Hank Shelley

Social shift to hunting includes women

Shuswap Outdoors/Hank Shelley

Way back Susan Boarma and husband, Jack, loved to hunt and fish.

I first met them when we lived in Merritt (a lake a day for as long as you stay). Moose season was on, and the three of us were off on a three-day hunt behind Missezula Lake/Pike Mountain. An inch of snow covered the ground – in the bush a winter wonderland.

Susan was following Jack around a swampy location when she whispered, “Jack, a bull moose.” His comment was, “Oh sure,” with a snicker. Boom went Susan’s rifle. They had meat for the freezer.

Around the campfire at night, Susan would bring out the Brownies fried chicken chunks we’d do over the fire with our sharpened red willow branches (she’d gone there before closing time, 35 cents each. I swore I’d never eat fried chicken again after three days).

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Many of us hunters have a special month – it brings with it the smell of leaves turning, the crisp tang of frosty mornings – and that month is October. But, like old age creeping up on youth, you wake up one morning, stroll outside to sip a coffee, pee in the bushes alongside the garage, the smell of fall in the air. Your dog also knows you are becoming restless. But wait, your wife hollered, “lets head out to check on grouse spots and deer sign!” Jack is thankful his wife loves the outdoors! There’s a social shift in hunting which is multi-faceted. Women are learning that hunting is a rewarding challenge. An opportunity to spend time with friends in a shared purpose. Being with your partner/husband, enjoying what each likes. To thinking of their kids and the recent recall of commercially processed meats. Plus, the price of groceries climbing. Game meat contains no pesticides/hormones. A great feeling to enjoy moose/elk/deer dinners to family/friends, knowing you hunted in fair chase to bring home that animal.

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Besides, the media loves female hunters. Lilly Raff Caulou, author of Call of the Mild, learns to hunt my own dinner. She was tired of city life and moved to Oregon where she took a hunter safety course, acquired a gun and began to hunt small and large game. She calls hunting, “A final frontier of feminism.”

I personally know many gals who love to hunt and fish, who can clean and dress their own fish and game animal and do a better job than the guys, including help in hanging game and butchering, cutting and wrapping.

Hunting provides women with a new way to appreciate our natural resources and a unique opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth.

On hunting and fishing, I don’t regret the things I’ve done; I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance. In the latest edition of BC Outdoors, it gives great examples of gals with rods – Cathy Ruddick who, with her husband, owns Ruddicks Fly Shop. Krista Lea, operating manager of Gibbs Delta Tackle, April Vokey, fishing guide/teacher/director of the Steelhead Society of B.C. Marilyn Murphy, a fishing guide since age 17. The list goes on. Besides, it just feels right to have a gal in moose/deer camp, or out on the lake fishing. Hats off to the ladies in our lives.


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