by:

posted in: General

June 4, 2013

Why I’m Not a Hunting Widow

In almost any small town across the US, there are a few things you can count on. Neighbors help each other. You will almost always meet someone you know at the grocery store. Lots of guys hunt. And many of their wives or girlfriends don’t.

I have often wondered if this gender gap is a holdover from our prehistoric hunter-gatherer days when physically stronger men did the majority of hunting, or if women in general find the testosterone fueled stereotype of hunting distasteful.

Whatever the cause, there is no shortage of “significant others” who stay home and disapprove of their guy disappearing each fall to hunt. But I am not one of them – I’m part of a small but growing number of women who refuse to become hunting widows, because we take to the field with, and without, our men.

While recent studies show the overall number of hunters in America is holding relatively steady, the percentage of new hunters that are women is increasing, and sporting journals are filled with speculation on the reasons behind this demographic shift.

While I don’t speak for everyone of my gender, I’d like to share a few reasons why I hunt:

  • I did not grow up in a hunting family; in fact, I didn’t begin hunting until I was in my mid-30’s.  As an adult, I started finding out more about factory farming and the conditions animals are raised in, which encouraged me to become personally responsible for my own meat. I value the knowledge that it has lived a natural life, is always taken under fair chase conditions, and is treated as respectfully as possible.
  •  You can’t beat wild game if you are looking for lean, truly organic meat.  With the growing awareness of genetically modified food, and the secondary effects of commercial food additives, I prefer to know that the meat I eat is free of these types of concerns.  Additionally, being a successful hunter here in the Rocky Mountain west means I’m going to be hiking multi-day backpack trips at high elevations, and that’s a pretty good incentive to eat healthy and stay fit year round.
  •  I’m not embarrassed to say I love the great hunting clothes available to women these days. There was a time when any camouflage clothing that fit the female figure wasn’t designed for rigorous in-the-field use; that level of performance could only be found in gear designed for a man’s body shape.  Happily, the days of rolling up the cuffs on your husband’s or brother’s hand-me-downs are over. Today, clothing companies are making camouflage specifically for us, providing both the fit and functionality we need.  And the fact they look great doesn’t hurt.
  •  There is so much more to hunting than the split second it takes to fire a rifle or release an arrow. There’s an entire spectrum of mutual experiences that bring my husband and I closer – the anticipation of drawing tags, the planning and preparation, and the days spent together in nature away from cell phones and email. To me, the most significant moments aren’t the ones captured in the “hero shots” of a successful hunt.  They are the nights spent on a mountaintop in a tiny tent during a spectacular thunderstorm, the delight in stumbling across a patch of ripe wild raspberries and sharing the quiet, unrivalled beauty of a sunrise with the most important person in my life.

Ladies, if you have never hunted, keep this in mind – women today can and do hunt without having to become “one of the guys.”  Whether you have the opportunity to take to the field with your husband as I do, or whether you join one of the many women’s hunting groups that are springing up across the country, don’t mentally write hunting off as a “guy’s only” activity; to do so is to shortchange yourself some of the great personal rewards and satisfaction that come with it.

Guest blogger Catherine Thagard is the wife and hunting partner of TRCP’s Western Outreach Director Neil Thagard. 

One Response to “Why I’m Not a Hunting Widow”

  1. Michael Sabbeth

    Thank you for your compelling article. I found most affirming your willingness to take action to enrich your food, in terms of both the quality of the meat but also the ethical context of the animal’s life. Your narrative shows the power of the individual to positively influence his or her life, even in a mass culture, and even though it may be in a limited way.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Mia Sheppard

by:

posted in: General

May 25, 2013

World Champion Women of Spey Casting

Mia Sheppard and Marcy Stone celebrate after the competition. Photo by James Chalmer.

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the world championship of spey casting known as Spey-O-Rama. Held at the world-renowned casting ponds in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the event is devoted to introducing the public to fly casting and angling.

Oh, and did I mention it’s a competition with a 15-foot, 10-weight rod and long belly line? Long belly lines are traditional fly lines that measure more than 55 feet; my line was 68 feet.

This was my fifth year competing at SOR and I was thrilled to take first place in the women’s division. What an honor to cast with so many incredible people. Together we work to get better and push the limits of the sport.

Check out the video of me training for the event.

When SOR first began 10 years ago, the winning cast was 120 feet for guys and 80 feet for women. This year, the longest cast was 191 feet for guys, a new world record set by Geir Hansen from Norway, and 144 feet for women.

One might wonder what goes into a cast like that. Just like any other sport, practice, timing and tempo are important. As I trained this year, I focused less on distance and more on timing and tempo.

I practiced my casting stoke but most importantly I focused on breathing. Maintaining a slow, consistent inhale and exhale with a pause in-between helped me keep my casting rhythm. This breathing pattern enabled me to deliver a smooth cast for six full minutes. When factoring in the long line and heavy reel and rod combo required for the sport, one can understand why breathing, timing and tempo are important.

I look forward to more competitions and, more importantly, more time on the water in the years to come.

Read more from Mia and check out her blog, Metalheads.

by:

posted in: General

May 23, 2013

Orvis Exec Picked to Lead Board of Sportsmen’s Group

Story courtesy of E&E News

 Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today announced that David Perkins, vice chairman of the Orvis Co., will lead the TRCP board.

Perkins, an avid fly fisherman who joined Orvis in 1979, will replace Katie Distler Eckman, a former executive director of the Turner Foundation who has been chairwoman of the TRCP’s board since 2011.

TRCP partners with dozens of sportsman and conservation groups to lobby for greater access to public lands, conservation funding and balanced energy development.

“As one of the only conservation groups to focus on federal policy and funding that affects millions of acres to conserve habitat and access for hunters and fishers, the TRCP has the platform to make one of the biggest differences in preserving our natural heritage,” Perkins said in a statement this afternoon.

Perkins also sits on the board of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Orvis earlier this year announced plans to match its customers’ donations — up to $50,000 — to support efforts to oppose a sprawling open-pit mine proposed for Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, a project the TRCP has also vigorously opposed.

“At both a personal and professional level, Dave’s commitment to conservation and sporting traditions is unsurpassed,” Eckman said in a statement. “He has been a steadfast supporter of the TRCP since its inception, and we are privileged to have someone with his talent, dedication and vision take the reins as the organization enters its second decade.”

by:

posted in: General

May 22, 2013

T.R.’s Summer Travel

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

How well do you know T.R.? Give our Wednesday Win trivia challenge a try. 

Theodore Roosevelt had three travel related firsts as president.  He was the first president to ride in an automobile for state purposes; he was the first to ride in an airplane.  Do you know the third?

Leave us a comment below or email your answers to info@trcp.org for your chance to win a copy of The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories edited by Jay Cassell.

Mia Sheppard

by:

posted in: General

May 21, 2013

My American Right: Public Access

I have second thoughts as I arrive at a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It’s more like a glorified trail that hasn’t seen a grader in years. According to the map, it’s about five miles to the river.

Hoping it won’t be too bad, I turn onto the trail and brace for the bone-jarring bumpy ride. My Ford maneuvers over sharp basalt rock, and sagebrush scrapes the sides of the vehicle. I pray the truck doesn’t get a flat or overheat in the scalding sun – cell phones don’t work out here.

Mule deer look up in curiosity; their heads twitch back and forth, and then they go back to eating wild bunch grass. This backcountry hasn’t seen a vehicle in weeks. The truck continues to creep along barely exceeding five miles per hour. After an hour, I crest a sage-covered flat and finally see the river.

In contrast to the burnt brown and yellowish hard clays of the landscape, the banks of the river are green with native grasses and willow. I analyze the river, trying to determining where a fish might lie.

There’s a small pool turning behind rocks and a soft seam hugging the bank. My first cast is upstream to the grassy cut bank. Stripping fast, I take a couple steps upriver and cast again, this time behind a rock where the current is moving at a considerable pace.

Photo by Alice Owsley

Bam!  The trout explodes, cartwheeling out of the water. She’s strong, pulling, not giving in, but her fight ceases after a few minutes. I bring her to the bank, remove the hook and release her.

These public land experiences are an American right. As a hunter and fisherman without access to private land, I take most of my trips afield on public land. I need access to the arid high-desert backcountry, which forms my playground for hunting chukar and mule deer and fishing for trout.

In southeast Oregon where the majority of my time is spent recreating, there are millions of acres to roam, and still sportsmen’s access to public lands is being infringed upon.

With the current demand for oil, gas, solar and wind energy, our public places are increasingly vulnerable to development. The TRCP is working to ensure that energy development is done in a responsible manner that balances our energy demands with conservation of core fish and wildlife habitat. Without this balance our favorite places to hunt and fish will be lost.

If you’re willing to go on an adventure, you can get lost on the endless backcountry dirt roads that lead to rim rock breaks or trout streams in the desert. These special places have no road signs, traffic lights or city congestion – just arrows pointing to dirt roads that cross an endless landscape.

I want to see these American landscapes kept the way they are so that one day I can come back to catch and release a trout again. Join us in ensuring that we keep public access an American right.

What is your favorite backcountry hunting or fishing story?

Mia Sheppard is the Oregon field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and fishing bum by night. To find out more about her work to help conserve public backcountry land, go to www.trcp.org.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CONSERVATION ISN’T
RED OR BLUE

But a little green never hurt anyone. Support our work to ensure that all hunters and anglers are represented in Washington.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Be The First To Know




  Please leave this field empty

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Be The First To Know




  Please leave this field empty

You have Successfully Subscribed!