We Should Support All Women, Unless They Disagree With Us

If you spend any time at all reading the news, you’ll see how our First Lady is treated.  The pro-immigration, open borders proponents, will mock her Slovenian accent.  The pro-sex feminists will call her a “whore” for having modeled underwear.  Those opposing the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice accused of high school indiscretions will hold signs that say, “Rape Melania.”  As this recent Op-Ed by Carrie Lukas points out, in spite of what they might say, certain folks aren’t interested in women’s equality, they’re interested in homogeny.  Any threat to that needs to be dealt with by any means necessary.

No matter the strides made by women over the last few decades in our society, women definitely take harder hits online than men.  This is especially true of women hunters.  Even this article in the Washington Post about the problem starts off with a critical barb in referring to her “Noah’s Ark of death”.  Most of the women mentioned in this article are women I have followed and admired for years.  Kendall Jones, Melissa Bachman and Eva Shockey are the type of role models I want for my daughter.  They’re hunters and conservationists, but they’re also wives, mothers, friends and Christians.  They’re women doing what they want to do, how they want to do it.  I was taught to believe that was the true point of the feminist movement of the 60’s and 70’s – to let women make their own choices. Unfortunately, it seems today that women making their own choices is only approved of when those choices are the same ones the critics would make.  

Sounds to me like these critics are telling women they’re out of line and need to get back in their place.  Funny how that works sometimes.

Ladies, you didn’t vote how you should have?  You must be racist or too weak to fight the patriarchy.  It’s definitely not possible you just made up your own mind because if you did, you’d have come to the exact same conclusions we did.

Ladies, you don’t support gun control? You must love to see the slaughter of innocent children at school every day.  Maybe you’d change your mind if your kid was murdered.  

Ladies, you like to put your own food on the table by hunting?  You’re sick. I should be carrying YOUR decapitated head in my bag.

Keep in mind that, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 3% of people in the United States identify as “vegan”.  So, 97% are consuming some animal products.  Roughly 5% of Americans identify as “vegetarians” which brings the meat-eating population to around 92% of America.  So, are the anti-hunters coming completely from those 8% or are there some lunatic hypocrites out there buying pork chops and condemning hunters? I think it is largely vegans, but there are some hypocrites out there as well (Ricky Gervais comes to mind here).

So, why does the anti-hunting crowd, who we know leans to the left, use sexism to attack female hunters while out of the other side of their mouth, they’re screaming “sexist!” at every man they disagree with?  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that every one of these women are attractive.  The anti-hunters are using the attractiveness of the female hunters to get their own clicks. It’s great for them that they can call Kendall Jones “former Texas cheerleader” or say “former beauty queen” Olivia Opre.  

Because it’s not about gender or race or orientation or any other group, it’s about control.  Controlling the narrative.  Controlling the actions of others.

I have been critical, as have others, of hunters posting a “grip n’ grin” photo because it lacks the proper context that would allow us to send the right message to non-hunters.  However, no one deserves to be threatened or have their families threatened.  Even the name calling shows a weakness and sickness in our society.  The fact that these folks go after women with a greater amount of vitriol because they expect women to conform to certain social roles shows just how backwards, bigoted and hateful these folks truly are.  If these people think it’s a woman’s right to have an abortion, then they damn sure should think it’s a woman’s right to feed her family however they see as the best way possible for them.  

I’m not standing up for these ladies because I’m a man and they’re women. Hell, each one of them can out shoot and out hunt me and are more than capable of taking care of themselves. I’m standing up for them because they’re the kind of people who would stand up for me.  I’m standing up for them because I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she can make her own decisions.  And quite frankly, we all should be standing up to bigotry and hate of all kinds, wherever we see it.  

Women, Masculinity and the Future of Hunting

If you pay attention to Hollywood and the Mainstream Media, you’ll know that right now, everything female is good and everything male is bad.  Well, that maybe an oversimplification but you know what I am getting at.  Just the other day, the University of Texas declared masculinity to be a mental illness. We’re at a strange time in our society and there’s definitely a culture war going on in America.  Much like every other topic to discuss, people want to make things simpler than they are, to put them in neat little boxes labeled “this” and “that” or “good” and “bad”.  Gender and hunting are no exception to this.  However, I feel like trying to simplify gender and hunting issues actually complicates them much more than need be.

It’s simple.  Women make great hunters.  Women have always been great hunters.

Okay, let me unpack this.  I won’t go into a great amount of detail about the history of women hunters because there’s a plethora of great stories out there for you to explore yourself. Whether it was in ancient Greek or Roman mythology, Celt or Nordic tribes or in the Wild West, there are countless examples of women hunters.  Just look at the Wikipedia page of hunting gods for examples to get you started.  

Just think about it simply.  Who provided food when men went off to war or left home to work as miners or railroad workers?  In the Wild West, who provided for food when the men died of disease?  The Wild West as a great example because any place where people were free from law, free from the pressures of “civilization” or the rule of the Church, women had more rights (because no one was infringing on their God given rights that they were born with).  Utah, long considered a very conservative state, gave women the right to vote a long time before women won their suffrage in other, “more civilized”, places.

But I digress.

The main reason hunting has been considered “masculine” in America is because traditionally men have been a large majority of the hunters and it was usually a set of skills handed down father to son out in the field while the women stayed home.  Hunting itself is neither masculine nor feminine, it’s human.  However, a boy’s one on one time with their dad is masculine, is healthy and odds are those boys learned a lot more about being a man during those hunts than they did about hunting.  That is why I still find that to be an important tradition and I believe we need strong men to raise boys in a way so that we will continue to have generations of strong men.  I am not attacking that at all, I am in 100% support of that and am committed to getting more young men into the outdoors.

So, what of me?  The lone man in a house with two women?  While my girls don’t go along on every hunt, we’re a hunting family.  Hunting is one of the many things we do together.  At our daughter’s age, it’s small game and fishing right now and when she’s older I’ll take them on turkey and big game hunts as well.  As far as I’m concerned nothing changes except the lessons we teach our daughter. I don’t need to teach her about being a man because she’s going to be a woman.  Her mother is doing an excellent job of teaching her how to be a great woman. I will teach her to hunt.  I will do my part as her father to teach her about being human because there is far more to learn outside than how to be a man. 

It’s of the utmost importance that we hunters take our daughters afield just as we would take our sons afield.  The future conservationists are just as likely, if not more likely, to be female than male.  It shouldn’t matter if that woman wears make up or doesn’t, or if she uses blaze pink or blaze orange, or if she wants to fish in a bikini or in waders.  All that matters is that she’s outdoors and we pass along our ethics and love for the wild.  Getting all wrapped up in tangential aspects of what a woman wears etc. is avoiding the most important thing; that women are a growing segment of the hunting community.

For those fathers who have sons, take them hunting, insert masculine traditions and rites of passage into your hunting trips.  Take your uncles, buddies or grandfather and have some male bonding, that’s awesome.  But if you have daughters, take them along too (and their mothers if they want to go), treat them the same, give your daughter her first beer or snort of whiskey when the time comes.  I promise you she’ll remember those times with her dad the rest of her life just like your son would.  

 

 

10 Questions With Mia Anstine

When I first started putting this project together, the first person I decided I wanted to speak to was Mia Anstine.  I’ve been following her on social media for about a year (ever since I read about her in Field & Stream) and she never ceases to amaze me with her passion and positivity.  She has a passion not only for wildlife, hunting and conservation, but a passion for life in general.  In a world of social media hate and negativity, her posts are positive and filled with love.  I couldn’t have been more excited or honored when she agreed to take time out of her very busy schedule (you’ll see all she does below) and answer ten very lengthy questions from yours truly.  Without inspiration from Mia, Steven Rinella, Randy Newberg and others, I would not be doing this.  Eternal thanks to Mia for getting in on the ground floor here at Mountain Climer!

 

  1. Let’s start with the basics.  Will you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, how you got involved in the outdoors, your favorite activities, etc.

I am a mentor. I’m a certified firearms and archery instructor as well as hunter education instructor. I strive to preserve our constitutional rights with a focus on freedom of religion and the right to bear arms. I work to continue traditions passed down from generations before with an emphasis on conservation.

I’m a freelance writer, podcast host, and guest at a variety of shows and publications, plus I’m a hunting guide.

I grew up in a small town in Colorado where my great-grandfather used to visit for annual hunting trips. My family moved there when I was a toddler. My father hunted to put food on the table and my mom grew a garden and taught me how to fish. I’ve pursued wild animals around the world and guide hunts in southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico for elk, mule deer, black bear, and Merriam’s turkey.

I am the first American woman, and of Latin descent, featured on the cover of Field & Stream magazine. Alongside 10 other women featured, we are “boots-on-the-ground” everyday women representatives of the many women who are making a difference in the outdoor and hunting industry.

I’m currently serving my second term on the Colorado Sportsman’s Roundtable committee. I’m a board member of my local SCI chapter. I’m a board member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association. I’m a lifetime NRA member, and a member of and support many conservation organizations.

Other Associations

I am a member of Safari Club International and the secretary for my local SCI chapter.

I am currently serving my second term on Colorado’s Sportsman’s Roundtable committee.

I am a board member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association.

I’m a lifetime National Rifle Association member.

I’m a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

I’m a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

I’m a member of Ducks Unlimited.

I’m a member of the Pope & Young Club.

I’m a member of the Colorado Bowhunter’s Association.

I’m a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

2.              What challenges, if any, did you face when you first started to hunt? What are some of the challenges you face today? What do you do to overcome those challenges?

It’s always a challenge to get up close and personal with a wild animal. Over the years I’ve learned techniques and tactics that help to get closer to free-ranging animals for a clear, ethical shot. Today the challenge has evolved a bit as the woods have become filled with more hunters and the animals have adapted to the hunting pressure. I’ve been working on my adaptation techniques. Time in the field allows a hunter to learn how to overcome the challenges and have a successful hunt.

3.              What was it that inspired you to start a website and create YouTube videos?

I used to write about my days guiding hunters and email them to my grandpa. When some of the hunters noticed I would type away every evening they wanted to know what I was doing. I told them and they wanted me to send the stories too. After some time I decided it would be more simple to put my writing on my website for them. This grew to what I do today.

4.              If you could describe it, what is it about being outdoors that really drives you?  Beyond culture, tradition, hunting for meat, etc., from a spiritual or emotional perspective, what does time in the wilderness bring to your life?

Getting outdoors is good for your health. Doctors are even prescribing outdoor time to their patients. The majority of the population lists getting rid of that spare tire as their top New Year’s resolution goal. The connection that we gain while we pursue wildlife is priceless and cannot be replicated by watching TV or movies. I love to explore, discover, and see what’s on the other side of the mountain. I’m fascinated by bear piles, elk musk, rubs, scraps, mushrooms, aspens, and everything I come across in the outdoors.

5.              As you know, hunting numbers are going down at a good pace and the media and college campuses are growing increasingly hostile to hunting, fishing, etc.  What do you wish more people knew about the outdoors and the outdoor lifestyle?  As a follow up to that, how can we get more girls involved in hunting and fishing?  Women are the largest growing segment for hunting but we’re working off of a really small base. 

I wish more people knew that the news doesn’t report about the outdoor programs that we’re putting into colleges. There are hunter ed classes. There are wildlife 101 classes. We are finding ways to connect to the young adults and let them know it’s okay that they grew up hunting, or that we’re here to help them if they never had the opportunity.

I wish people knew how that they are connected to the outdoors and that even though they’ve never gotten to plug in, the connection is there. When they finally get out to hike, fish, kayak, mountain bike, or hunt a primal instinct to their connecting with mother nature will be awakened.

People can get more people, including girls, involved in hunting by following what I and others are already doing. They can step up and teach hunter education. They can offer mentored hunts. They can volunteer for conservation organizations. The sky’s the limit when it comes to taking action and getting people, including girls, into hunting.

Women and men can look to hunting guides, mentors, and conservation officers for help with their start in hunting. Ask questions, book hunts, go with a mentor.

6.              What are some things that we as hunters can do to shine a positive light on what we do?  What are some things we should think twice about doing?  Or perhaps a better way to say it, is what does a good hunting ambassador look like?

Let your light shine and always recognize that YOU are a mentor. Someone is watching. Someone is learning from your actions. When it comes to hunting we have to always consider who is watching what we do. Whether it’s in the field, in town, at the sporting goods store, or on social media, people are watching.

Always consider the non-hunter in what you are doing. Non-hunters are the largest segment of our population. They are the ones who pass votes. They are the ones you need to win over. You may think that everyone likes the pictures of your dead animals. Do they? A good hunting ambassador will consider their audience before posting on social media.

Many non-hunters don’t have a problem with hunters pursuing animals for food but they don’t want to see it. They don’t want to see the blood and especially not the guts. A good hunting ambassador will clean the blood off their truck and their clothing before they go to town. A good hunting ambassador will have an immediate answer to the question “Why do you hunt.” The answer will encourage a non-hunter to vote in favor of maintaining hunting traditions.

7.              Is there an experience you could tell us about where you talked with a person who had never been exposed to hunting, perhaps they grew up in an urban area, and you were able to open their minds about it?  Not saying they had to go out and buy a rifle and a bunch of camo, but where you were able to educate them and explain things in a way they’d never heard before?  Conversely, has there ever been a time when an anti-hunter made you either change your mind or re-think an opinion?

I’ve had numerous conversations with people who don’t hunt and those who don’t understand hunting. I always work to inspire them. I don’t necessarily tell them the “need” to hunt. I always encourage them to ask me future questions. I always give them my contact information so they can get in touch.

I’ve met people who say they’ve followed my writing for years and one or two used to oppose hunting. Other than that, I don’t have much interaction with anti-hunters. If I receive a death threat on social media I document the incident and report the profile to the authorities. I don’t attempt to engage in irrational debates. Violence is never an answer.

8.              What do you think are the biggest issues or threats facing wildlife and hunting today?

There are numerous issues facing wildlife today. Get out and go to your sportsman’s roundtable meetings. Attend the public meetings offered by your Department of Natural Resources. Get involved with conservation organizations. I don’t mean become a member. I mean get involved. You’ll learn about all the work that is done and needs to be done. You’ll also see where the money goes. So many hunters complain about license fees. You need to become engaged to see where that money goes. Maintaining habitat, wildlife, hunting access, waterways, and more takes a lot of funding.

9.              If someone was interested in learning about hunting, shooting, archery etc. but didn’t have anyone in their life to teach them, what would you suggest to them?

You can always follow my website, YouTube, and social media outlets. If you don’t see answers to your questions, message me and ask. I’ll be happy to help. After that, look for mentors in your area. You can find these at Hunter Education class. You can find them via conservation officers. You can join shooting clubs. You can partake in group hunting events. You can hire a hunting guide. In all of these scenarios, ask them to teach you.

10.           Lastly, a favorite book and your favorite adult beverage?

My favorite book is the Bible. It’s the first thing I read every day. Adult beverage? I rarely drink beverages with alcohol so I’d have to list the one cup of coffee, which I sip as I read in the morning, as my adult beverage.

 

Find Mia online at https://miaanstine.com and all the usual social media platforms.