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"It's not a man's world out there anymore." That's how the outdoor editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph began a Dec. 2 story on women hunters.
Half of me is happy for the press; if such news pieces encourage more females to take up the sport, then by all means, keep them coming.
The other half of me thinks, no duh! Are there really that many people left in the country who are surprised to see a woman in the field? We're not novelty items; we're hunters just like any other. What if separating us out from "other hunters" makes it harder for us to be accepted in the eyes of some narrow-minded males?
Now please don't get me wrong, I love reading any positive news item about outdoorswomen. But I wish these kinds of stories that inevitably pop up around this time of year could treat the "women hunters trend" with a little less surprise. I know I've spoken in the past about my fascination with the history of women hunters -- pre-WWII our presence in the field was actually considered somewhat common, and it's unfortunate that times had to change. Flip through an issue of an outdoors magazine like Field & Stream from the teen's and 1920's, and you'll spot a lot more women in both the editorial and the advertisements.
Now, as far as this Telegraph story goes, it's very possible I'm overreacting (I actually am kind of grumpy at the moment because I ordered a refrigerator last week that I've just been informed won't arrive til next week. I know, I know, it's not worth getting bent out of shape over). Admittedly, this particular story is extremely positive and I couldn't be happier for the girls and women it profiles.
It's ALSO possible that I'm underestimating the number of sportsmen out there who have yet to accept women as their fellow hunters. Maybe such stories are needed more than I realize, and I've just been lucky enough to mostly know open-minded hunters. You tell me.
Personally, I'd just rather not have to think of myself as a novelty -- but just someone who's out there, doing what they do, as well as, if not better than, everybody else. - K.H.