Trusting yourself as an outdoors woman

by Jan 28, 2016Women Who Hunt

Trusting yourself as an outdoors woman

** The following is an article that I wrote for The Liberty Project.  It was originally published on November 16, 2015 here.  I was never paid by The Liberty Project so they don’t own the copyright.

Why trusting yourself is key for success in the outdoors

It is critical to know and feel comfortable with any situation you put
yourself in.  This is especially true if
your goal is to bring home meat for the freezer.  You need to have a level of knowledge and
understanding about why you are there and what you want to accomplish.  Everything about being successful in the
outdoors comes from a sense of trust: in yourself, your tool and your
training. 

My training came from my Dad. I started to learn and trust his
experiences about where the deer were more likely to come out into an opening,
where we should build a tree stand and that I could and would shoot a
deer.  When it came time to take that
first deer, I remember asking Dad if it was ok and then after, if I had hit the
deer.  His reassurance and confidence in
me has helped to make me a better hunter and trust my own judgement and skills.
 When I shot my first deer without him
sitting next to me, it helped to know that he was nearby in the woods.  He was, and still is, the reassurance that if
I get into any sort of trouble that I cannot handle, he is there to help me
out.  It is his ongoing trust and support
in me that keeps me focused and going when nothing seems to be going right and
the deer just don’t show up.  If I only
see a squirrel after 10 hours in the woods, I hear his voice telling me, “Every
day in the woods is a new adventure” and I am grateful for the opportunity to
be there.

Every year my trust in myself and my gun gets a little stronger.  While I carry my gun around in the woods, I
never lose sight of the fact that it is a tool whose sole purpose is to
kill.  I become more familiar with the
weight of it, where the barrel is pointing and how high I carry it when moving
from one seat to another.  The one thing
that stuck with me from hunter’s safety was the saying that a gun’s safety is a
mechanism prone to failure.  After 13
seasons in the woods, I am now more comfortable handing and using the gun.  I know where I need to aim and I know how my
hands fit around the gun, the feel of it in my shoulder and the recoil that
comes after every shot. 

My ethics have also helped me trust myself in the woods.  Knowing my gun and knowing that the purpose of
my hunt is to put meat in the freezer, I am aware of the size of the animals
that I am taking (no does with fawns, no sows with cubs) and the impact that it
will have on the local ecosystem.  I also
will not take a shot that I am not totally confident about.  I have written a few times on my blog about
the reasons behind my hunting from a tree; I can’t trust myself to take a good
shot while am animal is running.  I will
not take a shot that could wound a deer so I work to make sure I am comfortable
with the angles and possible shots that I may have to take.  As a right handed shooter, there are shots
that I just will not be able to make from where I sit in my tree stands. In
cases like this, I enjoy watching the animals interact and enjoy the world
around them and I try to learn more about their behaviors.

Trusting yourself as an outdoors woman is critical to your self-esteem
and self-reliance.  There is something
powerful about being able to go on a successful hunt and know how to clean,
butcher and cook.  It is not easy to just
walk into the woods knowing that the reason you are there is to kill an animal.  Many people take for granted what they are
doing and the main reason behind hunting in the first place.  Being able to trust in yourself and have
confidence will ensure that every trip into the woods is one where you are
comfortable in your skills and ethics. 

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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.

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