By Aaron Farley
Those hunting shows with couples hunting together, to be honest, scared me a little. For me, hunting has evolved to become a time of adventurous solace. It is at the same time both peaceful and exhilarating. The paradox is a hard one to explain to someone who does not spend much time in the woods. Those who do hunt hard, no doubt understand what I mean. So when I began to think about bringing my wife into this guarded treasure of mine, again – if I’m being totally honest, it was a little scary. But the more I thought about it, I figured I may rather spend an afternoon in a blind looking at her, than some dude. So we began to explore the idea of her hunting with me.
A million questions come to mind when I consider my worlds colliding. Will she hate it? What if she loves it? Will she always want to come? What if I cannot facilitate her and she does not get a shot? What if it is a bad experience, and she loses all interest in hunting? The paralysis of analysis can easily set in and keep any progress from being made.
I love my wife, Lauren, and enjoy her friendship. I’m not the guy who you will overhear talking about his wife like some leftover college debt he lugs around because he has no other choice. She is by far my best friend, and I typically have a great time at whatever we are doing together. But hunting? Did I really want to share the manliest of man traditions with my dainty, girly, little wife?
As we talked about the idea of hunting together, some very helpful and settling points came to the surface. It turns out, almost as if by design, that our desires for hunting fit perfectly together. What she wanted out of the experience of hunting worked in harmony with my desire to preserve my personal retreat in the woods. Maybe your situation is different with your wife [girlfriend] and perhaps you already have a great arrangement. My guess is that most couples who have good relationships cross this bridge at one point or another, so I wanted to share a few of the things we discovered along the way. Below are some of the issues that I took from my conversations with her. While they may differ from other women’s, hopefully it will help some guys better understand where their ladies may be coming from.
She wanted to hunt, but not every time
My wife does not possess a deep burning desire to be a hunter. The desire she does have is to be part of what I am doing. She does not share my same drive to explore the timber, but mostly she just wants to share time together. In a way this was a relief for me. I would not have to worry about her getting injured while hunting without me, and I was not risking losing my personal sanctuary by bringing her along every time. She wanted to go hunting, maybe a couple times a year, just to share it with me.
She wanted to be a part of the process, but not necessarily be present for all of it
My wife is not a huge fan of the dark early morning woods and copper-headed-rattle-moccasins. She is comfortable being a part of the rest of the process and only venturing out here and there. Mostly, we share in other parts of the hunting lifestyle, such as butchering, cooking the game, taking pictures, practicing with our bows, and looking at trail cam images. Shooting together is a great way to share our love of hunting. She helps me with form and gets better with her shooting as we practice. She loves to try a new recipe with the meat, but she is not itching to drag a 165 lb deer 200 yards through the woods. We can share in the hunting experience in many other ways than her always accompanying me on the actual hunt.
She wanted to shoot, but felt intimidated
We often talked about deer, turkey, and squirrel hunting, the recoil from different guns, and the discipline needed to bow hunt. Acquiring the skill and stamina to properly and effectively use the weapons was a little intimidating to her; and at 5’3” and 105 lbs, even my .243 produces enough blowback to give her reservations. Shooting a .22 at squirrels was a more appealing style of hunting for her due to the light recoil and report of the .22 lr cartridge.
I arranged to give her a double barreled 20 gauge for Mother’s Day one year. With a Limbsaver pad on the back, light recoil shells, and some target practice, she was able to shoot her new shotgun easily enough and, in return, build confidence with a firearm. Later, we got her a bow so she could try her hand at archery. She is much more comfortable shooting the bow without the “bang” of a rifle, and it is something we can do for fun together in the yard anytime.
She wanted to go with me, but she’s not going without me
If I wasn’t hunting, she would not either. For her, going hunting with me was more about trying something new, and spending time sharing in what I love. I found that Lauren enjoys the home side of the experience as much as, if not more than, the actual hunt. I hunt because something deep inside is driving me towards the wilderness. She hunts because I do. If I were to stop hunting today, I am fairly certain that she would not be climbing into the stand alone come September.
As couples, I think it is natural for us to want to know more about whatever interests our spouses have. She loves to garden, and I now find myself weeding and worrying about the beans. I love to hunt, and she is now grabbing her bow and flinging arrows at the target beside me. I thought I was going to risk losing the solitude of it all, and instead I found several new ways to share my love of hunting with the love of my life.
Have you ever wondered or worried about bringing your wife [girlfriend] out to hunt with you? How did it go if you did? Is hunting your estrogen free zone? What are your thoughts on sharing your love of the hunt with the love of your life? And for the ladies out there, what are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments!
– Aaron Farley, RusticMan.com