“What are you out hunting this weekend? That’s nice you brought your wife along as camp cook.” I force a tight-lipped smile and my husband says, “Actually, she’s the one with a tag”. The other hunter’s eyes widen, and they let out a little chuckle and say, “Well, good luck to you”. We all know that they aren’t actually wishing me luck but wishing my husband luck in dealing with me.
Conversations like this happen all too often in the hunting world. Do a quick google search of “Women Hunting” or “Hunting with your wife” and it will be filled with hilarious videos of women chattering incessantly, complaining about the temperature and how they need to pee. You will find article after article about how to bubble wrap the hunting experience so as not to discourage her from coming back. They even throw in a few articles about how to tolerate your husband’s hunting habit. If this is the mass consensus about ladies in the wild, then why should you even bother bringing your wife along for the ride?
MY JOURNEY BACK TO HUNTING
I grew up hunting and loving the outdoors. I lived for September antelope hunts in the plains, big bucks under October sunrises, and snowy Novembers in elk country. But adulthood hit me like a ton of bricks. I gave up my passion to be what I thought a good wife and mom should be. I became a person I didn’t recognize. I believed my hunting days were behind me and I just needed to suck it up.
After a few years of that, it became clear that it was important to our family unit that I also get to go hunt and be outside doing what I loved. The timing was sometimes tricky, so my husband pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take up archery. That way I had an entire month to get a hunt in. We spent that summer shooting every night and practiced estimating ranges. When the season rolled around I was equal parts excited and nervous.
I was completely clueless about what I was doing, but I felt like I had come home. I loved watching the sunrise and listening to the bulls bugle on the next ridge. I felt in my element tracking the elk and following a blood trail. I pushed myself harder than I ever had on a hunt, and I was proud of myself. I loved that I survived the miserable pouring rain when most people would have packed up.
Most of all, I loved that I did it all with my husband.
So how do you hunt with your wife?
The same way you would with any other person you would take to the mountain for the first time. Are the elk on the other side of that canyon? Then go get them. Be patient and slow your pace if she asks, but otherwise, treat your wife like the capable strong person she is.
Here’s the thing; My husband has never tried to bubble wrap an experience for me. He takes me up the same rock faces and down into the same canyons he goes to with his male hunting partners. We rely on each other to carry our own weight when we pack in somewhere. He knows that if we are blessed enough to get an animal down, I am not afraid to get my hands bloody and pack meat.
He can count on me in the backcountry because I AM HIS PARTNER.
So, why should you hunt with your wife?
Because she wants to see what you love.
Because she wants to spend quality time with you.
Because she wants to do exciting things and see beautiful places.
Because she is your partner.
Because she is a lady of the wild.