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Wilderness Obsession Celebrates International Womens Day

On International Womens Day in 2017 we thought it was a good idea to highlight some of the ways the women in our lives have made a difference, in relation to our love for the outdoors.

Growing up in a very old-fashioned family in a largely old-fashioned society, the majority of the hunting and fishing was done by the men. However, our mother and grandmothers encouraged and nurtured our involvement in the outdoor sports. They never complained very much when we headed to the great outdoors to pursue the sports that we loved. While it’s easy to be cynical and say they loved when we went to the woods only because it got Dad and the boys out of her hair, I believe our mother enjoyed seeing that bonding, and in hearkened back to her own memories of growing up.

And although they didn’t do much hunting, none of the women in my family were shy about cooking the harvest. One of my favourite memories of growing up was how amazing it smelled when my grandmother had a rabbit and grouse stew on the stove. Likewise, we had too many home-cooked meals of deer steak when growing up to count, and the ladies were often working to bottle up some meat preserves to ensure the harvest lasted a long time.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman NB

As I grew into my teens, even my mother got involved in hunting, although it was never her passion. She had some success, taking a few deer… but it was always done more out of duty than out of love for hunting. We proudly celebrated any and all of her harvests as it provided many hearty meals for the family! She also might toss a line in the water if we were on a family vacation, and her love for shellfish meant she did some clam digging. None of these things really had a hold on her, but she loved to celebrate and encourage the passion she saw in her sons (and husband).

Our mother and grandmothers weren’t with us in the field all the time, but they were always there in the background, teaching us the ethical lessons that we took with us to the woods and water. They were the ones who molded the people we became, even more so than our father and grandfathers who took us out with them. What you do when nobody else is looking, after all, is the true measure of the kind of person you are!

These days the fastest growing segment of the hunting and fishing community is in women participants. It is not uncommon to see a woman at a hunting or fishing camp, and celebrity “huntresses” such as Eva Shockey are growing more popular than some of the men in the industry! Some of these celebrity women have experienced a great deal of backlash from society, perhaps for stepping outside the “societal norms” and celebrating their love for the outdoors… but they’re here to stay and proud of it!

Jennifer fishing at the Annapolis Royal Causeway

Here in New Brunswick, the NB Wildlife Federation has instituted a very popular program to help women try new outdoor activities in a supportive and non-competitive environment. The program, called “Becoming an Outdoors Woman (or BOW)” has been growing in popularity and sells out almost immediately after registration opens, showing the demand for these types of activities! Women get the opportunity to choose courses for the weekend, on a wide range of subjects to help them grow in the outdoors.   Nathalie Michaud, coordinator for the program, spoke to us about BOW and women in the Outdoors in general:

"Becoming an Outdoors Woman (B.O.W.) has been in New Brunswick for 20 years and we organize one workshop a year, in late spring. Over the years, we have hosted over 2000 women to teach them basic outdoor skills, from shooting a gun, to casting a fishing line, to building a fire and basic camping skills. It is amazing to see women from all walks of life attend this workshop and leave after three days feeling strong, empowered, self confident and just plain happy. Groups of women in outdoor sports and activities are growing every year; we see an increase in young women in Firearm Safety and Hunter safety classes; we see more women in the field hunting and fishing and a large percentage of these women are the ones teaching their kids to do these activities. We are here to stay! I am woman, hear me roar!!"

The program is so successful and popular that the NBWF has to save spots for the many member fish and wildlife clubs throughout the province to ensure members get a chance to go. (Wilderness Obsession is always a big supporter of these clubs and we encourage you to get involved on a local level for this and many other reasons).

More information about the BOW program for women 18 years and older can be found at the following link. Please note that the 2017 program is already sold out:

http://nbwildlifefederation.org/programs/becoming-an-outdoors-woman-bow-program/

Companies are realizing the buying power of this growing segment and you are seeing products customized to appeal to women. Guns, bows, fishing rods, clothing, and nearly everything else are being designed with women in mind. Walk into any of the major hunting suppliers and you’ll see many tools and clothes in “pink camo.” In fact, as of today, there are five US states that allow “blaze pink” as a substitute for blaze orange for hunting (Wisconsin, New York, Colorado, Louisiana, and Virginia). Some studies say that blaze pink is seen by humans more readily than orange, and it’s not something that is traditionally seen in the forest setting… so it offers a similar level of safety to hunters.

Kourtney with her first Lake trout

My own wife Jennifer, who was quite foreign to hunting when we got married nearly 19 years ago now has her hunters/firearms safety training and a range membership, being an active member of our local fish and game club. Like my own mother, I don’t know if it will ever become something she’s passionate about… but she sees the love I (and our son) have for it and she’s willing to give it a try, to share in some of these experiences. She’s not afraid to tent with me, and lots of her own gear including her own kayak. She has been an avid angler since she could barely walk, and when we take her out… she’s more likely to outfish me than not. (that’s why you don’t always get invited, honey!)

David's wife Kourtney is also an avid fisher, happily sharing the summer in the kayak or simply shore fishing whenever time allows, and has shared many a fishing excursion with us.  What can be said for a wife that plans a lake trout fishing trip by herself to kick off their family vacation?

Today, on International Women’s Day, we salute and celebrate all the women in our life who influenced us in becoming the passionate hunters and anglers we are today! Thank you to you all!

2017-03-08 16:47:43

 

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