That’s me, Alaska Guide, a Big Game Hunter and yes, female!
“Was it harder for you (Alaska Chick) when you started as a trainee?” This is the question one of my trainees asked me this morning as we were getting ready for the day’s hunt. She was referring to fact that we are both women.
I had to stop and think about that and now, hours later, I am still thinking about her question and my answer.
Yes and no. (Dontcha just HATE it when someone says that?)
When I was a trainee, (over 20 years ago) here in the extremely remote interior of Alaska, there were (and still are) very few women guides.
The deep – dark secret of many women, the secret that had yet to be revealed to and part of Verses, Pursuit, the Sportsman’s Channel, the world wide web and all of the Social Networks…
Women Hunt Too … (shh…)
There are of course, ups and downs to both different generations joining, in the open, what could very well be the last, “man’s world.”
When I came to Chisana, most Big Game Hunters that were clients of Pioneer Outfitters were between the ages of 45 to 65 years of age. With a lower percentage of hunters between 65 and 75 years. They were all men. Most were pure, old-fashioned gentlemen.
Now, the average age of Pioneer Outfitters Big Game Hunters is between 35 and 50 years of age, with an equal percentage of hunters being between 25-35 and 50 to 65 years old. The majority are not only not gentlemen, I am not convinced they know the meaning of the word.
Every year, for the last 8-10 years we’ve had 1 to 2 women Big Game Hunters with us at Pioneer Outfitters and approximately a third of those ladies come alone. The average age of the women that come to Alaska to hunt with Pioneer Outfitters is between 50 and 60 years of age. They are, without a doubt, some of the classiest, hardest hunting humans I have ever had the honor to meet, observe and interact with.
Female, Alaska Guide
First, It means women can be openly proud about loving the hunt. The skills and patience that are required and they possess to be outstanding and ethical Big Game Hunters. It doesn’t have to be a family secret anymore to still be considered and looked at as a lady, by society and peers.
Second. (and also a really big deal) Being, not only becoming, an Alaska Professional Guide is incredibly hard. The physical demands, the emotional twists and the mental warfare are nothing to be shrugged off. It really does continue to be a “man’s world” in the far North.
There is a high note to this, ladies. Luckily, though it is true that women were not created or built to be as strong physically as a man, we tend to understand leverage better and get hurt less often. Women tend not to have the ego-dramas that seem to plague men and screw their thought process to itty-bitty-bits.
Thinking back I remember as a trainee, both Alaska Registered Guide Deb Overly as well as Alaska Registered Guide Sue Entsminger had told me very much the same thing as the other in this: Some of the clients, the Big Game Hunters that come to Alaska to hunt, or to hunt with Pioneer Outfitters, simply wouldn’t want any woman in their camp.
A female Alaska Guide, a female camp cook, a female wrangler or a female guide trainee would not be welcome in the camp they were in. In their words, the gentlemen would say (having explained to the Male Outfitter) they wanted to be able to spit, fart, cuss and tell stories that they wouldn’t or couldn’t in front of a woman, any woman. (True fact- this isn’t a big issue these days.)
So, harder? No. I wouldn’t say it was harder then or now. Different? Yes.
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