- More Than a Sunrise Greeting!
- Sacred Skills for Focus
- Natural “Learn How”
By Forrest Fisher
For learning new things about something that men are typically very good at, like hunting – when the outdoor ladies commit, they are ALL IN. Especially when they want to be involved in ALL of the sport: aiming, shooting, reloading, hunting, cooking – it’s a long list!
It turns out – social media shows us proof with pictures and videos that women are so very good in the outdoors. Going out on a limb here, dedicated women may be more logical and a bit more evolutionary to the task at hand than some of the men I know. I did say “some.” Not trying to throw stones, but there’s lots of proof.
Women adjust, if only where they sit in the woods or how they hold their hunting implement of choice, and they seem to know how to make changes that can form their cornerstone for future activities. They know about adaptability. They know what it means to dedicate their efforts and they understand how to be comfortable and happy while exercising obligations to themselves with a vision for success. They seem happy trying to get there and to stay responsible to achieve their purpose.
Maybe that’s it, they define the challenge and their purpose better than guys. Maybe they read instructions better than guys – or at least maybe they read them completely.
I for one, admire these traits that I have witnessed when shooting, fishing, cooking or simply looking at new outdoor gear with women. They ask questions outside of my perspective, especially good questions too, as they seek to validate spending their cash. They are fundamental to seeking good answers for a solution to their question and their curiosity. Is this a maternal instinct that men don’t have? End of story? Maybe not.
Especially on this item, they understand safety. Above all, it seems once women learn, they do not forget.
Enter Vanessa Toews, an energetic young lady from postal delivery service life near Winnipeg, Canada. Last year she set out on a mission to learn all about hunting and then wanted to go try it.
In her own words, “If I wanted to continue eating meat, I needed to see it through – beginning to end. I needed to appreciate exactly what went into a life being taken in order to sustain mine. I spent hours in the bush and online reading. I did turn to experienced friends for advice and help, but I learned about details. So many times I wanted to give up when hunting. Sitting in the cold, alone with my thoughts. Which if you know me, can be a scary place (lol)!”
Vanessa continues, “Then last Friday I was finally given the opportunity, and with ammo that I reloaded myself, I took the shot. Words can’t describe the experience! I can’t thank friends and family enough for the support and also the ‘holy cow, I just shot a buck and have no idea what to do now’ phone call.”
She adds, “So there I was with my first buck, my first deer, on my first shot at a deer with ammo that I had loaded myself – a bit spooky all by itself, and I was speechless. Just filling my freezer with organic, healthy meat from nature’s wilds for the first time. I just felt so vital and sort of reborn in nature. I now know why people hunt. Wow.” Waiting a moment and adding, she says, “You learn appreciation for the animal life cycle and ecology and survival and the heritage of our ancestors.”
For many in our modern society today, this might always be uncharted terrain. Many may never wish to accept the challenge to learn of the extraordinary details that hunters incur for their own subsistence by choice.
Successful hunters, men and women, learn to understand their own limitations. They accumulate unmatched insight to overcome weather and comfort, and manage other obstacles that can limit their success. Their control of the many variables allows those that hunt to understand the age-old heritage of harvest from the woods.
So I asked Vanessa what about tomorrow, next time, next year, try it again? She answers honestly, “I love what I do and I work hard for it. I’m the kind of person that enjoys learning the in’s and out’s. It’s hard to grasp concepts without knowing the fine details of how it all works. The best part about that is, there is always something more to learn! I’ve always been that way.”
Vanessa admits to knowing herself, “I’m very hands on and appreciate finishing a task, big or small, on my own doing. Now some may call me stubborn (she laughed), but there’s something to be said about fully immersing yourself and feeling the rewards of accomplishing the said task.”
Providing more details, “That deer was a perfect example. There were many times where I thought it would never happen and that maybe I just wasn’t cut out for hunting. I can’t even count the number of times I shouldered my gun when a doe would walk in, just so that when the time did come it would be second nature. Hunting is buck only in my hunting area, as deer populations are low. I actually have my own property that I decided to scout and pattern the deer movements on. I passed up on an opportunity to take a spiker last year simply for that reason. That it’s my property and I would rather see the populations flourish. “
She humbly adds, “On reloading, I had worked up a load for a Nosler 180 gr ballistic tip. CCI primers, with 54.5 grains of Hodgdon 4350. I found this to shoot the best grouping out of my Savage 30-06. I currently have a variety of loads for the 150 gr Nosler partition with IMR 4895, but didn’t feel comfortable shooting at a deer with ammo that I haven’t tested yet. The 180 gr was slight overkill, but reliable. Even after mentally preparing myself for a buck, when that guy did walk in at around 60 yards and I shouldered that gun, without him even flinching, it hit me. And I promised myself, if given the opportunity I would take it. Words can’t begin to explain the emotions you experience in that situation.”
The big question: “Would I do it again? The answer is yes! As sad as it is to take a life from the woods by myself, I would much rather do that than buy meat from a store. It’s the ultimate in cruelty free, in my opinion, and when you work that hard for your food – well, you appreciate eating it that much more!”
On Facebook, when I last checked the posting of the deer that Vanessa Toews took home, over 400 people had liked or provided comments of congratulations or thoughts. To me, that’s amazing. That’s progress.
When women who are successful in the outdoors share their secrets, they contribute to the growing new culture of women, and men, who consider joining the ranks of the outdoor hunter next year. The trails for lessons to success in the woods remain hard work that many have struggled to find.
There is a wealth of wisdom to be found in learning to be a hunter. The number of lady hunters and shooters is on the rise. Respect them, learn from them.