Friday, February 1, 2013

What is a Huntress?

I have a confession.  The word huntress annoys me.  There I said it.  Now before I ruffle any feathers, please understand that there are many women hunters whom I'm friends with and truly respect who gladly claim the newly marketed term.  I mean no disrespect to them.  It is their prerogative to do so.  However, I just can't seem to wholeheartedly embrace it.

I've been trying to justify in my head the reasons why I disdain dislike the word.  This is my feeble attempt to put words to paper and do my best to vocalize the fingernails on the chalkboard feeling I get when I'm categorized as such.  I'm just being honest.  Please don't shoot me.

Maybe it's the idea of being put into a box.  Or the automatic association with the color pink that seems to come with it, which honestly is probably what annoys me most...  Oh you hunt?  And you're a girl?  That's awesome.  You probably want all of your gear sprinkled with the color pink and to be called a huntress.  Um.  No.

What exactly is a Huntress anyway?  A princess turned hunter?  Okay - that's not really fair... I apologize to all the princess hunters out there.  But seriously, why do I need a special word to describe me as a female hunter? Doesn't the word "hunter" serve the purpose well? I'm so confused.

Here's the deal.  I honestly like being a girl.  I rejoice in the unique differences between men and women.  There is an unique purpose and value in these differences.  I'm not on the soapbox of equality in all things pertaining to gender, because I have no qualms with the idea that men can do some things better than women and vice versa.  In fact I'm pretty old school in this way of thinking, but that is a whole other blog post. I do think there is a difference between equality in position and equality in worth, e.g., we are all equal in value.  Big difference.

Okay... now that the ground work is laid, I can move on.  So maybe "huntress" is just a fun catchy term to describe the female hunter.  I'll admit - it's cute.  I'll even concede that searching with #huntress on twitter is a great way to find fellow female hunters.  However, I also have no issues with the word "hunter." Yah, it may be considered a more male-like term.  But so what? I'm a female who hunts and I don't have a problem with being coined as a hunter. I'm comfortable with going from heels at the office to camouflage in the field.  If you can't tell that I'm a woman when I don my face paint and camouflage, who cares.  I'm not out to impress anyone, or prove my feminine hunting skills.  I just want to have fun and hunt.

So what does this picky gal want?  It's simple.  I want hunting clothes that fit my body with options that don't always include a pink narrative.  I want to be respected as a hunter, because she carries her weight  by helping to haul an elk off the mountain and is welcomed around the campfire.  I don't want advantages simply because I'm a girl, but want to still be acknowledged as a lady, standing back in order to allow a gentleman to open the door if the opportunity arises.  (Of course... if he can see past the non-pink camouflage, recognizing I'm a girl.)  I want to take part in the thrill of the hunt, and rejoice with the team at the end of the day.  Oh, and I want my husband to rub my feet after a hard hunt, because I may be wearing heels to the office tomorrow.  Is that too much to ask?

I'm off to paint my fingernails a fun shade of teal, hang up my princess tiara next to my bow, and wash off my cynical non-girly face paint.  Don't judge.

P.s. I'd love to know your thoughts!  Have I fallen off my rocker?  Girls, do you like being classified as a huntress?  Do you care?  Should I cave and go with the flow?  Guys, does the word bother you?  Why?  Let me know what you think.  I really want to know!  Maybe I'm the only one that feels this way!


  1. Emily, I don't mind the name calling and my camo in the field I completely agree. Plan camo and/or hunters orange that's it. My truck is a different story. I like the hints and I do mean hints of pink. Let's walkers by know not all hunters are guys and its a great conversation starter for both men and women alike. Good piece. Thanks, Tonia

    1. Tonia - Thanks for the comment. I am with you on the camo in the field also... the bottom line is that I just want a good fit in the clothing. I bet your truck looks awesome! I can understand the hints of pink to make a statement. However, I guess my deal is... why does it always have to be pink when it comes to accent color on women's clothing? My best friend would disagree with me on this because she loves the color pink, so maybe it is just me.

  2. I dislike the word huntress. It makes women sound like less of hunters to me. I like the color pink with camo but I would never go overboard with it. I don't understand why clothing manufacturers put so much pink in camo, it's not like I'm going to go hunting covered in pink camouflage! It doesn't make any sense!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I agree with the pink... I'm just hoping for more options in the future. I know there are a lot of women that do like pink, but I think there are just as many women who hunt that would like a different color choice. I think a smart move on the manufacture's part would be to provide more shopping options. After all, with the rapid growing trend of women entering the hunting world, I think there is going to be (if not already) the demand for female hunting clothing options. After all... women like to shop!

  3. I personally don't care either way, hunter/huntress either one is fine. I do wish manufacturers would realize I want functionality over pretty though. Pretty is nice, but I want my gear to function first and foremost. Yes, I do have the cotton candy bow, but I still would be shooting it if it only came in black/camo/whatever because it functions the best for me. I too enjoy being a woman, but I get no advantages because of it. I feel like personally I have to work harder because most men THINK I get an advantage or get babied because I'm a female. I've even had men ask me "did you really kill those deer, or are you just holding your husbands?" Insert infuriated lady there! I think huntress is a fun word, but it doesn't offend me or bother me. Once people really get to know me I know that they realize I am a pretty serious hunter, and love it as much as most men they know.

    1. I'm all about functionality. In fact that is the FIRST thing I look for when shopping for hunting clothes. I will even admit that I can look past the pink trim if I find something that fits just right.

      I agree about having to work harder, and honestly I'm okay with that (to an extent). It does bother me that there are some women who think they deserve to play in a guy's world and then expect to get a pass when things get tough. If you can't play, then don't try. If you can, then more power to you. But I'm honestly not talking about hunting here.. with men in my life in the military and fire service, I have other stories to tell.

      Oh... and I love the color of your bow! By cotton candy, I'm assuming you mean awesome shade of aqua. :)

    2. I grew up shooting competitively, and I was cut no slack by guys. If I wanted to win I had to bring my AA game not just an A game like they were bringing. As females some things are harder for us (getting a pass through, our set up has to be perfect), but I'm never cut any slack. I will say my husband guts all my deer for the sheer fact he's way faster than me, does a better job, and can wrangle a deer around better than me (we gut in the field not in a barn hung up). I always help but he does the real work. I hold and help wrangle. That's my princess treatment, but basically it's for his benefit.

    3. Yah, I hear you. I guess it boils down to the reality that life isn't always fair. I would rather work a little harder to prove myself then know the standard was lowered just so I could pass. It sounds like you are the same way. It sucks to feel the extra pressure, but it does make you better. ;)

      With that being said, I think that extra pressure may be a result of females wanting to play in many of areas of a man's world, as I stated above. And sometimes the standards have been lowered just so that quotas can be met or the qualifications are "fair." So, when we take up a "man's" hobby where there aren't official quotas / qualifications involved, the guys may not be so ready to cut us slack. And quite honestly, I don't blame them. I'm not saying that women should never attempt to "play," but you had better make sure you are down right capable before crossing that line. For example... as a firefighter's wife, I am a little leery of girls on the department. If the unthinkable ever happens and he doesn't make it out of a fire b/c his partner can't physically get the job done, there is a big problem.

      Oh.. and Troy does most of the gutting also! It is just faster. I get the job of holding legs, brisket or moving the gut pile down hill, and then hauling quarters to the truck.

    4. The extra pressure does make you strive harder, and be better overall that's for sure. I completely understand the female firefighter thing. Hubs department currently only has males, but I would worry more if there was a female like myself on the department. I couldn't hold my own doing that type of thing. I believe there are many qualified females, but I know I couldn't hack it!

      Exactly, you and I both know how to gut something, but it's just faster and makes more sense if our hubbies do it. Leaves us free to get other necessary stuff done (i.e. pack meat out, tear down the ground blind etc).

  4. I (mostly) agree with A Reel Lady - I don't care either way. However, I'm actually one that coins myself as a huntress. Why? Simply because I was taught that it's the proper terminology. I don't even like the color pink, but all the pink camo and accessories out there don't bother me. I guess I actually prefer the term "huntress" because I want to be different. I don't want to blend in with the guys. I think this way because I have NEVER been given special treatment in the outdoors world or industry for being a woman. Not once have I been babied because I'm a woman in a man's world. In fact, it's always been the opposite. I feel like I have had to fight harder, be better and prove myself worthy. Men get a level of respect that women have to fight for, and it infuriates me. Just like you, I wear heels in the office and for a night on the town, I enjoy all aspects of being pampered, but I still fight for traditional hunting gear and clothes for women. I've fought hard to have my own voice as a woman hunter, and while I probably won't be wearing pink camo anytime soon, I'll happily refer to myself as a huntress.

    1. You almost have me convinced on the Huntress word. I thought it was a recently made up word by women who want to have their own hunting term. No?

      Hunting clothing manufactures.... are you listening? Here is another serious hunting woman who wants a different option other than the stereotypical pink.

      I guess I was lucky or just naive because I honestly haven't felt the pressure to prove myself worthy. Although it probably helps that I've carried almost 1/2 an elk off the mountain for each of the guys I hunt with. I think they probably were a bit nervous at first when the girls "invaded" camp, but it wasn't because they thought less of me as a hunter... they just didn't want to lose their right to fart around the campfire.

  5. If a woman wants to call herself a huntress, that's her choice.

    I'll never use it to refer to any of you, though. As far as I'm concerned, you're hunters.

  6. Ok, I'll be the first guy to step up to the plate here. Here's my opinion, and it's just that.

    I think the term "huntress" is too new in the mainstream hunting lingo to really describe all the female hunters out there. In other words, I think it's still evolving. I don't know how long the word has really been around (maybe forever) however I've only heard it used regularly fairly recently.

    I've seen some girls refer to themselves as a huntress and I interpret it as "high-maintenance hunter." You know the type. And I'm not just talking about pink camo and sparkly bows either. I think those things are great if that's what the girl wants. Not all guys want a fluorescent green and blue string and fletching setup like I do. I'm talking girls who expect to be given preferential treatment, won't carry their weight, or won't hunt cause it's too cold. I'm enough of a traditionalist that I'm gonna give her a hand anyway when things get tough, but if you're gonna join in a hunt, you should be expected to hold your own, at least to a degree.

    On the other hand, I've seen other huntresses that gave off a completely different vibe. Sure they clean up pretty, but you can tell when they don their camo and grab their gun or bow that "hey, this girl is for real." That kind of huntress gives the term a different identity. Emily to me you're this kind of huntress, if you don't mind me using that term. Haha

    Many of these things can also be said about the word "hunter" too. In the eyes of much of the non-hunting public, we're all a bunch of rednecks, spotlighting deer out of our trucks and drinking beer. This is especially true here in the south. That ideology doesn't describe me, but hey I'm stuck with it.

    So I think it's up to the huntresses out there to really define the term as time goes on. When I hear the term, all it means to me is a female hunter. Just like when I hear the term hunter, it's usually a male who hunts. It doesn't tell me of he hunts from the road, hunts high-fence, or hunts fair chase and public land like me. It's how the hunter defines himself and how the huntress defines herself that counts.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks, Adam. I appreciate your comments!

      I agree that it's all in how the word is defined. My first impression of the word huntress has always leaned towards the 'high-maintenance" girl you've described, which is why I struggle with it... I don't think I fit in that category (although I will admit to wearing mascara lately *gasp*)

      You've given me something to think about, Here's the deal... As a women who hunts, I consider myself part of the "hunter" group as a whole, and when the non-hunting public speaks ill of the group due to stereotype of the bad apple, redneck, spotlighting, poaching, drinking "hunter," I want to prove them wrong too... because I take offense to that incorrect viewpoint also. Although I realize that this ideology isn't typically aimed at women, but I consider myself as a hunter just like everyone else so it's still offensive. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

      There will probably always be stereotypes we have to stand up against. Hunters = redneck, beer drinking, shooting deer from trucks at night. Huntresses = high-maintenance, sparkly camo wearing, attention seeking girl who doesn't hunt when it's cold. I like your last statement, "It's how the hunter defines himself and how the huntress defines herself that counts."

      I guess I just struggle with trying to always apply the politically correct term these days. Can we just keep it simple? "Hunter" is simple and seems to work for me. And since I bowhunt maybe that's where I'm confused the most, e.g., is there a different term for women that bowhunt? Bowhunteress? That's silly.

      (btw - thanks for the compliment!)

  7. Excellent post Emily,

    I often find myself wondering exactly what a huntress is, how long this term has been around and how it relates to hunting.

    It's a little different for me personally to hear any categories other then "hunter". Its typically "do ya rifle hunt or use a bow" that is the category. I also am in an area that's a little slow to catch on to anything new in society, ha. However; it doesn't bother me a bit if a woman wants to call themselves a huntress, just awesome to see more women getting out there and getting it done. I think it's about making yourself who you want to be and rolling with it.

    Where i'm from women in my family and childhood friends families hunt. I only hope to put as many animals on the ground in my life as my mom has in her years. I have the utmost respect for women hunters, and watching my mom take a mule deer with a bow in her mid 40's was unreal. She also digs "pink" haha.

    So I would say keep doing what you want, don't let the "titles" effect your views and continue portraying by example of what type of hunter you want to be!

    1. That is awesome about your mom! How cool that you got to watch her shoot a muley with a bow. I love that!!

      And you're right... I shouldn't let the titles bother me.

      You know what's kinda funny? I don't think I've ever heard someone say out loud, "I'm a huntress" or "she's a huntress." LOL The thought of it makes me chuckle. Say it out loud.. I think it's the way the word sounds that actually annoys me. Aha!

  8. Here is my thing. Females have wanted to be equal for so long and now some want to separate them selves with a title. I really enjoy that my wife hunts but I call her a hunter just like everyone else in camp. I am a fireman and on the job we can't call men, firemen anymore because females get offended by the term even if its not directed towards them. By the same token we don't them firefightress's, we are all called firefighters. So with that said I love have you all hunting with us in the field and welcome anyone of you into my camp.

    1. Nice parallel. I've known a number of female firefighters. No firefightresses.

    2. Wait, are you Cashmere & Camo's G2G? Wife? Am I missing something?? Brandy where are you girl?

    3. LOL - nope... that's my man :) Does Brandy's guy go by "G2G" also?

    4. I swore she called him G2 maybe not G2G. Am I not hip enough to know that G2 something means something?

  9. My wife doesn't hunt, but my brother's wife does. She had never hunted before in her life until she married my brother. Did she get special treatment? The only special treatment she got was just the same as you would give to someone who is hunting for their first time. Helping them understand what to look for and pointing out the key things to keep in mind. Her first year hunting she drew on a special elk tag. We couldn't hunt but she could so she was fortunate enough to harvest a nice 5 point elk. I wouldn't say she got special treatment but she was taught just like anyone else would have been. Whenever we hunt with her, we treat her just like anyone else and she expects that.

    I don't mind the term huntress from a marketing point and I don't mind it when female hunters coin themselves as a huntress. If a huntress decided to come and hunt with us, we would assume she calls herself a huntress because she hunts, not because she wants some pink camo and special treatment.

    Here's my 2 cents. . if you search on the internet for "what is a huntress" you get the top definition of a woman who hunts. Then when you flip it around and search for "what is a hunter" you get the definition of a person or animal that hunts. If this whole hunter/huntress thing is about male/female, why doesn't the definition state that a hunter is a man that hunts? Use the term huntress to market camo clothing to the women who hunt, go ahead and call yourself a huntress, and come out to hunt.

    I couldn't agree more with the fact that camo clothing should be customized for women hunters but focus on the functionality, don't focus on if you have enough pink in there to show it's for women. So leave the pink off the camo and get these women some camouflage that fits their needs!!

    On the whole pink issue... I know that there are many women who don't hunt but don't like pink. At the same time it goes back to the blue=boy pink=girl that I'm sure everyone was taught when they were kids. I don't see camo with blue trim to show that it is for us guys. I also understand that there are some women who want to have a little pink because, well, they like pink and they "think it's cute". I don't like pink but I actually put pink wraps and blazer vanes on my arrows.... I get laughed at by my family but it makes it easier to find and see my arrow in the woods.

    Great post Emily!

  10. A hunter is a hunter, doesn't matter if you are male or female, young or old! Great post! If you want to be called a huntress or hunter, doesn't matter to me as long as you get out and enjoy the outdoors!

  11. I guess I connect "huntress" with a more sex based term. I don't like that my daughter looks on twitter and see something with huntress and she opens it and most of the time it's has some lady with her chest pushed out and selling some kind of product she has. I don't like to see that in the hunting market. You don't hunt in your swimsuits so don't push it as such. Now some lady's coin the term to be just that a lady that hunts, key word LADY! Not sexual in that sort but, other woman and company's have made it as such. Call your selves what you want but if your going to use that term then lady's start pressuring companies and other females to clean it up! Good luck and my God Bless.

  12. Great post Emily, I wholeheartedly prefer the word "Huntress" but it makes no difference to me if someone calls me a hunter.
    I personally feel its a pretty apt definition for me since I'm not a guy.

    By the way, the word was certainly not coined by some silly all pink girl with a weapon. It's a noun and its definition is "a woman who hunts game". It's in the dictionary and its been used for centuries.
    Amazonians were described as great huntresses.
    Diana was the Greek Goddess of the hunt and is referred to as a "Huntress" many times in works of literature.

    I personally don't think the word is cute or the embodiment of a high maintenance hunter at all. For me its an embodiment of power. Of my own personal ability to kill animals as a woman without a mans help.

    A "Huntress" is the equal counterpart to a "Hunter".

    I detest pink on camo when I'm hunting because it utterly negates the point of camouflage but I wear lots of pink.

    But in the end its a personal choice and I would hope that whether you're coining yourself a "Hunter" or "Huntress" you're having fun out there killing stuff. :)

  13. I have struggled with this a lot and more so now that my company has created a product for, well lets just say females who hunt! LOL I'm out here on the web trying to find info that will support my stand. I'm on the side of Hunter over Huntress. I just don't see the a good reason to make the distinction. We may do things differently and tap into different skill sets to get the job done but at the end of the day the end results is the same. viva la différence! Oh and guys we do like colors other than it!

  14. I do refer to myself and my girlfriends that hunt as huntresses. If you look up the definition of huntress in the Webster dictionary it is: a woman who hunts game. It's the feminine form of hunter. I am not offended if someone calls me a hunter, because I am a hunter. A female hunter.

    Now on the pink stuff...funny thing is I liked pink before I became a hunter but now I am OBSESSED. My bow has pink string and pink on the wrist sling. I have pink arrows. I also have a pink camo gun sling, but that is the most pink you will see on me when I am hunting. You could catch me wearing pink camo just about anytime during the year, except for hunting's straight camo for me. And I'm ok if the camo has some pink accents.

    This is just me.

  15. I agree with most of this, and people can choose their titles as much as they wish. However, one paragraph bothered me a bit.

    "So what does this picky gal want? It's simple. I want hunting clothes that fit my body with options that don't always include a pink narrative. I want to be respected as a hunter, because she carries her weight by helping to haul an elk off the mountain and is welcomed around the campfire. I don't want advantages simply because I'm a girl, but want to still be acknowledged as a lady, standing back in order to allow a gentleman to open the door if the opportunity arises. (Of course... if he can see past the non-pink camouflage, recognizing I'm a girl.) I want to take part in the thrill of the hunt, and rejoice with the team at the end of the day. Oh, and I want my husband to rub my feet after a hard hunt, because I may be wearing heels to the office tomorrow. Is that too much to ask?"

    This feels like it's contradicting the rest of the post. You say here that you "want to be respected as a hunter" because you can pull your own weight. What does that have to do with your gender at all? If someone goes on a group hunting trip and CAN'T pull their own weight, they're bound to be laughed at and not invited back. It feels kind of stupid and unfair to demand respect for something that thousands of other people already do. You are saying yourself that being a woman and hunting doesn't make you special, but you then want special treatment because you are a woman.

    You also state that "I don't want advantages simply because I'm a girl, but want to still be acknowledged as a lady, standing back in order to allow a gentleman to open the door if the opportunity arises. (Of course... if he can see past the non-pink camouflage, recognizing I'm a girl.)" You have two options. First, you could conform to the stereotype and be accepting of the fact that marketing towards woman often involves pink, and then you could wait for every door to be opened by a guy. Two, you could abandon the stereotypes, fight against the EVIL MARKETING PEOPLE AT THE LOCAL WALMART, and open the damn door yourself. If you are well-bodied enough to go hunting, you are certainly physically capable of opening a door. Simply insinuating that a woman deserves special treatment in any way completely destroys the concept of equality (not feminism, feminism is corrupt and misandristic). Men can not be expected to ruin a perfectly fine coat just because you're too damn lazy to walk around a puddle. Men should not be expected to hold a door open for a woman just because. How about you hold open the door for the men if you're the first one to the door? If you do that, it saves everyone time and people will see you as a polite human being instead of a fragile porcelain doll.