Wanted: Mr. Sportsman

by Feb 6, 2014Women Who Hunt

Wanted: Mr. Sportsman

A friend of mine sent me this link and asked what I thought about it.  I had seen it before and was honest when I told him how degrading I felt it was.  Not only was the title of the “Miss Maine Sportsman” application in pink* but the questions were incredibly insulting to those of us that are fighting to be taken seriously among our male counterparts.

Questions like, “Do you clean your own kills/catches?” would never be asked if it were Mr. Maine Sportsman.  It would be assumed that yes, of course men clean what they kill.  Why is that assumption not made of us outdoor women?  Another question, “Do cook [sic] what you catch/kill? If so, what’s your favorite recipe?” would never be asked of men.  

My friend asked me what sort of questions I would ask if it were a Mr. Maine Sportsman pageant.  I came up with a bunch of snarky questions (Do you bait your own hook?) but then I thought about the questions that could have the most impact on the men that would apply.  Here are my top three:

1. How many people have you taught to hunt or fish? if you taught children, how old were they?

2. Do you help support outdoor organizations by donating your time, talent or dollars? If yes, please list the organizations. 

3. How are you, as a sportsman, working to ensure a healthy Maine outdoors for future generations?


If a group of people are going to be singled out in a pageant to see who is the best sportsman of them all, then at least ask some intelligent questions that don’t demean the group.  It is embarrassing to see that an outdoor magazine and organization in Maine, that should be working to support outdoor women, are instead supporting a pageant that’s reward for winning is not a donation to an outdoor organization or a piece of gear, but your very own month in their “Sportswomen of Maine” calendar.

Women are fighting against cyber bullies that threaten us, our families and friends.  We are battling for credibility and to be seen as equals in activities traditionally viewed as only for men.  I hope that as more and more women get into hunting and fishing, that this becomes a non-issue.  We are the fastest growing demographic in the hunting and fishing world and yet, even at the local level, we are seen as less than true outdoors-men.  Something has to change.

* If you are in any way, shape or form, supportive of women being active in the outdoors through fishing, hunting, hiking etc. do NOT use pink. It does nothing but perpetuate the stereotype that outdoor women must love pink.   The only exception for pink is when referring to the Casting for Recoveryprogram.


  1. Well Said…

    • Thank you! and thanks for supporting my blog.

  2. Nice!!

    • Thank you!

  3. I hear you about the assumptions made about women, but it confuses and bothers me how many men don't process and prepair their own meat. The only cooking they may do is sausage on the grill. It is an uphill battle, thanks for fighting the good fight.

  4. Thanks Daniel! I appreciate you reading my blog and commenting. I know a few men who don't butcher their own meat. I get that but my issue is that that is something that should not be a question. I would rather have the pageant, as demeaning at it is, focus on how to highlight outdoor-women's accomplishments then if they cook and clean their kills. Thanks again!!

  5. I really like your questions. No matter the gender, the first focus should be on conservation and the future, both of the critters we hunt and the children we raise. Rather than asking if we clean/cook the game we harvest, they should be asking (to both genders), "How do you ensure that you use the most of each animal you harvest?"

    The pink drives me nuts, too. Even on legit camo, they somehow feel the need to make seams and zippers pink. They make women's gear better now – you can tell from the shape of it that it wouldn't be a guy's garment. And if the industry can't, why don't they make blue zippers and seams, too?? Drives me nuts.

    I agree with Pointer Man – well said!

  6. Erin, I too found those questions to be offensive . I think women in the outdoors hunting and fishing or what not have come a long ways since it was truly viewed as a place for no women but sadly there are still a few people who are just ignorant to the fact that women can do anything that men can do.
    Keep doing what your doing, you have my support.

    • Thank you so much Rick!!!

  7. I doubt men will ever see woman as equals. Especially when it comes to sports like hunting and fishing. Men have it branded into their brain that women are sexual objects. Even if they found a woman they thought was a great fisherman or hunter. They'd hope at some point on the trip or in the future they'd sleep together. That type of thinking would have to change first. The thinking that women are for sex, cleaning your house and cooking. That's a mindset that doesn't seem to change anytime soon especially with what the media pushes on society. How many men do you see in house hold cleaning product or cooking commercials?

  8. Well stated…
    Please check your e-mail for an extended message.

  9. Erin, you are my girl.

  10. Erin,
    I live in Southern Maine and have a weekly column in the Portsmouth Herald. I include women in my column all the time. In fact, they are entering the hunting fraternity in record numbers.
    My fishing club sends a female from Maine and one from New Hampshire to the Becoming An Outdoors Women program each year-when we can find someone to go!
    I will always support Women In The Outdoors..

    • That is fantastic! Thank you for supporting outdoor women. I wish more organizations would also encourage women to get outside and try new activities. Thanks for commenting.

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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.