Man, do we have some doves this year, piles of them roosting in roadside trees and feeding in the recently harvested wheat and lentil fields just outside town. So, after I got thoroughly skunked on my first prairie grouse hunt of the year, I sought—and found—sweet consolation in a quick limit of fleet doves.
I could have taken my bounty into the house and cleaned all those birds on the counter. Or I could have used a workbench in the barn. But instead, I turned to only of my oldest friends and most reliable horizontal surfaces in my world: the battered tailgate of my 1994 Toyota pickup.
I’m not especially “woke” in the contemporary term, meaning hyper-aware of the inequities of our culture. But I’d like to think that I’m sensitive to the things that divide us, and more interested in working on ways to unite Americans rather than ways that segment and differentiate us.
As a writer, I’m also aware of the power of language to perpetuate divisions and either include or exclude people based on terms. Take the gender-specific term “man.” As in, “anchorman,” or “midshipman,” terms that originated around the reality that only men were involved in the tasks described. That’s happily not the case any longer, but our terms take time to catch up with the times.
Which is why I think it’s time to rethink our use of the term “sportsman” to describe hunters, anglers, and other members of this outdoor-loving tribe to which I happily belong. I have a teenaged daughter who is every bit as capable in the field as any adult man I know, and while she’s never once balked at or mentioned that the term “sportsman” excludes her, as her father, I don’t think it describes her adequately. Several of my buddies in my hometown started a conservation organization a couple years back. We call ourselves “Hi-Line Sportsmen,” but the most active and capable members of the club are women, and I don’t want our name to give the idea to a girl or woman that they’re not welcome to join us.
The origins of the term “sportsman” go back to the early 1700s, as the notion of hunting and fishing for recreation and enjoyment started to displace the idea of both activities as ways to prevent starvation. And the code of conduct that governed the activities gave rise to another term: “sportsmanship.”
I’d hate to abandon that notion that hunting and fishing has a higher calling, but I’m casting about, as it were, for another term to describe all of us as well as what we do. I suppose we could settle on the unsatisfyingly bland term “sportsperson,” but that seems lazy to me. Or maybe we’re “sports,” but that term seems sort of flimsy and frivolous and doesn’t get at the live-taking (and life-giving) gravity of what we do.
I’m gravitating to the term “chaser,” which borrows from an even older tradition, a gender-neutral Middle English word that describes our pursuit of wild animals, and echoes the French term for hunter: “chasseur.” It doesn’t quite describe our pursuit of fish, but it gets closer than another candidate: “stalker.”
Or maybe we look for a term that describes where we exercise our inclination to hunt and fish: outside.
Are we “outies,” like a collective belly button? Or are we “outsters,” which might also describe a fringe political party?
I’d love to hear from you. Can you propose a term that is inclusive, descriptive, and durable enough to last longer than this current political moment?
My longtime friend Bud came through town the other day, on his way home with an 8-week-old pointer riding shotgun. We greeted the pup like a new member of our extended family, which in many ways he is, and will become.
As I visited with Bud, talk turned to all the other dogs that have shared our lives, and I was a little surprised to recall all the firsts that occurred in Bud’s company: my first tundra swan; my first successive limits of Hungarian partridges; my first hunting dog, a rescue Lab cross who hid under my bed the first time she saw a gun but developed into a talented retriever of anything with wings and a cackle, thanks in part to Bud’s encouragement.
A few years ago, Josh invited a neighbor who had never hunted before to join him on the family place. The mentoring relationship stuck, and the neighbor became an accomplished hunter. Then last year, the neighbor showed up with his four kids. Could Josh please teach them how to hunt, he asked?
If you’re a sportsman or woman there’s a 59% chance you received a gift card to Cabela’s or Bass Pro and if you didn’t there’s probably a 98% chance you have an old one sitting around that you’ve totally forgotten about from previous years. Love em or hate em, the money is spent and you’re stuck with some decisions to make. Luckily for you we compiled some of our favorite items to redeem gift cards for.
Have you noticed how the outdoor industry has become a little overwhelming?
While it’s great that the evolution of our gear has given us the ability to confidently stretch out to further distances and push ourselves into more treacherous situations. What about the average sportsmen that’s just looking to throw on a jacket from the closet, pick up an affordable rifle, load it with quality ammo off the shelf and go enjoy their time in the field chasing game? Even-more-so, what about the new hunter or kid that doesn’t have much experience and just needs something simple that works?Continue reading Powderhook’s New Hunter Holiday Gift Guide→
ATHENS, GA (September 7, 2017) – The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is pleased to announce its newly improved 2017 Deer Tracker app. The app is available completely free of charge on both Android and Apple devices thanks to sponsorship by leading deer hunting brands, including Fusion Ammunition, Cabela’s, QDMA, and Powderhook.
Users of QDMA’s Deer Tracker app will find a variety of features focused on getting the information they need to have a better day in the field, including reports of deer activity in their area, public land maps, harvest reports, and more. Additionally, hunters can now estimate the score of deer in photos, receive push notifications for areas they might hunt, and view trends on an interactive heat map. Continue reading QDMA Releases Improved 2017 Deer Tracker App→
CABELA’S PARTNERS WITH POWDERHOOK ON INNOVATIVE RETAIL EXPERIENCE
When nerds and retailers come together, customers win.
Two Nebraska-based outdoor companies have come together on an innovative in-store experience coined “Digital Trailheads,” a new tool designed to help customers find local resources and experience the outdoors like never before. Digital Trailheads feature intense 360-degree “virtual reality” content showcasing Cabela’s Ambassadors pushing products to their limit, along with maps and local resources designed to help customers find places to go. The project will be unveiled at the grand opening of Cabela’s El Paso, TX, and Albuquerque, NM store locations in mid-September.
I was born and raised on a farm in North Dakota. When I was 15 years old I was in a hunting accident that left me paralyzed. I am a C4-5 quadriplegic. I graduated from North Dakota State University in 2002. Started hunting again when I was 19. I have a crossbow mount and a rifle/shotgun mount that can be attached to my electric wheelchair. I also fish with an electric reel that can be mounted to my chair. I am president of my local wildlife club, active in summer baseball program and write as much as possible about my activities. Hoping some of my ideas can help others get out and enjoy the outdoors.
Sad to say, in every hunting season, in every state there are always hunting accidents that involve shooting of another in a hunting party. I know this all too well, I am one of the statistics. On December 28, 1994 my life would change forever after my own hunting accident.
During Christmas break of that year we had wrestling practice once a day, usually in the mornings and after that a couple buddies and I would go trudging through the snow looking for deer with our bows. Northeast of my hometown in the “Hartford Valley” there was always a big group of deer that wintered there. We would spend hours pushing deer back and forth but no one ever got a real good shot at any deer. Continue reading Improvise, Adapt & Overcome→
Outdoor recruitment, retention, reactivation and access from the creators of Powderhook.com