Gender is a funny thing. We’re one or the other, XX or XY. Just one letter in it. But somehow that one letter can have such an impact.
I’m female. I hunt. I shoot. I fish. I have a pair of breasts and two X chromosomes. I wear mascara and I have long brown hair. I even wear a bra. Shocking; I know.
None of these things impact my ability to hunt and shoot my quarry. I can stop a deer at 200 yards with a quarter ounce of lead, whether I’ve got my lipstick on or not.
But you’d struggle to believe that if you stood in my shoes (Aigle Parcours, for the record – not stilettos). Not only do these things not impact my ability to hunt, but they also don’t bear any effect on my ability to make decisions regarding my preferences when it comes to my equipment and tools of the trade.
It’s a funny old world…
I’m in the market for a centrefire rifle and scope. So, having spotted myself a bargain, I bought myself a new scope. A Zeiss Duralyte.
You would not believe the backlash I’ve endured for this ghastly and monumental decision!
“The crosshairs are too narrow, you’ll struggle with that.” – I happen to LIKE narrow crosshairs…
“It’s too cheap, you should have gotten a Swarovski. Or a Zeiss.” – It IS a Zeiss…
“Well, it won’t let much light in.” – It’s a 30mm tube. It’s better than a 25mm.
“You should have got an illuminated reticle.” – Why? You gonna pay for that for me? No? Great, I’m fine with my Duralyte, thanks.
“You should have gone fixed power. That’s what you need.” – I like variable. Thanks for your input.
“There’s nothing wrong with the current scope, you just can’t shoot!” – Wanna see my 1st place trophy for the stalkers cup? Thank you…
There is an unfortunate but significant minority in the shooting world that still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that women can be just a good a shot and form their own opinions just as well as the men. Whilst the recommendations and suggestions and helpful advice are more than welcomed, it seems that far too many seem to want to make that decision for us. And should we, God forbid, form our own opinions on something and make decisions based upon that, well, we’ll be damned – how wrong are we?! We should have just used that 12 bore, like we were told. No matter that we happen to have a fantastic long term relationship with our 20 bore and the extra recoil doesn’t bother us on the lighter gun, we are in a committed relationship with the sweet little 20 bore… So, we obviously need a 12 bore O/U. Because he said so. We’ll shoot better with the gun we’re not comfortable with. I’ve shot 12 bore. I like my 20. My 20 is my baby. It fits me, I love it. We are a team. Who wants to split up a team like that?! Oh, that’s right. Know it all’s.
There is a darker side to this.
Within this minority lies a more sinister collection of males. Not men. Males. Men do not treat women this way…
I took part in the Naked Huntress calendar. It’s nude. Nothing showing. In aid of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. I’ve lost someone to pancreatic cancer. Someone close to me lost their father to it. It’s a horrible disease. It deserves every penny of funding given to it. I jumped at the chance. Not because I’m an exhibitionist. Because it’s for a good cause.
Then come the messages. From fellow stalkers and the like. “Any more pics?”
“Get your kit off!” “Baby, I’m so horny.”
Hang on a moment. I accepted your friend request because we share common interests. I want to see the deer you’ve shot. I want you to tell me about your stalk. I’d like to know your favourite rifle and why. Tell me about the best stalk you’ve ever had, or the worst. Don’t send me a photo of your cocktail sausage resting in a bird’s nest. I’d rather share knowledge than bad, completely inappropriate selfies. I’m sure your fiancée, wife, or girlfriend won’t be impressed by what you’ve said!
Really. There is nothing more attractive than sharing thoughts, knowledge and experiences.
And whilst we’re on the topic – don’t call me a prude, a tease or anything else because I turn down your advances. I may turn them down for many a reason. I’m busy. I’m seeing someone. I’m interested in someone else. I’m working. I’m sick. I just don’t feel like it.
I’d rather you told me about your day…
I’m sure I’m not the only victim. Actually, I hate that term. I’m not a victim. A victim feels bad for it. I don’t feel bad. I feel pitiful towards the men who seem to think that lady stalkers want to see their bedroom equipment. I want to see your favourite rifle, your most treasured knife. If you want to win me over, share with me; don’t crudely display your biological features like a DSC exam.
Just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m a piece of meat, to be treated with less respect than your quarry. You may put the last meal in your quarry’s mouth. You may place him or her in a peaceful, respectable position as you pose for a photograph with your kill. But then you’ll send filth to a fellow stalker simply because they happen to differ in chromosomes to yourself.
I’m not a fan of ladies only shooting clubs. I have friends who argue that women need a safe place to interact without the negative influence of the minority of males who cause a problem.
I disagree. I don’t need a safe space. I need men to behave like gentlemen. I need other men to call these males out on their behaviour as unacceptable. I can stand up for myself, and I don’t need to be protected from the ‘nasty men’ out there. I just shouldn’t’ have to deal with it. What ever happened to chivalry? Am I worth less respect than your quarry?
I may be female. I may be barely 50 odd kilos of body mass. But I’m one of you. I hunt. I shoot. I kill. I drag out my own deer. I’ve dragged fallow bigger than myself over a thousand yards, across terrain that has made me puke through exertion. I’ve shot deer at 200 yards with precision that some men can only dream of. I may struggle at times…
But I’ve done it.
So don’t you dare tell me you know better when it comes to what I prefer?
I’ve looked through the glass. I’ve observed my quarry. I’ve pulled the trigger. I’ve dragged my kills out. I’ve slung them over my shoulders and trekked the few hundred yards back to base and gralloched my beast. I know what I like in a scope, in a rifle, in a knife.
I don’t wish to seem ungrateful. But, I am not grateful to see your birthday suit. I appreciate every piece of information and advice offered. But not the biology. Keep that to yourselves. My personal life is of no business to anyone – I shouldn’t have to defend myself to fellow stalkers with “I have a boyfriend” whether it’s true or not. We’re all in this together. We should be supporting one and other, not trying to hit on women stalkers just because they happen to be the opposite sex.
Let us be stalkers.
Let us share our knowledge and experience before we share our body parts.