Around this time of year we tend to see a proliferation of news stories in papers across the country about "Women Hunters." These recent articles from northern Michigan's Traverse City Record-Eagle and eastern Pennsylvania's Mercury are decent examples. While all such stories seem to mean well, I'm usually of two minds about them. I realize I've blogged about this before but, again, it's that time of year.
On one hand, they're just great. They shine a local spotlight on some proud and enthusiastic women, who seem thrilled to tell a reporter all about their sport. Stories like these tend to be positive and energetic, and I can imagine a non-sportswoman reading one and thinking this hunting thing might be something she'd like to try (especially if she's surrounded by less open-minded guy hunters than I've been fortunate enough to know.) All good stuff.
On the other hand, however, I wish "Women Hunters" wasn't still just a go-to news trend. I'm looking forward to the day when a female is an assumed presence in a deer camp or duck blind, rather than a headlines-worthy exception to the norm. It would be great to eventually have a story titled "Women Take to the Woods" sound as obvious to public ears as "Men Take to the Woods." Of course, realistically, in terms of numbers, women are very much in the minority, but I still like to project.
This is all part of why I love our blog so much. Of course, we're women (at least most of us!), but the majority of our conversations aren't about being women hunters; they're about being hunters -- who also happen to be women. It's a fine distinction, but one I like to keep in mind. At the end of the day, our identity as a man or woman makes no difference to the deer on the ground, or the quality of the venison in the pan, or the conservation project funded by our license dollars.
As for these perennial news stories -- keep them coming. While I'm not thrilled to think of myself as a novelty, I'd be far less thrilled if such stories were to stop. Hopefully they'll get even more females out there, so the idea of a woman in the woods becomes a lot more common a lot sooner. -K.H.