Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween !

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

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 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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mule Deer and Cougars

It has been a very long couple weeks which included my Mule Deer hunt and am now currently in the midst of my Elk hunt. Here is an update of what transpired during my deer hunt.

For starters the weather had been very mild and warm. So much so that it seemed as though I'd be better off spinning my wheels riding my road bike verses hunting. While the morning temps ranged from the mid 30's up to a balmy 50 and the forest was tinder dry, afternoon temps climbed into the upper 70's and teetered on the verge of 80. In my book that is way to warm and makes for extremely challenging conditions. None the less I was ready and eager to put in my time and make a go of it.

I was hunting close to home and appreciated the comforts after a long day of crawling through the brush. It was during my third morning when I was creeping along very slowly, my senses tuned in to the slightest sound that I caught a glimpse of movement off to my right about 15 - 20 yards. I froze instantly and was able to see the big cat's dark muzzle as he turned his head away from me after catching my movement. He moved fast with a sense of urgency, stealth in action as he flew down off the old slash pile while I watched him disappear into the thicket. My heart surprisingly stayed in my chest while my head processed what my eyes just saw and concluding that yes indeed that was a Cougar. Still my heart was calm, and if only for the reason that he fled from me I knew I was safe. I thought for a moment while still froze in my tracks from when we caught each others peripheral movement, that was to big for a Jack Rabbit. The tell tale signs of a cats movement are undeniable. They move like water, fast, silent and stealthy. No wasted effort or energy what soever. The buckskin color and the long tail gave him away. I immediately went to where he was and looked for tracks and only found a partial as he was on dried grass stubble before he disappeared into the thick dark woods. I didn't find any carcass either in the immediate area.

Umm I thought, very cool and a part of me had wished for a longer look although the outcome of such may have been quite different. I never had time to shoulder my gun and perhaps get a quick shot off. Then I thought oh great, he's out here hunting deer as well, and anything else that looks appetizing. So, maybe I was in the right place at least he thought it was a good place to be. I continued in the direction I was going and eventually looping around to where he exited to and I never did see him again that morning, thankfully. For that matter I didn't see any bucks either. Fine, I figured we were even, no harm no foul so to speak.

The next morning I hunted a different area (imagine that) and fortunately it had rained hard all night. I slept in a bit and didn't get into the woods til a bit after 9 a.m while it was still drizzling, but tapering off. It was a wonderful change of pace to have the quiet earth beneath my feet and smell the rain drenched pines and Bitterbrush. I stopped after a couple hours to shed my rain pants and as I got underway soon thereafter I ran across fresh tracks. These looked promising as there was dry dirt kicked up in the front of the tracks. I peeled my eyes as sharp as I was able and then I saw a mushroom that had been kicked over and nibbled on a bit. O.K. I thought, I'm getting close now, I can just feel it. Well let me tell you I had no idea just how true those thoughts were until about 4 or 5 steps later. In mid step with my left foot forward barely touching the ground and rolling off my right foot there he was! Right smack dab in front of me with most of his body hidden behind very tall Bitterbrush. We locked in on each other for the ultimate stare down. At 25 feet away or maybe less I could see only his left main beam sweep out to the side and split into a fork or better. The conversation one has with oneself at a time like this is somewhat comical and one of dis belief.

My gun was at waist level with both hands firmly grasping it so that I'd be able to bring it up to my shoulder quickly, or at least that was the plan. Clearly I was in a pickle and while I tried as best I could it was only a matter of time before my muscles were going to start twitching and shaking and ultimately be completely busted. I was fine for about a minute as we watched each other intently for the tell tale signs that I was not a bush, tree or any type of vegetation what so ever. While the buck kept a sharp eye on me licking his nose, blinking his eyes and tilting his head I thought to myself "here's my buck and I just blew it big time". While my muscles were starting to fatigue I had no option other than to try and slowly raise my gun to my shoulder and perhaps he would tolerate it. Nope, he blew and bolted and my adrenaline surged and my legs shook as I watched the buck take flight and win our stand off. No chance of getting a shot off due to the heavy timber and ground cover. I never did get a good look at how many points he was, although he had a very nice rounded full body. I think initially he was getting ready to bed down because as we spotted one another he appeared to come up off his right front knee.

So now the tracking begins and I tracked him for a good hour and a half maybe more. Then I got into some areas of private land and opted to swing around and point myself back towards the truck. Not more that ten minutes after doing so, did I hear a single gun shot from the direction he and I were moving in. I was gaining on him although the wind was swirly and not helping. I was a bit disappointed on one hand and on the other very thankful for having gotten so close. Just wasn't as ready as I thought I was.

The season ended on the 13th of October and I never did see another buck. I did see 5 does on the last day but that was it. All in all it was a fun hunt and what an experience to have seen that Cougar. A day in the field I won't soon forget and thanks for the schoolin' Mr.Buck!

On a gear note I was wearing Sitka Gear's Nimbus rain coat and pants in Mtn. Mimicry and they worked to perfection. I love that gear and thanks to the gang at Camofire for the incredible deals.

Am trying to catch up to an elk now and have a few days left. Will give you that report when I recover a bit and with any luck will have a better outcome than my deer hunt.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt
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