_ Today, we break with tradition, and welcome a male voice to the women's blog. Deputy editor David E. Petzal is one of the pillars upon which Field & Stream rests. He's much loved/hated among readers for his years of regular writing in the magazine and his Gun Nut blog on the website. And as the resident rifles expert, he's the one who first handed me a gun and taught me how to shoot._ Because of his vast experience, knowledge, and just because he has so many great stories, I asked him to do a guest post for the blog. Freakishly efficient and quick with a keyboard, within hours of my request, he happily sent the essay below. So, here's some outside perspective for you. -K.H.
Difference? What Difference?
Kim Hiss asked me to write about the difference between men hunters and women hunters, and I am happy to report that there is none that I can see, except that when women are in hunting camp, men have less of a tendency to act like rock apes.
The first time I hunted with a woman was in 1985, in New Brunswick, and it was for woodcock. I was hunting with the late Gene Hill, and it turned out our guide was a woman, a tall, rangy gal who did not say much. Gene and I, being arrested adolescents, thought the idea of a female guide was pretty funny -- until we broke for lunch.
There was a crabapple tree nearby, with small, rock-hard apples. Our guide picked one, tossed it up and down a few times, and pegged it at a telephone pole. The pole, I swear, shook from the impact, and Gene and I looked at each other with a mixture of awe and terror. From then on, there was nothing funny about women guides.
Since then, I've hunted with probably half a dozen women, and found that in the field they are exactly like men (except in elk camp, they don't smell nearly as bad). They carry their weight, ask for no concessions, and will not make any. They are quite similar to women who are in the service; once that uniform goes on, they are soldiers or marines or airmen first, and women second.
I am all for them. They may just save our sport.