As for the camo lingerie, well I personally don't know any woman hunter who wears it, nor do I think it was a woman's brainchild.

I'm sure I am not the only woman who turns the pages in these catalogs and feels a bit of disgust at some items and then disappointed at the lack of choices in other areas. I personally have spoken with dozens of women hunters over the years who share my sentiments.

I will give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that since I started waterfowl hunting in the late 60's there has been much progress. Technology has evolved and improved our comforts immensely, although we are still lacking equality in products produced for women.

When I first took to the field with my dad I remember layering up in over sized men's gear and could hardly flex my joints. Shooting was that much more of a challenge. Early season was fine but as winter came on, so did the extra layers. I loved being afield with my dad, each time was special and I cherished those days. He made sure I was warm so as to ensure I'd have a positive experience and it paid off in more ways than I can put into words.

Yes we have wonderful lightweight insulating fabrics such as capilene & thinsulate that also wick moisture away from our skin. Also naturals such as wool that don't scratch or itch like that of generations past. I see more offerings of hunting boots for women both in the knee high rubber boots as well as leather and synthetic field boots. Nonetheless there are also areas where our needs as women hunters are not being addressed by the manufactures within the industry.

I am asking all women hunters to help me get our voices heard. Please leave a comment and let me know what you are trying to find and tell your friends to drop by and do the same. I will then create a dedicated page here at Women's Hunting Journal and with your permission, I will add your name to the page. I will create links to this original post and keep the page updated. I am hoping to initiate a change for the better and have more options available for us and those women who follow in our footsteps. If you have some ideas please email me personally at quailflats@gmail.com. I welcome any and all input. Together we can be heard, join me and let's make it happen!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Barbara Baird said...

Good idea. Will start making my list. Keep us in the know if Cabela's calls, but don't spend a lot of time sitting by the phone, Girl.

Anonymous said...

From a guys point of view I just wanted to say I hope your concerns are heard and answered.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Terry Scoville said...

Barbara, thanks and nope I'm not sitting idly by.

Rick, thanks for your support, it means a lot to me!

Rogue Huntress said...

I understand your perspective completely. Not only am I a female hunter but I am also 6 feet tall. I can NEVER find anything in Cabelas that fits me. The women's clothing all falls short by about 6 inches and the men's stuff never comes in smaller sizes. I have attempted to contact several companies who boast women's hunting apparel about offering it in tall, or long sizes but have never had any response. I feel your frustration.

Okie Rednecks said...

I will be looking at what I need too. I don't waterfowl hunt (yet) but I do deer hunt and have found that the selection is small and priced much higher than the mens!!!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

I'm with you Terry. I am 5' tall, about 97 pounds. I have trouble finding womens clothing for my size! But to have anything in hunting apparel, are you kidding me? Even the Boys stuff isn't proportionately correct for me. I usually look like a kid dressed in her Dad's hunting gear. If Cabelas was smart, they'd be doing their research into women hunters needs. There are WAY MORE women hunters than anyone realizes. It could be a great market. I wonder who will "get it" first?

gary said...

Dang, I know a loaded double barrel shotgun with both hammers back when I see one! I'll guide Sue over here. She's not into water fowl hunting (yet) but some of her 'get ups' when we hunt are quite humorous to look at, so I'm sure they aren't real comfy.

I know she has tried neopreme gloves for gardening and I've tried them when cleaning animals in the field and both places they end up on the ground while we dig in with the hands. That stuff is terribly uncomfortable.

Hope you rattle enough cages!!

Terry Scoville said...

Rogue, Oakie, Karen and Gary,
Thank you all for your input, support and shared frustrations. Please do email me with your "want list" and I'll get a page here dedicated for the cause, shall we say. It is way beyond our time and I'm not getting any younger.

suzee said...

Thanks Terry for tackling this issue! My problems with hunting clothes has been with the colder weather clothing. I can live with the warmer weather selections, but have never found a good insulated coverall that fits a womens torso! Also haven't been able to find any wool shirts and pants. Even in the mens department the wool clothing is very lacking. My experience in really cold weather has been that nothing works as good as wool.I have a pair of Gary's wool pants that got washed in hot water so I've inherited them ( Gary thinks I washed them in hot water on purpose!)They arent pretty and they don't fit just right but I've never found anything that works better. Sure would like to see womens hunting clothes come out with quality insulated coveralls and wool pants and shirts!

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Terry- I noticed this as well purchasing my first pair of waders this year. I'm lucky in that I'm 4'10 and anything child sizes fits me. I bought children size 4's from Bass Pro and they've worked like a charm. All my deer camo is all child's as well which is nice because it has a lot more insulation than anything else. Keep us up to date on how they're taking it! And let me know if I can help!

Rebecca said...

Terry ~
This is a topic I am frequently frustrated by. Although I don't waterfowl hunt, I Fly Fish (alot) and finding a pair of decent Womans waders that actually fit is nearly impossible for me. Furthermore, I hunt Elk/Antelope/Bear and purchasing camo is not enjoyable. Half the stuff I buy is (kids) boys size XL. I'm 5'8ish. Not tiny, but the mens attire fits sooo huge. Anyway. One day, the industry will recognize Woman as a driving force in the outdoors. Keep going....
(Oh, and this could just be me, but please, please, tell them from the Outdooress....no freaking pink needed. I know I'm a girl, the guys know I'm a girl, I don't need the pink flash on the Mountain. In fact when they do add the pink, I won't touch it....Even IF it fitted)

Cristina Acosta said...

Great post Terry!

Jennifer Montero said...

Terry - I've ranted on to you about the attitude of the UK shooting fraternity (and I mean FRATERNITY) to women in the field. So here's my wish list -

1) For fox sake...NO MORE PINK

2) heard wearing wool shirts, nice button down ones in a neutral plaid

3) boots in women's sizes (men's UK 5 is only ONE SIZE AWAY from the avg women's feet. If mfgrs just included a 4, the majority of women could buy them as well.)

4) as I'm ranting I might as well include - a good wool sweater without the tight band at the bottom. It rises up over my hips and lets wind and rain onto my lower back and down my pants.

EcoRover said...

Ah Cabela's, we knew ye when... Bought my first gear from the big C in the late '60s and you could call up & speak with somebody if it wasn't right. And then they'd make it right.

My partner (female) found some Orvis waders a few years ago that fit like a charm. A little spendy but worth it after trying to make due with the "unisex" sizing nonsense.

Anna Vogler said...

Amen Terry! I STRUGGLED finding waders for duck hunting last year. In one size, the shoe fit good while the rest of the wader was too small. If I went bigger in wader size, it would just about fit me, but be too big in the foot. So I went with the size that closest fit my body. But then the crotch is so LOW that I can't even take normal size steps. I have to walk in small steps. And yep, you guess it. The waders are MEN's waders. The only waders I could find at Bass Pro Shop for duck hunting. I need something for a tall woman, size 10 shoe, and size 10 (med-large) body. If I did find women's duck hunting waders, they probably wouldn't be long enough from the foot/boot to the crotch to fit me! Its a nightmare. And lets not go there on real women's camouflage. Some of the newer companies have some great clothes out there, but none of it is long enough for my arms, legs and torso. AND --- I just can't wear high rise britches. OK? And it doesn't have to be such a low cut either that my crack shows! But I wish I could find some pants that hit right below the belly button, boot cut, and LONG. I need a 35" inseam.

And why can't I find women's briar pants for quail hunting? UGH! can we please make a cute pair that fits as good as women's jeans? Like I said above, mid to low rise, boot cut, and a 35" inseam. Men's briar pants are just way too big! WAY!

Thanks for listening Terry and sharing our comments!

Jules said...

Women's wide hunting boots! They exist, but they're rare. Men's boots often don't go quite small enough, and sometimes boy's boots don't go big enough. So we're stuck wearing ill-fitting boots.

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Okay, my list for HLYH (not The Rouge Huntress)-

SMALL WOOL SOCKS. I have TINY feet and finding wool socks for waders has been impossible.

FUNCTIONAL HUNTING GARB SANS PINK. It's really cute to buy camo things that say neat things but unfortunately those don't help. Children stuff is good because it's cheap but it never fits %100 correctly. I got a neat archery jacket for the warmer months but it was COVERED in pink. I get it, we're girls but do we really need to be plastered with pink? I think not.

UNDERARMOUR WATERFOWL HOODIES- I love these hoodies (I'm wearing one now) but mine is a small men's and the shoulders are weird. The whole thing doesn't fit but it was the smallest size I could find.

WADER PANTS- I found men's sizes but even the smallest would be dragging on the floor and probably not fit my behind (I played hockey- it comes with the territory).

That's all I can think of. If something else occurs to me, I'll let you know!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have trouble with coveralls, insulated coveralls. I usually feel like I'm carrying a load in my pants and have to belt them to help the legs from dragging the ground. On the other hand, I have a large foot - size 10.5 - which is impossible to find in a nice women's boot. The sizes jump from 10 to 11, neither are ideal for me usually. I'd love a hiker type boot, lightweight. I live in the mountains and humping these hills can be hell. With oversized coveralls and ill fitting boots, it is a daunting task. One I usually don't tackle. I might if I had the right stuff!!! Thanks for the list!!!!

Ms. Roberts said...

I am a size zero and cannot find women's hunting clothes in my size. I am 5'8" and 125 lbs, Cabela's size 4 pants could fit two of me. So, smaller sizes and men's quality wool sweaters (same wool density, buttons, elbow patches) in a women's cut and camo/outdoor clothing in non-pink, women's sizes. If I see one more pink-ringed buck's head logo, I may puke. If companies would only realize that women are equally aggressive and physical when they are hunting and made clothing to the same quality standard as men's, it would fix a lot of the problems.

Terry Scoville said...

Thanks for sharing your wants and opinion about women's hunting clothes. I echo your sentiments regarding pink camo and the fact we women are equal to our male counterparts when it comes to ability. Only difference is in physical strenght, not ability, desire or dedication. Frustrating for sure.

lyn said...

I double the comments of Rogue Huntress and Anna Vogler - I'm 5'10" and I am FRUSTRATED at the lack of LONG/tall pants. I can tolerate pink, and camo - I have settled for stuff that just fits. I really need insulated pants for cold weather with thinsulate or something equivalent. Flannel just doesn't cut it. I just flung our Cabela's, Bass Pro, and Carhartt catalogs across the room in frustration.

Doreen said...

I want breathable camo chest waders with stocking feet, sized for women, so the crotch is not halfway down to my knees.

Doreen Pfost

Nik G Me said...

Oh! I am so glad it isn't just me!! I don't even think I am unreasonably sized (about 5'09" and 140 lbs) and NOTHING fits right. Pants are almost all at least 2 inches too short...and I don't know what woman the "She Safari" line was made for, cause those shirts are tiny! Nothing makes me feel like stretch armstrong faster than trying on a large or xtra large in one of those shirts. 3" inches of arm sticking out and more tummy than I like to admit. I realize that we are hunting and its "not about how we look" but it is uncomfortable to try and wear 6 layers of over sized and ill fitting clothes and still move. Besides that, when I shoot things, we take pictures. It would be nice to NOT look like a giant camouflaged marshmallow ONCE in a while. Thank you for your post. I wonder why cabela's doesn't offer the womens pants in "unhemmed" condition like they do the mens...that is really all it would take! That and quit making it 5x more expensive! Thanks for letting me vent. Been hunting since I was 5 and still feel like an outsider...I don't want to be the kid/woman playing in daddys/husbands camo any more!!!

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