About the Post

Author Information

I’m obsessed with my trail cameras and run them year ‘round, catching everything from rutting bucks to sneaky coyotes and hungry bears. Turkey season keeps me busy in the spring and I buy tags for as many weeks as possible to keep an excuse to be out there! My favorite part of the hunt is calling, and I enjoy calling turkey in the spring, coyotes in the winter, and deer in the rut. I recently started a trapline and have snares set for fox and coyotes.

Getting Women in the Woods


Skye's grandmother, Nancy Brown

Skye’s grandmother, Nancy Brown

By: Skye Goode

Women are traditionally homemakers and baby-raisers.  Generally women have hobbies that keep them close to home or are incorporated with their children and other moms; nothing that requires them to leave the home for an extended period of time.  Since the dawn of time, men have been the hunters, women the gatherers. It’s not uncommon in a family to hear the patriarch say, “I’m going hunting out West with the boys for a few days; be back Sunday”.  Never can Mom leave for days at a time, leaving children with Dad so she can chase whitetails out-of-state.  But it’s now 2014, and times they are a-changin’!

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my father was the sole provider, and worked his tail off to ensure that my mother, who taught me the ways of the woods, was able to buy any gear, ammo, licenses she needed to hunt, fish, and trap 365 days of the year without question.  Often times I thank my mother for teaching me the ins and outs of hunting and fishing, but also, I should be thanking my father for working hard each day so my mother didn’t have to.  My aunts also had a role in watching me when I was too little to tag along so my mom could bear hunt and bowhunt.  In my immediate family, my grandmother and mother were the only ones who hunted, though in recent years, many of my aunts and cousins have participated in small game and deer hunting as well.  What once was a male-dominated activity out of necessity to feed the family and pay the bills (furs), is now a fun bonding experience for both the males and females in my family.

Tess from Wisconsin, hog hunt on Ted Nugent's Sunrize Safari Hunt 2014

Tess from Wisconsin, hog hunt on Ted Nugent’s Sunrize Safari Hunt 2014

I am truly blessed with my supportive family and friends, who sometimes watch my son so I can make it out to the woods during those peak times of the rut or be there for the flydown in the spring.  Even with help, I still only get to hunt a fraction of the time I would like to.  There are many times that I am sitting at home, unable to get out to the woods because I don’t have a babysitter.  Don’t get me wrong, I cherish every moment with my son, but I have to admit that I am counting down the days until he is old enough to sit still against a tree for hours with me.  Being a mother, raising my son on my own, and working full-time to pay the bills makes it difficult to leave the house at 5 am and hunt until dark, or to tag along on the weekend long out-of-state hunting trips with the guys.  That makes me feel an enormous amount of pressure on my shoulders to fill a tag when sometimes I only have one weekend during the season to get it done.  I have come to know many women like me who have a strong desire to get out in the woods, but are homebound due to gender roles or overloaded responsibilities.


Taylor Daubenberger, Score 157

Over the years, I have had many failed relationships and friendships, and they all seem to have one thing in common: I spend too much time hunting and not enough time at home.  Generally speaking, I would begin dating someone, they would make comments such as, “It’s so cool that you hunt”, then once a hunting season began, they quickly realized I was an imaginary girlfriend, and would be gone dark to dark if allowed to.  Luckily, I’ve found someone that understands my “addiction” as he calls it, and is willing to take my son out on the farm while I sneak away to chase animals in the woods!

Women have began to infiltrate the hunting industry, evident by Melissa Bachmann’s viral picture of a lion she harvested in Africa or Eva Shockey’s cover shot on Field & Stream magazine.  Women have their own lines of camo clothing, archery equipment, and even television programs.  Not surprising, many other women look to these celebrities as role models and want to try the sport out themselves.  A beginner cannot simply pick up a gun and walk into the woods expecting to shoot a trophy by herself.  They need help, and that’s where you guys can play a role in getting gals into the woods. 


Sara Goettsch, Shooting 3D Archery!

Sara Goettsch, Shooting 3D Archery!

I would suggest not starting her out on a bow.  There are always exceptions, but as a general rule, and us bowhunters know this, starting someone out with archery equipment when they have never been in the woods is setting them up for failure.  Archery requires a lot of time, commitment, experience, and knowledge.  Bowhunting includes many missed shots, non-recovered animals, and tough shooting scenarios.  Just like youth hunters, beginners have a tough time appreciating the outdoors if their only experiences are negative.  I would suggest teaching safe gun handling and taking a season or two to get acquainted with killing animals with a firearm.  On the other hand, some might just be up for the challenge right off the bat and want to dive right on in, so be sure to explain that there may be setbacks so they are not discouraged in their first year.  Additionally, many women may be afraid of recoil or simply having the power of a loaded firearm in their hands, so a bow might be a better alternative.  Hunting should not be so much a competition between other hunters, as it is an opportunity to experience something few get to.  Just because Melissa Bachmann shot her bear with a bow, doesn’t mean you can’t shoot yours with a gun.  It’s completely up to what the hunter feels comfortable with.  Other activities you could try with her include morel mushroom and shed hunting, setting up and checking trail cameras, and more controlled hunts like turkey or squirrel hunting. 

Beverly Sisk, co-founder of Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads

Beverly Sisk, co-founder of Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads

Be prepared that you may hear phrases like, “12 gauge bullets” or “herd of turkeys”.  Beginners, both male and female, need experience to use jargon related to hunting and the outdoors.  Do not insult her intelligence or intimidate her by correcting her every move.  Instead, offer every opportunity as a learning experience so that down the road, you both can enjoy the outdoors together, on the same level.  Most of us know that calling in a gobbler for someone else is just as rewarding as shooting it yourself.  Or helping someone drag out a trophy whitetail buck and hearing the story of their hunt can be more exciting than being in the treestand yourself. Many women will report that the most frustrating thing about participating in outdoor activities is lack of respect from their male counterparts.  Beverly Sisk, co-founder of Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads, tells me, “I believe the hardest thing about being female is that the males do not take you seriously. I am capable of hunting my game, cleaning it and cooking it up without any help, whether anyone believes it or not”. 


Jessica Gorman, mother of 3, First Gun Season, Iowa 2013 with the 20 gauge her father gave her when she was 12 years old!

Jessica Gorman, mother of 3, First Gun Season, Iowa 2013 with the 20 gauge her father gave her when she was 12 years old!

My suggestion to guys that want to incorporate their wives or girlfriends into their hunting time is to become the cameraman for your girl.  You have had many years in the woods since you were in grade school.  You have taken many trophies and are now an expert in the outdoors.  Next season, pick up a camera and head out into the woods, following your girlfriend as she blazes a trail with the weapon in HER hand.  Imagine the reaction you’ll capture after she shoots and recovers her first buck, or the smile on her face as her first gobbler flops in the background.  Or better yet, stay at home, do the dishes, fold the laundry, play with the kids, and let her have several uninterrupted hours in the woods doing what she loves.

One last thing, and this may sound presumptuous, but suggest she go on a shopping spree and get all new Mossy Oak camo from head to toe.  After all, she’s still a girl!  This Mother’s Day, remember that she works hard every day of the year for you and the kids, and that hunting is not just a man’s game anymore. Next time you sit down to plan your work schedule around the rut, or are looking at outfitters in Nebraska for gobblers, maybe sacrifice your hunt to stay home and let her get out there for a shot at a trophy!

I put out a request for pictures of strong, fierce women in the woods on social media, and the response was incredible! Check out pictures below of women who enter the woods without fear, and bag trophy after trophy on their own!

PicMonkey Collage


Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.