In an industry and community dominated by men, we often overlook the women around us. I didn’t grow up with any role models of women in the outdoors, but had many whose support made it possible for me to enter a world where women are not always encouraged to participate. In most communities, women are the backbone holding it all together, the driving force that keeps us going. The outdoors and hunting community is no exception. Women who hunt are still the vast minority, despite tremendous growth in the numbers of us taking to the field in recent years. But every male hunter has a woman in his life that helps make his lifestyle possible. Whether your mom took you hunting as a kid, or just let you cook your squirrels in her favorite stockpot; or your wife takes care of the kids’ morning routine on those days when you have to be in the stand before daylight; or your grandmother finds a way to use every scrap of meat you bring home. Many a hunter owes his days afield to the influence, support, or encouragement of a woman. Not all of these women are mothers, but they all take on a motherly role in some respect. They love what we love, and do whatever is needed to help us have the most rich and fulfilling experience possible.
I know my own experience as a hunter would be greatly diminished without the influence of the women in my life. My grandmother’s support nurtured the compassion and respect I hold for the game I pursue. She helped me learn to cook the meat I harvested, and taught me the importance of resourcefulness and sustainability. My mom laid the foundation that I could do anything the boys could do, and was entitled to anything they were. She helped me appreciate my time hunting as a spiritual and emotional experience.
There is no doubt that moms in families of hunters and outdoorsmen are blessed with a special kind of patience and understanding. We are all indebted to the moms and other women in our lives for the encouragement and support that allow us to pursue our passion. Make a point this Mother’s Day to thank them for all the ways they make the outdoors that much more special.