The Outdoor Channel droned on in the living room while I researched companies in
Fairbanks that might be a possible sales lead for
Alaska Dog News ( www.alaskadognews.com ) . â€œProis is a womanâ€™s hunting clothing lineâ€¦â€¦.â€. My head snapped in the direction of the TV and I knew that this was something great. Women at a trade show booth displayed fabulous womenâ€™s clothing.
In 1991 I started running Hunt Tests with my Labrador Retrievers and hated the idea of wearing menâ€™s or boyâ€™s camo cloths. Nothing fit. The arms were too long, they buttoned on the wrong side and, well, they were ugly. Why did we have to look like men!
I could sew since I was 12 years old. Growing up in quant
Central Pennsylvania it was required that you learn to sew the summer you are 12. To satisfy the hunt test attire requirements and still protest the ugly cloths I bought a few patterns, found some not too detestable camo prints and tailored a few blouses and shorts. The shorts had pleats, the blouses had a little flair in the sleeve and padded shoulders with a V neckline. At event after event, women competitors in baggy pants and shirts would ask me where I bought my cloths.
For years I complained in hunting supply stores about the lack of womenâ€™s sizes from boots to coats.
All I have to say is ditto â€œItâ€™s about TIME!â€
Women are increasing in dog handling in hunting sports. Next month we will feature a Chukar Shoot put on by the Arctic Gun Dog Association. I followed 3 women hunters into the field and will have pictures and a story about this event in the August issue of
Alaska Dog News.
In the words of the great Mary J. Blige, “this one is for the ladies…”. Multi-Tasking. It seems we are genetically predisposed to this. Women are the quintessential multi-taksers…at ALL times. Women can drive to work, prepare and mental grocery list, arrange delivery of children to 3 various and sundry locations within a 5 minute block of time, give a concise description of the Pythagorean Theory and still simultaneously always know exactly how many rolls of toilet paper are left in the house at any given moment. Our brains, it seems, are so advanced that we can always know (to the kibble) how much food each dog consumes while simultaneously calculating the overall cooking time for a 15 lb turkey AND knowing exactly which plastics we can recycle. I have long since decided that this feat is due to the fact that we are born with an additional “woman” cleverly implanted in our brains that has allowed us to evlolve into the multi-tasking machines that we are. How else can it be explained? I call this portion of my brain, “Marsha”. Marsha accomplishes SO much. I can be nodding off to sleep, but Marsha will start to balance the check book. As much as I would like the credit, it really is Marsha who knows how much toilet paper we have. Marsha is the one who determines the quickest route to work while I am helping my daughter understand what happens when a dog gets neutered. Marsha rocks. However, Marsha apparently does not have and “off” button.
This was never more apparent to me than this past hunting season as I was quietly waiting for a monster bull that never seemed to move my direction….this was the moment I had been waiting for. A gorgeous Colorado morning; crisp and cold. The smell of earth and leaves permeating my nostrils. Magnificent mountains outlined by that hue of blue sky that can only be found in the Fall. Elk were bugling and moving. This was perfection. I was poised, my pulse was racing…I was going to get a kill. What goes through one’s mind at a moment like this? The mind is focused and the senses razor sharp. Nothing but elk and clarity. This is IT! Right?
Uh…not so much. It appears that even in these ultimate moments of existence, Marsha, in all her manic wisdom, is right there with me. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha… Ladies, can you relate? Even in these moments, Marsha’s urgings reverberate through the nooks and crannies of my mind:
Me: Wait. Listen. Which way is he coming in? What is that noise? Marsha: Noise…speaking of noise…did you set the alarm for the kids? Me: Yes. Listen. Glass. Marsha: Uhhh…you forgot to pack lunch for the kids. I tried to remind you last night. Hope they have lunch money. Me: Jeez. Money…got to remember to pay the propane bill before Saturday… Knock it off. Listen. Marsha: Saturday…Kids need to catch the bus for their meet before 7:00. Need to pack lunch. Hope you don’t forget this time. Me: There he is! He’s about 200 yards off. Not a good shot yet. Wait! Listen. Cow call… Marsha: Cow…don’t forget to get the 4-H record books dropped off this week. Oh- you also need to make a side dish for the banquet. We should make that green bean dish. We should actually just freeze enough to feed the entire free-world. then we can just grab and go. Need plastic containers though. I like the ones with the blue lids… Me: Oh Yeah. Stop it. Glass those trees. There’s another bull coming off that ridge. Marsha: Look at that blue sky. You only see that color in fall. You should paint the bathroom that color. White towels would look great with that color. Like a little slice of heaven. Oh- you’re down to 1 roll of toilet paper. Me: I just painted the bathroom last winter! Shhh. A little bit closer. Where is that other bull? Listen… Marsha: Listen…hear that airplane? Wonder where it’s going. maybe Aruba. Bet it’s warmer there than here. Oh…that reminds me, we need develop that film from last vacation…you should do that tomorrow on the way to work before you drop off the kids. Check out the contrail…looks like Abe Lincoln…speaking of Abe Lincoln, you still owe the boss $5 for that last bet. Oh, you may need to go by the ATM after you drop off the film… Me: Woah. Stop. Listen. He’s close. Not a good shot. Branches in the way. Marsha: Way…weigh…girl, you need to hit the gym ASAP.
Me: Alright. Stop. There he is. Shoulder the gun. Wiat. Wait. Listen. Marsha: Shoulder…that physical therapy appointment is Tuesday at 2pm. That may be a conflict with that work meeting. You need to check. Me: Squeeze the trigger. He’s Down! He’s HUGE! Marsha: Huge…don’t forget about the gym, ok? Oh- we’re out of lettuce. Should stop at the grocery store on the way home. Grab some toilet paper while you are there…
Great 6 pont bull! Great hunt and beautiful day. we pack out, load the truck and enjoy the warm bliss of a successful hunt. Sipping hot coffee, I catch a quick glance of that monster rack in my mirror. Great day indeed. I shut my eyes and enjoy the rhythmic drone of the truck as we head home. I am warm. I am dozing. I am happy.
Marsha: …Should we process this guy at the place west of town? We can drop him off on the way through. Oh, hey, that’s right by the grocery store. If you have your film, you can drop that off too. Oh, while we are there….
Meet Julie from England. An avid archery enthusiast, she competes around the British Isles where field archery/3d’s have a strong following. It is not uncommon to see archers shooting everything from compounds to tradtional recurves to longbows and primitive style bows.
The dogs pictured are “Lurcher’s”. (Bruce and Crow) Lurcher’s are bred to hunt by sight, taking such game as rabbits, hares and foxes. Interestingly, (although tragically) the older dog on the right broke his back two years ago and was paralyzed as a result. However, after an operation and hydrotherapy, he is now able to run just as he did before the accident.
It’s true…we’ve gone commercial. What a wild ride! Pairing with Tom Opre of Tahoe Films, we trekked to the Galt Ranchnear White Sulphur Springs, Montana in early May. Noted not just for his commercial work, Tom is the host/producer for Primal Adventures (great hunting show on Vs and WildTV), but he has done extensive work filming various extreme sports including ATV and snowmobiling. Oh, but did I mention he is a slave driver?
We started out before light the first day to catch the magnificent hues of the early morning light. However, that day…there were no magnificent hues. In fact- there was no light. There was snow. Instructed to “shut up and hunt”, we crouched, scouted and hunted most of the day. When met with protests of hunger and thirst, Tom responded with, “You are hunting, shut up and hunt”. We shut up and hunted. We hunted tree lines, ridges and even up a mountain (which we believe we were sent to “hunt” so the crew could spend some time glassing the magnificent wildlife on the ranch!) The morning shoot was a wrap. We returned in early evening to catch some great light in the setting Montana sun. Oh…more snow. The shoot was called, but while we waited out the snow we viewed some gorgeous mule deer, whitetail, bear and moose.
Tom Opre of Tahoe Films coaching his minions…
Day 2 we were rewarded with some of the most beautiful light and sun one could imagine. As we were shutting up and hunting, we were able to obtain some great footage. As the early morning shoot was complete, we trekked an additional hour to another portion of the great Galt Ranch. There, we were loaded into a helicopter and lifted into the peaks. What a ride, as neither of us had ever had such an experience. Try as we might not to squeal, I believe we did…but just once. Remember…we were trying to shut up and hunt! We then traced our way down a very (and I do mean VERY) narrow finger that jutted out into a beautiful valley. The cliffs dropped away a sheer 400 feet on each side. At one point, the finger narrowed to about 6 feet wide. I guess this was a bad time to start discussing my paralyzing fear of heights. Luckily, as I was contemplating my life and it’s possible demise at the foot of these cliffs, a sadistic voice barked across the radio, “Double Time…Move forward”. OK, done. Right then, we could feel and see the helicopter coming down the valley with our nemesis shooting footage that I felt certain was going to be the documentary of how a budding entrepeneur was going to careen to her death. Alas. We survived. We hoofed our way back to the peak, briefly checked out the sights and got to enjoy our second helicopter ride of the day back to the crew.
Following our near-death experience, we trekked further into the Galt Ranch for some river shots. Looking for the ‘perfect light’, we journeyed for 2 hours. Eureka, we found some great light and got some footage. Of course, we did have to cross the river about 8 times until Tom felt the footage was worthwhile…I believe it was punishment for all of our taunting. That was a wrap.
All joking aside, we had a fabulous experience with Tom Opre of Tahoe Films. He was nothing short of professional and knowledgable. His vision was a perfect fit for the vision of Prois and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We had an amazing time and forged a great relationship. Oh…and Tom wasn’t nearly the ogre described…he was awesome. But, boy have we gotten some mileage out of the ‘shut up and hunt’ line! Do me a favor- check out his website at Tahoe Filmsand see what sort of projects he is forging.
HELP! Marcy from Arizona is looking for a pack designed for women hunters. Not just any pack… THE pack. Her wishes? Camo fabric.
Should be able to pack at least 50 pounds and still be comfortable
Straps should not only be shorter than men’s packs, but also slanted for the shoulders of women.
Boots. My stories about hunting boots sound like clips from Goldilocks and the Three Bears…these are too big, these are too small, these are too thin or these are too cold. I have long searched for hunting footwear that can withstand what the elements provide. I assure you, I am not a shoe person by nature. You will not find Gucci or Jimmy Choo shoes in my closet. The extent of my footwear collection consists of Simples, Crocs, Sketchers and a mountain of flip flops. Comfort and function are key at all times because frankly, if the feet hurt, then the fun is over…and if my fun is over…so is everyone else’s. You can thus see why it is in the best interest of all around me to find great footwear.
Kenetrek has filled that bill. Jim Winjum of Kenetrek has engineered the Women’s Mountain Extreme 400 boot. I have had the pleasure (and how often can you use that word when describing boots?) of field testing these boots and can only rave about them. First; they are created for a woman’s foot. The design is somewhat narrower than the men’s boot, but the great part is that the heel is narrowed to reduce slippage and rubs. I tried these with both thick and thin socks- I literally had no rubbing or pressure points. Second; support. The Extreme 400 has a heavy duty nylon midsole with steel shanks. This really didn’t mean much to me until I spent some time hiking about the rocks in Montana and just as the song says, “I’m a believer!”. They are bomb proof! The sole is quite thick, but don’t be alarmed because this boot is very lightweight for all of its function. In fact, weiging in at 3.2 pounds per PAIR, there is no excess baggage here. Third; warmth. Insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate, these boots are warm. That’s not the best part. The Extreme 400 comes with a WindTex waterproof membrane. Now, if I was reading this review, I would think the writer just took that information from a hangtag. OK, so maybe I took the VERBIAGE from the tag, but here is what the ‘WindTex waterproof membrane’ means to me…you can literally wear this boot in and out of streams without any (and I mean ANY) moisture seeping into the boot. The tongue of the boot is a singular piece with triple stitiching- it is waterproof as is the padded collar that extends up the booot. Fourth; quality. Did I mention triple stitiching? The boot is made of full grain leather that is lieterally made in one piece…no seams. I looked. The rubber is tightly bonded and the sole is reinforced for protection. So many great features- so little time.
The Women’s Mountain Extreme 400 retails for $325. As this may seem a higher price point, I can attest to the fact that they are worth every penny. Not just for the reasons listed above, but also because these boots will last for many years. I try to put it in perspective this way- we don’t flinch at spending $500 for ski boots that actually fit. Why? They have too feel good and work hard. Running shoes? No problem to pay over $100 for a pair, yet if you are putting miles on them, you can only eek out about 6 months max on that pair. I foresee using these boots for years- so if I am buying one pair of boots to cover many years, these boots are much cheaper in the long run than the $200/year I shell out for running shoes. Yes, that smells distinctly of ‘women’s spending logic’, but the funny thing is…you all understood!
Do me a favor…check out these boots. There are numerous dealer locations, but click on www.kenetrek.com and go to Kenetrek Mountain Boots.