A hunter is a hunter is a hunter…

by Aug 18, 2012Uncategorized

A hunter is a hunter is a hunter…

I really like Steven Rinella. I have never seen one of his shows (I dont have cable) but he was kind enough to send me two copies of his book American Buffalo signed and ready for auction at this fall’s BOW weekend. I follow him on Twitter and he posts some great stuff. Last week, he tweeted this link to a blog post on his Meateater website. I clicked and before I finished the first paragraph I found myself rolling my eyes.

The blog is about Steven finding out that he is going to have a daughter in Dec. and his wife asks him to teach their daughter to hunt with the same excitement and enthusiasm as he is their young son. After Steven says he will, he starts thinking about if he really can. He describes his family as having few female hunters (and those that have or girlfriends who went ended up crying or begging for the animal not to be killed), but almost all of the men hunt. He uses a couple of examples of friends and family that have daughters who they taught to hunt. In one example, he references his friend Ronny who “raised three daughters who are proficient with a shotgun and enjoy chasing upland birds” but then Steven writes this:

When I consider Ronny’s success with his daughters, I can’t help but consider the fact that he never had a son. That is, he never had a more traditional protégé. He wasn’t able to leave the girl at home to play with her dolls while he took the boy hunting. To make hunting a family affair, he took them along and treated them with the respect that many men reserve for their boys. They responded in kind.

Wasn’t able to leave the girl at home to play with her dolls. WHAT???? This did me in. For one, I had an amazing Barbie empire; a 3 story townhouse, convertibles, campers, and dune buggies not to mention enough little plastic shoes to make Imelda Marcos jealous.

I applaud Ronny for taking his daughters hunting. Maybe he did want a son (don’t all men want a son?) but he allowed his girls to be a part of and carry on a family tradition that probably has and will continue on for generations.

I can not imagine my Dad not letting me go hunting with him and really, would his excitement and pride be any different if I was his son shooting a buck as opposed to his daughter?

Another part of Steven’s blog is in regards to the “sex-pot huntress” depicted on hunting shows and on hunting website. All I will say about this is that I am happy I hunt with my Dad and that he doesnt really care that I roll out of bed, throw on my layers and layers of clothes and follow him out the door and into the woods. I actually had a coworker tell me that she did not realize the photo above was me because to her, it looked like a guy with a deer. Good!

So my big question and problem is this; why are we still having this conversation? Why does it matter if the child will be a boy or girl? Can’t we see it as another member of the family to bring into the family tradition of hunting and fishing? Why would someone as established and connected to the hunting world as Steven is, question the idea of having a daughter go hunting with him???

At what point will we be able to celebrate all hunters and not get weird if its a girl who wants to hunt or a father who is asked to teach her? A hunter is a hunter is a hunter.


  1. As a father of two, one son and one daughter who I am proud to say both enjoy the outdoors and hunt and fish as well, let me explain what I was worried about.

    Being a boy myself I understood what to expect, never having any sisters, I was scared about having a daughter – not because I wouldn't want to get her involved in the outdoors to fish and hunt, but wasn't sure she would even be interested – didn't know many women who were.

    My wife would go fishing and tag along on hunts, but that's all it was. Never had the desire to do this on a regular basis. At that time being young, I felt it was just more a girls/boys difference thing but when actually it is more of a how you were raised thing. With my son, I knew I could drag him through the mud, prickers, sawmps and streams. Wasn't sure about doing that with my daughter and was a little more laid back and reluctant to do so, but she is every bit the trooper as my son when it comes to the field.

    My daughter just celebrated her sweet sixteen and for her birthday, a new BOW, some new arrows and a goal of bagging her first buck! Any and all reservations I had about her desire and passion to chase deer, ducks, turkey, etc are long gone and she is truly a great hunting partner and I am thankful for that every day.

    I never pushed either of my children to the sport. I took each of them out at a young age and as often as they felt like going. The passion started earlier for my son and it took my daughter a little longer, but the fire burns just as bright now.

    It is a little harder for people and my daughters friends to accept she hunts, but they do and she is a good ambassador to the sport. Plus I love the fact that she can go from Camo and face paint to a dress and makeup and still be able to pull a duck call out of her Coach Purse when needed.

  2. "With my son, I knew I could drag him through the mud, pricklers, swamps and stream" How? How did you know that he would want to do those things? That is what I am struggling with trying to understand.

    Your daughter sounds awesome! Congratulations and thank you for adding to the female hunters of the world!!!

    I remember buying my hunting license for the first time; I had just had a mani/pedi and a trial up-do for my best friend's wedding. The woman at the town office asked what I wanted to buy a license and I said I wanted to kill Bambi's dad. Her face was priceless!

  3. As a father of a 16 month old daughter, I have a little perspective. First of all, it is some strange inherent desire for man to sire a son. Subconsciously I think we see a son as our closest possible version of ourselves to train and teach all that we know and have learned. Couple that with the traditional roles that humans have adopted throughout evolution until recent history, that is, the men go and hunt food, the women keep the home fires burning. These are some pretty tough thoughts to overcome. Given that it is 2012 it is high time we forget what we thought as conventional and make outdoor activities more…”equal opportunity.” With that said, I fully intend to take my daughter hunting and fishing, hiking and camping, and show her all I enjoy about being outdoors. If she takes to it, great, if not…well that would stink. I’m not so much worried about her being a girl and going out on adventures with me, I’m worried about the other girls she’ll have as friends who “don’t get it,” and her feeling conflicted on how to spend her free time as her world is more impacted by social dogmas. I’m not assuming she’ll like doing all those things, I’m just assuming I’ll not have any reservations about showing her my world. Regardless of sex, all that we love about outdoor activities relies on our willingness to teach the next generation. And that’s the final word.

  4. Thanks Tom! I totally get having to break the gender divide. You bring up a great issue of the peer to peer perception for girls as they grow up but I really think that showing your daughter that she can do anything she wants (and if that means hunting and fishing, GREAT!) will give her a great sense of self and confidence in being unique to her peers that may not get it.

  5. I my self have a 2.5 year old daughter. The first time I took her hunting she was 3 months old and we shot 4 turkeys. When I say we I mean MY daughter Wife and I. I knew that having a wife that got into hutning after she met me was a great thing. I also have a younger sister who has been hunting her whole life and shooting sicne she was 10. I never worry about whether my daughter will hunt or not with a mom and aunt that both hunt regularly. I worry that she wont make the olympic shooting team, or that she wont want to go with me EVERYTIME I go. I even worry that she will be a better shot then I am, just because everythign is a compitition in my family. The day she shoots more birds than me will likely be the proudest day of my life. Great post Erin, i agree with you 100%.


    This is a short picture record I keep of my daugter in teh outdoors.

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Erin Merrill, author of And a Strong Cup of Coffee, is president of Women of the Maine Outdoors, a senior writer for Drury Outdoors, a contributor to the Northwoods Sporting Journal and passionate all things Maine, Hunting, and the Outdoors.