By Deb Luzinski
It's been said that we never forget our "firsts". First car, first date, first job, first doe that we arrowed- you get the idea. I remember my first hunting set up- from my boots to my bow. It was 1992 and I was about to enter the woods of Western Wisconsin for my very first bow hunt. My first bow was an old wooden Browning that had been altered to fit me. My clothing well, that is a completely different story. Picture this- Eddie Bauer Duc Boots, oversized jersey gloves, a half-mesh mask, a camo baseball hat, and my favorite- a one piece coverall that was meant for Duck hunting. It was a men's size medium, the sleeves and the legs had to be rolled up several times, held tight with rubber bands. The zipper on this suit literally went from my neck to my knees. Each time I raised a leg to climb higher to my portable tree stand, I had to grab the 2 extra feet of fabric from the rise and lift it so I didn't get my suit hung up on my screw-in tree steps. A standard fixed 3-blade broadhead screwed onto a fat aluminum 2413 arrow. Those arrows seemed as fat as a fine Ashton Reserve cigar! I hung my bow and I sat impatiently, hoping that a deer would wander through my woods. I arrowed a doe on my first night in a tree stand. The challenge was phenomenal, and just like that it was over until the next season.
Back then I spent maybe 5 days in the field then put my bow away until the following August when I would ready my skills for the fall hunting season.
Hunting was an interest that my husband Mark had and introducing me to it was a natural progression of our relationship. When I first started hunting I knew of no other women hunters. It was difficult at times trying to fit in a man's sport. It's not so much that I wanted to fit in, I wanted things to fit. Ok, a little respect would have been nice too.
I was surprised when I read the DNR's reports on the findings from 2000-05, female hunters have the largest participation rate decrease. I guess I am surprised because in recent years I have come to know so many women hunters, most of whom didn't hunt 15 years ago. Lucky for many of them, they haven't had to wear their husbands hunting clothes.
Well kids, the years have gone by and things have changed. Now we have GPS and cell phones. Toothpick thin carbon arrows with mini vanes and mini broadheads that have lightning speed and devastating cutting capability. Know how to scout, know animal signs and behavior, learn how to use game calls. Exercise effective scent control on your person and know how to care for your hunting gear. Know what the rut is and when it's on.
With what I see as an increasing number of women in the field, manufacturers are paying attention and designing hunting clothing and footwear specifically to fit women who hunt. To me, that in itself is amazing. The current bows that are manufactured are done so not excluding short draw length individuals. For many women, that translates into a high tech piece of equipment that is fast, and it fits.
I wrapped up this past archery season on Dec 31st of 2007 with 4 deer in the freezer and 2 unfilled tags in my hunting pack. Last archery season I spent more than 50 days in stand, watching many whitetail deer, and feeding my insatiable appetite for hunting -all in the comfort of my very own hunting clothes.