We’ve been a little gear heavy for the past few posts, so now for something different, we have an entry from a guest blogger—outdoors writer Kathy Etling. She’s written a stack of books and magazine articles (see her bio below), and is a passionate outdoorswomen. Here are her thoughts on being a huntress… KH

When I started hunting I’d attract a milling, somewhat amazed check-station crowd whenever I brought in a white-tailed deer or wild turkey I’d bagged myself. By the time the Missouri check station tradition ended a couple of years ago, it was common for my daughter, who’s also a hunter, and I to meet other successful female hunters frequenting the same check stations. What has been so gratifying is knowing – and seeing – the results of what would become a personal lifelong mission to spread the good word about hunting to other women while also doing my best to convince men that yes, women belonged beside them in the field.

Those hunting genes that helped our ancestors survive, during that past 2 million years, weren’t selectively handed down only to men. Women also received those genes, and sometimes more than a mere dollop of them along with patience, fortitude, cunning and endurance. Readers who have borne or raised children will recognize the latter qualities as essential to being a good mother, one with effective parenting skills. Add those qualities to our hunting genes and females become a force with which to be reckoned when they take to the hunting woods.

Hunting and bowhunting rely not so much on brute strength as on stealthiness, intellect, perseverance, woodsmanship and sheer physical endurance. A game animal is gender neutral. Whether hunted by man or woman it will use the exact same tactics in an attempt to escape.

Hunting is a great equalizer. The sport is fun, healthy and relaxing. Healthy because a hunter must engage in physical activity to hunt, an activity one can make as strenuous and arduous as she wants. Healthy because a successful hunter harvests her own sustenance — wild meat that not only contains little saturated fat, but is devoid of the antibiotics, steroids and hormones that lurk is so many of today’s domestic meat products. Fun because when you’re hunting your mind is released to experience nature as few other people ever will. Relaxing because hunting is often a solitary pursuit, one which generally takes place far from the madding crowd.

Women have recently flocked to hunting in droves for another reason, too: they have learned that it’s a great way to forge strong bonds with the man in their lives, their children, family and hunting sisters.
I now have a granddaughter. My fondest hope is to someday take to the woods with both her and her mother where together I foresee enjoying outings as memorable as those I enjoyed with my daughter when she began hunting with me as a child.

I know already that when my life is over my last thoughts will be happy ones of the many days spent afield with my family and the tired yet contented feeling of coming together to share our tales of the hunt in our cabin or in a tent pitched near timberline.

I can only hope that those now reading these words have found – or soon will find the same joy and fulfillment in hunting as I have. If so, your life will have been good, indeed!

Here’s Kathy’s bio and a link to some of her books

_Kathy Etling has been writing about the outdoors since 1982. She’s been on Buckmasters magazine’s masthead since its inception, has been the Field Gear Editor for Petersen’s Bowhunting magazine for over 15 years, and was Outdoor Life’s Missouri Editor for ten years. Kathy has written numerous features for the NRA’s American Hunter, Petersen’s Hunting, and Sports Afield. Her books include Hunting Superbucks: How to Find and Hunt Today’s Trophy Mule and Whitetail Deer, The Quotable Cowboy, and Cougar Attacks. She collaborated with Montana’s Susan Campbell Reneau to write The Thrill of the Chase: Women and Their North American Big Game Trophies. Kathy’s most recent book is Bowhunting’s Superbucks. Scheduled to be published this fall is Kathy’s biography of Denise Parker, the youngest American woman to win an Olympic medal in archery.

Kathy has won numerous national awards for her writing, including the William Vogt Award for environmental conservation from the Izaak Walton League, and the Apogee Award from the Western Outdoor Writers.

Kathy has hunted elk, bighorn sheep, whitetails, mule deer, antelope, wild turkey, and upland game all over North America. She’s also taken blesbok, greater kudu, and a record book impala in Africa.