I am an experienced lady hunter, a hunting industry professional, and a mentor and teacher of the outdoor sports. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to teach and inspire others about the sports for which I have a passion. Documentaries about women hunters are few and far between. The vast majority of films over the counter and on television feature women bagging (trophy) animals on extraordinary hunts to which the everyday person or new hunter simply cannot relate. They have wonderful entertainment value, but do they teach us to hunt? Actually, that goes for films in general, featuring men or women, on both TV and in videos. We see a woman on her hunting stand, whether in a tree or on the ground, a trophy
whatever in the background, and a successful shot followed with the traditional pose of hunter with dead critter and a recap of what it took to kill it. What’s glaringly absent from most modern films featuring women – or most films period - is all the preparation beforehand and all the follow-up afterward. Too, what the audience does not always know, is that a professional outfitter is often hired for these hunts so that really, most of the true “hunting” was done by someone else and all the hunter did was show up and kill something. What has
been shared with me over the years by women who want to learn to hunt, is their fear the unknowns of the sport. It just seems to be too much for them to tackle. Those unknowns are varied and valid. Some of the common apprehensions I hear from women are:
1. Where do I find a place to hunt?
2. How do I get the expertise to hunt?
3. Where and how do I find out what gear, equipment and clothing I need to hunt?
4. I just don’t know where to start.
5. I’m a little afraid of being out there – is it safe?
6. How do I field dress a game animal if I harvest one?
The film “Dressed to Kill” addresses most of these questions and provides a number of answers and alternatives from many women hunters of all ages, both experienced and new
hunters. The film overviews a number of lady hunters and their journeys toward discovering their “inner huntress”. In our American culture, hunting has mostly been a male dominated interest. Little girls were and are mostly not taken by their dads to learn the hunting sports. Single women especially, are unclear where to start, especially if they want to mentor their own children.
The film is shot primarily in the southern United States. Women were invited to hunt various animals and the producer filmed the women “just as they came” and filmed the actual hunts. As a seasoned hunter I saw things that I felt were mistakes made by a couple of the women featured in the film, but since those types of things were what really happened and what could happen when with any hunter, they were not edited out. At first I questioned the producer leaving these things in the final edit. It was explained that these were things that actually happened and cutting them from a documentary type film would have made the film untruthful. The fact is, errors do happen and I support the producer in not cutting what would have ended up cut by popular TV.
In one scene a group of ladies was invited to a turkey hunt. One lady hunter showed up with bare arms, no gloves, bright red fingernail polish, a full face head net and yellow-orange fashion shooting glasses. Why were these things a mistake? Bare white arms would be seen by a turkey at hundred yards for one, and would also have been the target of mosquitoes and ticks. Bright red fingernail polish would highly visible too, and for safety, red is never permissible in a turkey woods. The full face net (with eyes covered) obstructs vision and the bright shooting glasses while making a fashion statement, are nonsensical besides being highly visible to turkeys. In another scene, a lady turkey hunter had all the right gear and techniques. In yet another scene, a new hunter was turkey hunting with a shotgun from a ground blind. Personally, if health is not an issue, ground blinds are for bow hunting, not shotguns, in my opinion. When the hunter did bag a bird, she later described the hunt saying that she took multiple shots at a bird but finally got it. Since the first shot and possibly the second are really the only ones that count since losing one’s composure is imminent beyond that, I felt that featuring a hunter opening up in a frenzy of multiple shots might not be the best message of ethical shooting. However, this is real life and just about any hunter will tell you that it’s happened to them. Dozens of other hunting scenes in the video were spot on for safety, ethics and equipment.I applaud the producer for not altering the real life scenarios of the hunters in the video.I also applaud the producer for the graphic depiction of field dressing. The field dressing scene got the film rejected by a popular outdoor channel because it might “offend viewers.” I was stunned to hear that. This also humored me because any mom with children who has seen her share vomit and bad diapers, could easily stomach the field dressing scene.This film, along with education in Firearm Safety by your State’s DNR, and attending seminars given by the Becoming an Outdoors Woman or NWTF Women in the Outdoors groups, takes most if not all the mystery out of women hunting. Videos like “Dressed To Kill, Women Who Hunt” puts a face to that education, and that face wears lipstick. Besides learning about hunting, women can gain the confidence with these educational tools to mentor their own children and friends and take them afield as well.I have below noted some resources that can give the new woman hunter some starting information. These are companion reading materials besides education and videos like “Dressed to Kill”. While not all inclusive, the resources below can give you a start toward turning the unknowns of hunting, into knowns.
Knowledge is the first step toward enjoying the outdoors and the hunting sports. I highly recommend the “Dressed To Kill” video for all lady hunters, experienced and not. It is a great way to learn and to teach others.