The term “Huntress” has become a hot topic of discussion lately.
A term originally associated with Artemis, the Goddess of the hunt, now describes Instagram “models” with thousands of followers and little to no hunting experience at all. They pose half naked on their “hunt” and if they actually do get their hands on a dead animal, they usually do something tasteless and inappropriate to get “likes”.
The real issue here is that, while most of us agree “huntresses” are not representative of real female hunters, it has opened the door for women in the field to be constantly judged and nitpicked at for their feminine qualities.
So it poses the question, are you allowed to be a feminine hunter in the field? Or do you need to be a man as soon as you lace your boots up?
Let’s break it down.
I’ve never actively taken make-up into the field to apply, but I have also left after church to go hunt and left my face of make-up the way it was. It did not affect my ability to hike through thick brush or to call for my husband. We saw animals and had a normal hunt despite what was on my face.
People like to say that animal will smell your make-up, but the fact is, if they’ve winded your mascara, they’ve also winded your body odor and are gone either way. If someone tries to tell you differently, remember that our grandpas wore red flannel shirts and smoked while successfully hunting. I promise you’re fine.
The huntress-line is crossed when your need to have your make-up done overshadows what you are there to do. This isn’t brunch, Sis. It’s the backcountry, and no one cares about your contour or your eyebrows. If you need a little makeup to be comfortable, then do it, but don’t go over the top.
This is always one of the first things I see guys comment on a female hunters photo. “I bet you got a lot of hunting done with your hair done up like that”.
And it literally doesn’t matter the style. Hair down – snarky comment. Hair braided – snarky comment. Anything short of a rat’s nest tucked up into a camo ball-cap – snarky comment.
I’m guilty of fussing with my hair on a hunt. Braids come undone, ponytails need tightening, and hats need to be adjusted. Taming your mane doesn’t affect your ability to hunt or shoot effectively, though.
The huntress-line is again crossed when it becomes “extra”. If your hair is done in a way you are comfortable with, then ignore the haters. But if your hair is jacked-up to Jesus in anticipation of a grip-and-grin, you should probably reevaluate your priorities.
Appropriate clothing in the field is so important. As a Colorado native, I know to be ready for a drastic change in weather at the drop of a hat. The outdoor industry has done a great job creating hunting clothes for women. Prois is an entire brand dedicated to women’s clothing. Other brands like Sitka and First Lite also worked hard to add quality gear to their lines for women.
Name-brand camo isn’t necessary to be a hunter, though. I’ve spent the majority of my life hunting in jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies with just as much success as I have in my fancy name-brand clothes.
The huntress-line is crossed when you take those clothes off. You don’t need to be in your underwear for your grip-and-grin. I don’t believe for one second that you were comfortable walking through oak brush with your butt hanging out of shorts. No one is buying that it was really so hot during your archery hunt that you needed to walk around in just your face-paint and a bra. This one is all about having respect for yourself. Wear what will keep you comfortable – and safe – in the field. Keep your clothes on.
I have cried for almost every animal I’ve killed. Its the adrenaline dump mixed with the sadness I feel for taking a life, even if I know it will feed my family. Some women struggle with their primal instinct to be nurturers and healers because taking a life goes directly against that.
Crying is 100% okay, and you should take the time to fully process the way a hunt makes you feel.
The huntress-line is crossed when it becomes about making a show of it. Videoing yourself crying and taking photos sobbing over a dead animal feel fake and forced. I’m sure some huntresses had good intention with these. We want our fellow women to know it’s normal to get teary after a kill. But the only thing it accomplishes is making female hunters look dramatic and incapable of handling a hunt.
Feel your genuine feelings, but leave the drama off the internet.
All of these weird trends come back to the photos. We want to look a certain way on social media. I’m guilty of this as well! When I killed my first bull elk I was tomato-faced from hiking up the insanely steep hill he perished on. I remember wishing I had make-up on my face to cover it up, or eyelash extensions so I just looked nicer. At one point, I even wished I had a manicure to hide the blood under my nails.
I can also tell you these are things I NEVER thought about before social media.
As hunters – especially as women – we are hyper-scrutinized by anti-hunters and hunters alike. We have a responsibility to portray hunting in a tasteful manner. That all comes back to the animals.
A hunter knows and appreciates this. We clean up as much blood and gore as possible. We make sure to tuck in the tongue and give the animal the respect it deserves.
The huntress-line is crossed when that respect is lost. Kissing a decapitated head or stripping your clothes off for a bloody unnecessary “pack” are not only tasteless, but they take the focus away from the purpose of your hunt. I see as many male huntresses guilty of this as I do females. I’m looking at you shirtless guy, frat-boy flexing over your 2-point buck.
I hope we can start showing hunting as what it genuinely looks like for each of us. When we put a photo on Instagram or Facebook, I hope it gives insight into what we actually accomplished and not just the skewed picture we tried to paint. I hope we can stop glorifying huntresses and start celebrating the Artemises of the world again.