Ugly girls need not apply

by Apr 29, 2014Women Who Hunt

Ugly girls need not apply

I hate to burst your bubble folks, but its more likely than not that you will never see me on the cover of any hunting magazine for three reasons, 1. I just don’t look that good in camo 2. I would refuse to wear anything pink or have anything within the shot be pink and 3. if I were ever asked a question about my looks vs my hunting abilities, my comment would not be fit to print.

I was excited when I got the May issue of Field and Stream.  Finally!  There was a woman on the cover.  I flipped through the pages to find the article.  I flipped.  I flipped.  And when I got to the end of the magazine, I went back through and looked again.  Maybe I didn’t have enough coffee?  Nope.  There was NO ARTICLE!!!  There were only 5 questions asked to Eva Shockey about her hunting and one of them was about her looks. WTF Field and Stream!  Clearly, you have to be pretty to make the cover of magazines and regardless of your hunting skills, the bottom line is looks. I couldn’t tell you what show Ms. Shockey is on, I couldn’t tell you what she hunts or where she hunts.  But I can tell you that she thinks that, “If people think that’s attractive (keeping her clothes on), especially in full camo, I think that’s great.”  Thank you for perpetuating the stereotype that we are merely objects that should look good and not be taken seriously among our male counterparts. And thank you Michael Shea for writing an article where you think questions
about looks are more interesting than questions like: 

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

2. Do you help support outdoor organizations by donating your time, talent
or dollars?

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

This half-assed attempt at highlighting female hunters would never happen if
you had someone like Ted Nugent on the cover.  There would be a full article and interview
with him.  There would be photos of his
hunts and questions about his technic and ideology when it comes to hunting.  I would bet everything that I own that he
would never be asked about his look and how women react to him.  The backhanded attempt to show the strides
females hunters are making is nothing but an afterthought in this magazine.

In another article, David Petzel writes about the “correct” way to introduce women to rifles.  Let me summarize: women are weak and can’t handle the recoil of a big gun so just let them shoot with a .22.  He tries to validate his argument by using an example of a woman he and his buddy were teaching to shoot.  Clearly, his sexist attitude is worthy of publication and to be taken as truth.  My favorite gem, “Keep in mind that women, unlike men, tend to want everything perfect.  That can make them slow to pull the trigger.  It’s not a big deal at the range, but its a big deal in the field.”  You are right Petzel!  You got me.  I am such a woman, shame on me! I would rather take my time and make
sure I don’t use more than one bullet to kill an animal than spray and pray
that I get it.  But you will never get me to give up my 30-06.  No .22 rifle for me, please.  

 Why? Why are we, as the fastest growing demographic in the hunting world,
allowing magazines to portray us as just helpless hunters who have to prove
that we can gut our kill or can handle a gun bigger than a .22?  I have
given up hope that the magazine will move past its
good-ole-boy-women-in-the-kitchen mentality. 
When they have women as regular writers and contributors, then maybe I
will take them seriously again.

Women are adding dollars, time and effort into the outdoor world and we are
doing it a lot faster than men. At some point, there will come a time when we
are respected as hunters and seen as equals among men.  I just hope I am around to see and read about

Also, special thank you to UnderArmor who’s ad with Eva Shockey was black and white except for the PINK highlights of her arrows and neck warmer. 


  1. Erin, this was a very good post and I certainly see your point and agree with you 100%. I very much like the part where it says female hunters like things to be perfect and damn it you should I know I do. I would rather take my time and pick my shot rather than rush it and get a bad hit.
    Some of these writers think to much about the past when they should be thinking about the present and the future. Women hunters are tough and can do just as much as any male hunter and if anyone thinks otherwise than it just shows their ignorance.

    • Rick, hunting needs more men like you!

  2. Thank you for saying t how it is. Its truly remarkable how some think that hunting is still a man's sport. I hope you write to field and stream and it's posted in the options portion. I highly doubt it would be but it's worth a shot. I shoot a Mossberg 500 12 gauge (with 00 bunch shot) and a Springfield 20 gauge and have passed on many shots because they weren't perfect. I also have a 22 which I use to teach my children with. My 1 year old daughter uses the 20 gauge now Which she handles just fine. Thank you for speaking out and telling it how it is and should be!

    • Thank you for your comment Angela! I posted this blog on Wide Open Spaces and got quite a bit of heat from men who told me to 'get over it' and 'lighten up.' The women who commented though, seemed to agree with me. That should tell us something!
      I am thrilled to hear that you are getting your daughter into hunting – I take it she is older than 1 though ūüėČ

      Thanks for reading!!

  3. Geez I was typing so fast cuz I am very passionate about this subject. She is 12.

    • Been there, done that! =)

  4. Wow, the more things change….. Just know your voice makes a difference, Erin. There's a reason you got such a backlash: it's because they know you're right. This is what helping to make change feels like, so congratulations!

  5. Here is a thought that will curl your nose hairs and make you run for a bomb shelter….. what if Martha Stewart hunted?

  6. Erin, Great blog! Thanks for bringing this to people's attention. I know your comments are not all about Eve Shocky but I have been more and more disturbed with her campaign. Everywhere I look I see another ad with her in it. It really paints a bad image on hunting as a whole and worse, she is not the only one. I never really cared for her husband because I dislike prima donnas & I hate the commercialization of hunting and fishing in general. Supporting his wife's sex symbol/hunter portrayal makes me like him even less.
    Hunting has had many distinguished women over the years and I don't believe for a second Eva will go down in history as one of them.
    Shame on magazines like Field & Stream for jumping on the bandwagon…

    • Thanks Pointer Man! I don't believe Eve is married – I think the show she is on had her hunting with her Dad. I have never seen it but from the articles, Jim is her father. Even worst?

      Thanks for your comment!

You May Also Enjoy…

Opening day in the woods

Welcome back! Saturday kicked off Maine's rifle season for deer hunting and I made a point of sitting in my stand for the whole day.  I packed a lunch, some water and snacks and climbed up at 6am.  It was a perfect day to be in the woods.  The sun was...

Youth Hunt = )

Tomorrow kicks off youth hunt in Maine. YEAH!!! The season is finally here. And it makes me happy that I hunt on my own property because it assures me that no one can be killing my 10 pointer before I hit the woods early next Saturday. At least, as long as my deer...

The thrill of your first deer

Growing up in Millinocket, my friend Matt was surrounded by family members who were passionate hunters. He developed a deep love of the outdoors and exploring the woods and waters of Maine. But, like many kids, he became involved with school-related activities and the...

Recent Posts

Meet The Author

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.