Co-ed Hunt Camps... Yes or No?

The subject of co-ed hunt camps seems to be a very hot topic these days. With more and more women hunting, it's no surprise that even the most old-school hunters are welcoming females in to their camps. I reached out to a handful of Canadian Huntress and Canadian Hunter Ambassadors to get their opinions on co-ed hunt camps, and not surprisingly, they were all for it.

NOTE: My original intention was to paraphrase the following responses, but I felt that they were too raw and honest, so I left them exactly how they were sent to me.

Alaina Giannasi, Canadian Huntress Ambassador | @avventurosa89

Co-ed hunting... where to start haha! I have never hunted with another woman before, but I believe it would make things a lot easier. I started hunting with my uncle and his nephew. I was told to follow strict guidelines and their rules when walking in and out of where we were hunting for deer, as well as show up on time or they left without me (I was always early to our meeting spots). I was told not to wear any girly smells (shampoo, body wash, deodorant). It was not so bad, even though I felt like this was not something women were supposed to do. I learned all about scent killer and such prior in my hunting course, but I felt like I had to act "dumb" per say and act surprised when they told me about what I had to do to prepare myself for our hunts. 

Later, I started dating my boyfriend. He has been hunting just as long as I have, but is really involved competitively in archery. Hunting with him took me to a whole new level of feeling so "dumb". I have learned a lot from the experiences that we have had together. I have learned that I am apparently too loud with my feet, how to bait for deer and well, bears, we discovered together (since neither of us have ever hunted or baited for them before). While being the only woman, I am always given these traditional women's roles... I am to make sure clothes are washed in scent killer and put in our bin, make sure food is packed, all our equipment is packed etc... While at our hunt camp, I do all the cooking and cleaning up, tent set up and such. Again, my boyfriend lays out rules and guidelines to hunting with him. As I am still new to hunting, he gets frustrated with me quite quickly and I find that men do not have the patience when it comes to hunting with a woman. If he could hunt with Lindsay Bauer or Eva Shockey, he would probably have an issue with them too. I try very hard to keep up with my short steps along with staying as quiet and alert as possible. Somedays, when we are scouting and baiting it's fun and others, especially when we go in for a sit, it gets frustrating. I do find that I tend to get blamed for any movement or noise, even though I have learned to be still as a rock. Many ups and downs, but I feel women tend to get blamed for any mishap, even if you have done your research and have educated yourself on what you are hunting. 

When we went turkey hunting with one of his friends, who is a guide, he was very patient with me and explained all that there was to hunting turkey with a bow. It made me feel much better. I guess it depends on the man that you hunt with and how patient they are. Overall, hunting with men and being the only woman, has been both discouraging and a great experience. When I got my bear last week, all I could do was cry and say to my boyfriend, "I hope you're finally proud of me," to which he was. Hunting has been an emotional experience for myself. I believe in a larger group, with more women, it would even things out a bit and there would be less tension and you would feel more respect. You also have that support from fellow women who love doing what you like to do and they can also be a little more patient than a man, when traditionally this is a "man's thing." I am for co-ed camps, I just need to find more women who would hunt with me and my boyfriend and his friends. 

Andrew Taylor, Canadian Hunter Ambassador | @outdoormann86

I find it ironic & almost poetic that when asked to help contribute to a blog on co-ed hunt camps, I turn on Meat Eater and the co-ed turkey hunt.

Hunt camps once upon time were the “old boys” club where they got away from their wives for a week up north to chase deer or moose in the back 40 off the grid. Nowadays it’s moving away from that to more women being involved either with their partners or alone and more hunt camps are going away from membership requirements where being a man was the only way in to now being co-ed.

I find the biggest hurtles of co-ed hunt camps are that if the person who is going, no matter man or woman and not taking their partner, questions and almost jealousy arise. For me personally (and my wife for that matter) I don’t look at it that I am going away for a week and woman will be there but more so I am going away with people who share the same passion and interest for the outdoors that I do. Be it shared sleeping quarters ie. same cabin or not.

There should be no reason men and woman can’t share a camp for a week, you are going to hunt, fish, tell stories and make new friends and no thoughts of “what if’s” or “extra fun”. I know for the camps I have been to you end having long days scouting and hunting, laughs and drinks with dinner and passing out early to be up at as my wife so kindly puts it “the crack of stupid”.

I have honestly found some of the best people I have met and friends I have made are women who hunt and fish, honestly, I enjoy hunting with woman. There is no competition, they are calmer and take more time for the perfect shot. I think that is because they are afraid of the ridicule and scrutiny they will come under from men, (who apparently for some reason are the best, don’t make mistakes and know the most about hunting?) which in my opinion there needs to be more lifting each other up and teaching, rather then bringing each other down.

In today's society where hunters are coming under so much heat from people who don’t want us to hunt anymore and take our rights away, we should be coming together rather than having this divide of “men” and “women” hunters. At the end of the day we all share the same passion and shouldn’t worry about gender, because when it comes down to it, we all want the same in the end.

Since you are probably tired of reading about ramblings about men and woman hunters and co-ed hunt camps, I will end with this, we all share the same passion and want the same end result, chasing big game or waterfowl, sharing laughs and making new friends. Let’s end the stigma that it needs to be an all woman’s camp or all men’s camp and share passion together and make lifelong friends.

Grant Yeates, Canadian Hunter Ambassador | @tallgrasshunter

Canadian Huntress empowers, showcases and supports women in hunting and fishing.  When I saw the posts for the fishing trip to Temagami I thought how great an experience that will be.  Like-minded women experiencing nature at its finest in one of the most beautiful parts of northern Ontario.  I think that such events will only further the Canadian Huntress brand supporting women.

Now, being a person who does everything with my wife, we are each other's rock. I mean this woman slugs it out throughout the year helping me set up my hunts, yet she doesn't even hunt. We support each other through everything we do.  So with that said, if she did hunt, then I would definitely be interested in one or two co-ed events throughout the year.

I would just be cautious not to move away from the original goal of Canadian Huntress of showcasing, empowering and supporting women in Hunting and fishing which includes providing events for women.

Cassandra Claydon, Canadian Huntress Ambassador | @cassandraclaydon

I have been quite fortunate to have extremely positive experiences when it comes to co ed hunt camps. Luckily, I have not had a bad experience with those I have traveled with. 

However, I like to make sure that I ask questions before a trip and that includes asking the lodge/outfitter questions or your fellow hunting partners. Make sure you know who is in your group, if you're travelling with strangers or those who do not have as much experience make sure that they hunt safely - you do not want to be in a terrible situation in the bush with inexperienced hunters that could put anyone in danger. No question is a stupid question, the chance that someone else has a similar or the same question as you do of your trip is very likely. Don't be afraid to speak up - if you have concerns say something. 

I like to make lists and double check what I've packed for a hunting/fishing trip. That ensures you're prepared and you don't leave any essentials behind. Do your research! Make sure you know where you're going and what you need, that includes looking online and reading reviews - some travelers and hunters/fishers leave their tips and suggestions which can be extremely helpful!

Some essentials that I always pack that may seem a bit over the top to some are; non scented wet wipes (just because an outfitter/lodge claims to have all the "working" amenities available does not mean that when you show up at camp. Men may not care about hygiene or feeling clean when on the road!), I also like to bring eco-friendly 2-1 shampoo/conditioner or a shower bar from Lush (just in case your showers involve jumping in the lake), and extra tampons/pads (you feel for your fellow huntresses when mother nature calls at camp and they forget or are unprepared- I always make sure I bring something if someone else is in need).

All-female hunt camps are becoming more and more popular as more woman get into hunting.

It's not surprising that everyone I asked was all for co-ed hunt camps. I've seen comments on Facebook from people who are against them, mostly women. Reasons include - men drink and they believe hunt camps should be dry (yes, that was a real comment), they don't want their husbands around other women and women can't handle it. I've been to hunt camps where I'm the only woman, where there's an equal mix, and female only hunt camps and I'm treated the same way at all of them, with respect and I hope I never have a bad experience, but I know it happens.

Comment below your thought on co-ed hunt camps!

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