For several years, anthropologists have told us that the reason there are more male hunters than female hunters is because that is the way it has been all through history; from the beginning of time…that is what they want us to believe.
With the start of fire arm deer season only a few days away, I thought it was high time that someone told the REAL story of why there are more male hunters than female hunters. It has nothing to do with cave women keeping the home fires burning and tending to the kids. What it has to do with quite simply is this; hunting clothes and the call of Nature.
First, let us investigate hunting clothing for women. Up until the last several years, there WAS NO hunting clothing exclusively for a woman…not even the darn socks! A woman had to go into the men’s department to get ANY type of hunting gear. For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to stick with fire arm deer season and blaze orange clothing.
First of, there are two types of hunting “suits”. There is the one piece, which usually has an attached hood and has a zipper up the front. That zipper is about the right length for a man who is approaching 7 ft tall, or there are various styles of hunting pants and jackets (some with hoods, some without).
The one piece male style hunting ensemble will not fit the female form properly by ANY stretch of the imagination. Usually when a woman puts this on, the crotch of this thing hangs someplace down by a woman’s knees, so that is where the zipper ends up too. IF she CAN get it up to her shoulders, then it is all bunched up at the top and the hood sticks up above her head about 2’. Now combine that with your hunting boots and try to walk and carry a rifle. The hood is about a useless unless you want to use it as a back pack to carry extra food or an emergency kit (which you for sure will need if you trip and fall). Even though this IS insulated, it doesn’t help much when you fall face first.
The two piece presents its own set of tribulations as well, although they are similar to the one piece issues. Let’s start with the pants. Sometimes these blaze orange, insulated pants (or sometimes bibs) have zippers up the outside of the leg for ease of getting your hunting boots on. Then of course there is the zipper at the waist area, usually accompanied by a button that is too big for the button hole or a snap that never really worked (these are grand features if you have cold fingers). Once a woman steps into these insulated pants and makes all the adjustments, the top of the pants usually are someplace near the hub of the rib cage (bailer twine will take care of that minor nuisance…or a pair of suspenders??). Now, we get to the insulated, blaze orange coat! These come in a wide variety too, but the one I am most familiar with has 4 slash pockets in the front, a big, old heavy zipper down the front which when zipped is then flanked by material that covers the zipper and has some of those cold, hard snaps on so you can cover up that 4’ zipper with more material. The outer material of the coat is made of something that feels like a canvas tent (and is just as pliable). Then you have a thick layer of insulation of some kind. Once you get to the inside of the coat there are a few more pockets to put things in (You are going deer hunting, not on a week long expedition, so why all the pockets??). The inside material is nylon or something that makes a “swishy” sound. You will sound like a one woman band coming through the woods (which is not good for sneaking up on anything in the woods). If there is no attached hood, just put on a blaze orange stocking cap.
Again, since this coat was made for a man, the sleeves will be too long and they will be bulky. The zipper will come up under your nose. The coat, because it is not designed with you in mind, will bunch up the whole length of it. If you have managed to find some nice warm gloves, they will be bulky too. Women, the ONLY thing that MIGHT fit you properly is your orange stocking cap and your own underwear.
Regardless of whether you wore the one piece or the two piece, if there was a 30 point, 260 pound buck TIED TO A TREE only 20 feet from you, you would NOT be able to take that shoulder shot! You are going to have to learn to shoot from the hip! WHY, you ask??? BECAUSE YOUR HUNTING CLOTHES ARE ALL BUNCHED UP AND YOU WOULD NEVER, EVER GET THAT RIFLE TO YOUR SHOULDER AND BE ABLE TO SIGHT IT IN!
Just to let you know, they DO now make hunting clothing for women…as long as you are the size and shape of Barbie, you’ve got it made.
Now, we need to cover the call of nature….first, think about the poor woman in either the one piece or the two piece and she is a mile or two from camp, out in the woods, no leaves on the trees, no live vegetation around…what is she to do?? It isn’t easy for a woman hunter when nature calls. I know this from personal experience.
I HAD a one piece blaze orange suit with a hood…just like the one I described Dan and I were hunting on the western side of the U.P., camped in our pick up camper out in the woods. We’d walked about a mile or so from camp and we weren’t hunting together, but each of us had a good idea where the other one was. The trees were bare, there was no vegetation at all and Nature called me. I was not about to walk all the way back to the camper only to have to turn around and come back out again…and it was about 32° that day so the weather wasn’t too bad….I could do this…no one was around….
I unzipped that 6’ long zipper, pulled my arms out of the straight jacket (that’s what it felt like at this point because I was IN a hurry!), got it down around my knees (couldn’t go any further due to all of that insulated material), managed to get my jeans, my long underwear, etc down to my knees and assumed the position. I stood up, “re-dressed” and was amazed that I hadn’t wet my pant legs OR my boots…and no one had seen me! I flopped that hood back over my head and then wondered “What the heck is that warm, wet sensation I’m feeling down the back of my neck and shoulders??” Then it dawned on me…the reason I was so successful at not getting my pant leg wet was because my HOOD HAD BEEN IN THE WAY.
I was furious and vowed to myself and the nearby trees never to hunt again. I found Dan and I said “DON’T ASK ANY QUESTIONS! I’m going back to camp!” and I stomped off in what I HOPED was the direction of our camp. Dan finally got back about 90 minutes later. He said “I suppose there is a reason that your long underwear and bra are thrown over the bushes? Your hair is wet! Did you just shampoo your hair?” I said “Yes, of course there is a reason my long underwear and bra are thrown over the bushes! IT is because they are wet from trying to wash them out in cold water! And yes, I TRIED to shampoo my hair, but my curls were freezing as was my brain!”
While we were outside going through the story, some other hunters who were camping up the road stopped by and said “Don’t you know that you shouldn’t be hanging your whites out this time of year? HA, ha ha”. I can only assume that they had figured out that it was laundry day for the woman of the newly baptized camp WGARA (pronounced Whogara…which stands for Who Gives A R.A.?)
So all the money that has been spent on studies trying to figure out why more male than female hunters could have been spent to make a line of hunting clothing for women.
Next lesson is about purchasing that perfect rifle for a left handed woman….
Our New Normal
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