Monday, November 21, 2011

Girls at Deer Camp? (Part 1)

Early last summer, I had the good fortune of striking up a friendship with some of the fine people at Maine Magazine in Portland. Through that meeting, I was asked to participate in an interview that was highlighted in the magazines October 2011 edition. At the same time, their editor inquired if I would be willing to have two of their staff members join me during our annual deer camp. With little thought as to what I was actually getting myself into, I excitedly agreed. What I failed to consider, was that the writer and/or the photographer could potentially be female. As the date approached and the final selections were made, it was determined that both writer and photographer would be women.

This breach of deer hunting etiquette was of course of great concern to the rest of the deer camp rabble and the cause of much angst. Many conversations were had concerning the ramifications of having women at deer camp and the potential consequences of these actions. In the end, however, we all had little to fear as the professionalism and flexibility of the Maine Magazine staffers was inspiring. Their abilities to hang with the guys and freely participate in our various camp activities, made everyone feel comfortable and at ease.

This little adventure, however, made me begin to consider the ultimate question, should women be invited to deer camp?
The Stage is Set
Without a doubt, many of you are confused by the content of this post. I mean isn’t the very reason we go to deer camp in the first place, to escape from those of the female species who would force us to cook, clean and partake in other household chores that we despise? In fact, don’t we as men relish our time afield without worry of a woman nagging us about some trivial detail like drinking to much beer or watching Sunday football? Isn’t deer camp a time for us men to reconnect with our primitive selves by over eating food stuffs filled with saturated fat, openly releasing bodily gasses and doing all of the things that are generally frowned upon by our significant others? Honestly, the very notion of women at deer camp quite frankly scares the hell out of me!

Despite all of these fears, perhaps slightly exaggerated for the sake of an interesting story, deer camp 2011 had me in the strange position of hosting not ONE but TWO women at deer camp! I know that many of you are without a doubt shaking your heads, at my apparent loss of sanity.  I mean what guy in his right mind would actually invite women to participate in such a revered male right of passage and ultimately violate the cardinal rule of deer camp . . . NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

Thinking back to the Little Rascals and their “He-man Woman Haters” club and Al Bundy of “Married with Children” and his anti-woman organization called “No MA AM”, are we as men actually conditioned from infancy to create boundaries between what activities and events are approved for men and those approved for women to participate? Considering this revelation, it comes as no surprise that men possess a natural disposition toward organizing events that exclude women. In all honesty our late night poker games, super bowl parties, gentlemen clubs, fishing trips and even deer camp are all the fault of our society . . . quite honestly ladies we are innocent!


  1. I think you attitude here is pretty archaic and unfortunate. I feel badly for these two women that will be along with you as your attitude toward them is poor before you have ever met them. More women started hunting this year than any other demographic including men and children. Unfortunately for men like you it is not going to be an old boys club much longer whether you like it or not. My husband and I hunt together all the time and because of him I harvested my first elk this year. He is my favorite hunting companion and I his. Furthermore neither of us feels like we have to censor our true selves around each other. Fortunately for us we found the right person to marry and we enjoy spending time together in the outdoors doing the things we love. I am sick of encountering this attitude and I would rather not hunt with any man that would not want me around. Luckily there are many men out there that appreciate the company of woman on the hunt and many women hunters who enjoy each other's company as well.

    Katherine Grand
    Prois Hunting Apparel

  2. K,

    Unfortunately, in my writing of this article, I apparently failed miserably to indicate that this was a spoof and not meant to be a reflection on how I view women’s attendance at deer camp. Rather what I was attempting (obviously very poorly) is how women are perceived by some outdoorsman as inferior and not worthy of inviting to “deer camp” and other typically male dominated sporting events. You did get my meaning correct that this is an archaic and unfortunate viewpoint, as it is my belief that women and youth serve a vital and important role in our sporting traditions (especially hunting) if we want them to survive. As I indicated in the start of the article, the two women who attended were of the highest professional quality and I had in fact met one of them on a previous occasion during my Oct. interview for the magazine. If you feel bad for either of them, you should have seen them happily playing the guitar with my Dad and eating the homemade blueberry pie he made for them.

    I think or at least hope that what you will see by the third day of posting, on this topic, it is a complete journey meant to change the perspective of the “old boys club” from their original troglodyte view of women and deer camp to a more open and enlightened view about how critical it is to have women participate in these activities.

    If I offended you Katharine I certainly apologize and I applaud you for calling me to the mat on an issue that you obviously feel so passionate about. Most would have signed such a response “anonymous” but you are definitely one of those strong, confident women that the world needs to make more of. :)

  3. Rabid...

    As the CEO of a womens (Gasp!) hunting apparel company, I am more than familiar with this attitude.

    While it would be quite cathartic to unleash the fury with a crazed response...I do believe it would simply fan the fire you are trying to ignite.

    I am grateful that not all men share your perspective. First- my husband introduced me to hunting and it is now our primary pastime together. Second- thankfully the hunting/shooting industry (which is predominantly male) continues to foster an environment that promotes the inclusion of women in the hunting/shooting sports on many levels.

    I (as well as our corporate partners) also want to thank you for sharing your is good to know that there are OTHER guides in the beautiful state of Maine that are more capable of dealing with women.

    Thank you again for enlightening me!
    Kirstie Pike
    CEO/Founder Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women

  4. Kirstie,

    They make hunting apparel just for women!?!? Ok, totally joking with you now. :)

    Yes, I have seen the attitude as well on many occasions and it is unfortunate. Glad that the people at Prios aren't allowing these negative viewpoints to perpetuate.

    Well, you are correct. Sometime to start a fire you have to start with a little spark otherwise nobody pays attention and a issue simply dies a horrible death. The trick is to keep the fire manageable and not spread to a uncontrollable wildfire. As you see I am still trying to find that balance in my writing style. :)

    I have a meeting later this month with Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW). It is an organization that promotes the introduction to women to our sporting traditions. I am requesting to become a member of their board, so I can become more involved in these endeavors. Even if not selected as a board member, I will likely volunteer to assist in some of their activities.

    There are a lot of other guides in Maine that feel the way I do and believe that women are important to hunting. You just unfortunately happened to stumble upon one who can't write linear thoughts and ideas worth a damn. :)

    Don't be a stranger Kirstie your comments are much appreciated and I like knowing that there are still passionate people out there who love hunting as much as I do.

    Have a great evening.

  5. Wow, did either lady here read what you wrote, or immediately browse the headline and rush to excoriate you? Display a modicum of patience to see what you are getting to or attempt to grasp the inflection of your words? I understand the sensitivity of the topic, but come on!

    If I'm wrong, I'm open to correction.

  6. Ian,

    Does "excoriate" mean the act of placing someone's testicles in a blender and making them into a strawberry smoothie?

    Hey, at least on the bright side they didn't make me drink it! LOL!

  7. Well, I don't think that would be Webster's definition of the term. But for our purposes, that is about right on.

  8. I mean, I leave town for a few days and here you go getting into trouble again! What to do with you Rabid? What to do??

  9. Trey, You know me always trying to cause problems.

    I just wonder how long it will take the ladies at Prios to realize this is a spoof?

  10. Rabid,
    I must inform you that you are on probation on the following discourse: I can not allow myself to be directly connected to someone of your continual trouble making. Too often you strike a harsh chord with the general readership such as banning logging, teasing good people, and now the very core of my life- the little beauties, my daughters. It hurts good friend, now you know why I stayed away from last weekends hunting camp... Your sarcasm and wry humor so often gets misinterpreted as actually literal bullshit... congratulations, you are the master of the universe...

    Your fraternally Duckpower member,


  11. Ah...Ian and Steve...

    Hahaha...yes indeed, women's only hunting apparel...LOL~

    Look- I am all about a joke and a spoof, and quite honestly was looking for a clue that this was...the only comment I found (prior to responding) was basically 'stay tuned' until 11/23. And I really did think about responding...I was surprised that you were NOT a bloated redneck that couldn't articulate a full sentence (and with that statement...I am ONLY referring to a, uh, 'gentleman' that we have dealth with personally!)... rather a young, well-spoken writer. Yep...totally stereotypical and I will issue any apologizes required. : )

    Again- it is a sensitive subject ONLY because it is so SO prevalent. Here are my experiences as the CEO of a growing company that has gone international... I can go to trade shows, be patted on the head and asked when I am going to make sexy camo underwear. I have indeed, had to take my husband to visit the buyer of a well-known chain of stores to secure the sale because the buyer is a 'man's man'. I have gone into camp with the VP of another well known company who happens to be a woman and we were honest to God met with the following comments, "Women? Are you guys doing the laundry? Yeah, there are girls in camp, are you going to dance on the tables for us after dinner? Hey ladies, there's a hot tub out there, what do you say we all run around the woods with some Mr. Bubble? Or my favorite...If you can't get into the treestand, I'll goose you and you can climb the extra 10 feet". I have also paid to go on a hunt and was told by my guide that he was 'bummed' he was going to guide women. Stupid and unworthy of attention, yet you might be able to see where the animosity comes from. I do not march under the banner of any feminist movement and I truly detest the notion of women hysterically commenting to any such posts...this one struck me differently. I am actually REALLY glad I was wrong!

    Now- as mentioned...I know you don't know me...but I am all (and I mean ALL!) about a good joke! I appreciate (now) where you are going with it. I am eager to follow your story and see how it goes.

    No excoriated testicles in the blender...unless of course there is a comment about Mr. Bubble and a goose. : )


  12. HA! You got yourself into trouble Rabid. And we both know that the reason women are not invited to camp is because they would show you up and get a deer first. I think we have already proven that my butt is outside and in a stand longer than yours has been this season.
    Maybe we need to do another interview to get your rep back to where is should be. This time on my blog = )

  13. DDH,

    Just when I didn't think it would be possible to stir up more controversy then my never to soon be forgotten "Public LAW 182 - Ban Logging and All Wood Cutting and Lawn Mowing on Sunday" post to poke fun at the stupidity of Maine's Sunday hunting ban. I go and top it by pointing out our exclusion of women at hunting camp! Sometime I even impress myself with my level of stupidity. :)

    FYI, I thought you stayed away from last weeks hunting camp because your wife said if you attended you would have your berries placed in a blender?

    Take Care Bud!

  14. Kristie,

    Don’t you think a women’s only hunting apparel company is kinda sexist to us guys who rather like to wear pink camo and Gore-Tex thongs? Ok, gonna stop now . . . as is already blatantly evident, sometimes I just can’t help myself. ☺

    No apology required, you were simply voicing your opinions and defending what you feel is right. Besides if this post is what is took for you to FINALLY comment on my blog then great! Now that we have all of the introductory niceties complete, we can work on being good friends, so the next time you are in Maine you don’t have to worry about getting goosed, dancing on tables or being molested by Mr. Bubble. ☺

    I know, I have seen the stereotypical “gentlemen” myself and even more of a concern to me then their archaic viewpoint of female hunters is their use of drugs while hunting and/or total disregard of game laws and hunting ethics. It is supremely unfortunate, that a few bad apples can ultimately ruin years of hard work and good publicity generated by the plethora of good sportsmen that exist.

    HEY! Who you calling “rather” young! LOL!

    Comments are unforgiveable. The saddest part is I can almost guarantee that the people who made them had NO idea that they were even being offensive. “Bummed” about guiding women? I love to guide women as they listen to directions 10 times better than a man! If you get a chance, read my “Women Gone Wild” blog posts from October 2011, I think they outline fairly well how I feel about women hunters.

    Again great meeting you and don’t be a stranger to the blog. I am getting tired of the rather mundane level of abuse that is regularly inflicted upon me by DDH, Ian, Erin and Trey and could use a fresh perspective.

    Take care!

  15. Erin,

    Well as they say it isn’t the first time and won’t be the last! LOL!

    Need I remind you that the FIRST EVER time hunting my Mom shot a 10 point buck that tipped the scales at 199 lbs! This year she already has shot her deer a 4 pointer and calls me regularly with taunts mostly starting with “Get YA DEAH YET”. So, yes I am deeply scared by being repeatedly shown up by my Mommy!!

    Yes, however, if I could hunt out of a deer stand called “The Sky Condo” instead of my deer stand that I like to call the “Cheap Seat” then perhaps I to would have been in the woods more this season!

    Bring on the questions only if you think you can handle the responses! :)

  16. Oh, my will be SO sorry you have Prois participating on your have NO idea...

    Oh...and Prois is not necessarily gender specific...there are no laws forbidding a male, such as yourself (right?) from proudly sporting the Prois wouldn't be the first, nor the last. We are working on a cross-dressing support group in the meantime. Let me know if you need contact info. Don't fear the camo. (On that note...Katherine Grand sings a mean rendition of "Lisa don't fear the Camo" as seen in our facebook group. It will be a smash single.)

    Yep- those 'guys' still exist out there and nothing will change that. (One of our prostaffers received an email telling her husband to keep his 'babymaker in the kitchen and not out hunting') We have created a voodoo doll (or actually our equivalent...which I cannot share on a blog- at least not yet) in what we preceive his likeness to's fun! More fun than putting testicles in a blender...WAAAYYYY more fun.

    Youngish? Is that better? Youthfulish? Sub-Middle Age? It does bet post-adolescent.

    Cheers...and let the banter begin.


  17. hahaha.....Man did they jump all over you or what Rabid. That's was some fun reading. I love having my daughter with me in the field, but honestly deer camp can be a little rough, but my crew cleans it up nice and makes it a good time and I have no problem bringing my daughter in for a few days, my dad used to claim no women in camp but I can tell you that he loves spending time with my daughter in the woods, just as much as I do. Old Softy! I'm not sure she would want to spend the week with us though.

    Looking forward to part.

  18. Kristie,
    I really don’t have concerns, we are going to be great friends, I can already see the writing on the wall. You just eventually won’t be able to help yourself and will find you are powerless against my infections level of charisma. Can you say CAAAAAA-STAN-ZA! Admit it, you are about two more comment exchanges away from making me the newest Prios gear tester.

    The only cross dressing support I need is lederhosen. Facebook? What’s that?

    You know you had me a “testicles in a blender” it really isn’t necessary to try to impress me further with your talk of Voodoo dolls . . . I am already seriously smitten.

    Well, I appreciate the “youngish” comments and such. I hit the 40 milestone this year and haven’t been quite the same since. Nothing seems to work quite right anymore and the hang over’s hurt much more than they used to. I just can’t wait for 50 . . .

  19. PTO,
    You know some women just find me hard to resist . . . it’s a gift. Glad you enjoyed my beating.

    I have a 4 year old niece and she enjoys fishing just as much as my 3 and 5 year old boys. Last summer you should have seen the three of them sitting on my brother’s dock slaying the sunfish with their Jr. sized fishing poles. Freaking adorable. Imagine how shameful it would be not to have ever provided her with that opportunity simply because she was a girl.

    I agree that deer camp isn’t always a woman or kid friendly environment. Sorry, but ladies and young children do NOT want to see my Dad in his tighty whities . . . trust me I still bear the emotional scars.

    Fortunately, with ample notice we can on occasion straighten our acts up and make ourselves presentable to these other groups.

    The clock ticks down to the posting of part 2!

  20. Kristie, Hey that isn't nice. I haven't been infectious since college.

    Keep that up and I won't make you an honorary member of my fan club.

  21. Its QUITE in here . . . tooooooo QUIET.

  22. Standard fare when conversing about one's state of infectiousness...

  23. LOL! Word! Will remember that in my future conversations! Hey, no response to "Girls at Deer Camp? Part 2 and 3?"


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