One day I sat on a ridge in Wyoming with an old guy named Bill and watched through binoculars as a 30-year-old lady stalked a mule deer a mile away. She and her husband had booked a hunt in the same camp where I was staying.
She moved slowly, cautiously and I wondered if she’d ever get into rifle range. I snickered and thought, “Might have to go over there and show the girl how it’s done.”
“She’s doing perfect,” Bill said from behind his binoculars as she eased up her rifle. We heard the thump, saw the buck buckle and then heard the rifle crack.
“Mostly it just takes ‘em one shot,” said the wrinkled cowboy who had guided hundreds of men and maybe 20 women in his day. “A lot of ladies who are really into it are better hunters than men.”
I blew out my chest and said, “I don’t know about that now….”
“Just what I mean,” Bill cut me off. “You guys beat your chest, get all macho and think you know everything about deer, guns, ballistics, shooting… The more you talk about how much you think you know, the more likely you’ll screw up on a big buck.”
Bill went on to say that in his experience, 3 things make women better hunters: 1) they’re patient; 2) they’re good listeners; and 3) they do what they’re told.
“If I tell a guy to go sit by that tree for 3 hours he’ll sit maybe an hour before he gets up and starts walking around and messing up the spot,” Bill said.
“If I tell a lady to sit there for 3 hours she’ll sit there still and ready the whole time…and a lot of times she’ll kill a big animal.”
Bill also said that women tend to be calmer than men, many of whom get excited and come unglued and miss deer.
And women generally shoot smaller caliber rifles, like .243 or 7mm-08. They can shoot and hit better than some guy who goes out West with a cannon magnum that thumps his shoulder and makes him flinch.
While I have not hunted with a lot of women, I’ve guided a few young ladies over the years. Thinking back on those hunts, yes, they listen. Yes, they tend to stay amazingly calm when a buck shows up. They all shot a low-recoil rifle, and shot it well. Yes, I believe old Bill was right about this in a lot of ways.
I ask: If you hunt with your wife or girlfriend, is she better than you?
In working with my son and daughter in the woods over the past few years – my 9 year old daughter has a totally different approach/outlook in the woods compared to my 13 year old son. And it lines up with a lot of what you mention in the article Mike. Both are equally fun to hunt with – but my son is more worried about shooting a bigger deer than his sister and gets a lot more frustrated when things don’t work out (like they do a lot when you just get started as we all know).
This is a touchy subject, and that kind of question could get a lot of us husbands in trouble.
My wife is actually a pretty good hunter. She shoots a rifle extremely well, and a bow proficiently. She does stay way calmer than I do when deer come into range, and generally executes a good shot.
I think the only thing that prevents her from being a better hunter than me is her lack of attention span and lack of experience, as she’s only been at it a couple years. As she gains experience, she may be the one bringing home all the backstraps…