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It’s time for macho hunters to make room

Although the allure of outdoor adventure travel will likely never again attain the popularity it once enjoyed during the backpacking boom of the 1970s, the outdoor industry remains vibrant and uniquely resilient.

In addition to such traditional markets as biking, hiking, boating, fishing and camping, it appears there will always be a number of new kids on the block, as evidenced by the growing popularity of such pursuits as paddleboarding, orientation sea kayaking, mountain biking and trail running. The options are seemingly unlimited, as there will always be something new under the sun.

The outdoor industry is finally getting around to catering to the fairer segment of the outdoor industry. Shooters can now find custom fit shotgun stocks, and female flyfishers will no longer be forced to purchase wading boots that are too tight, too sloppy or too big. It is tough enough to fight strong fish and slippery footing without having to slop around all day in a pair of ill-fitting waders.

While I am on the topic, congratulations go out to Rachael Finn, a well-known local flyfishing guide who has been working out of the Hungry Trout Fly shop for many years. Ms. Finn was recently honored by the American Museum of Flyfishing with the prestigious 2018 Izack Walton Award, for her her talents on the water and her outstanding service to the sport.

I suppose there couldn’t be a better segue to introduce the next topic, which is the ever-growing market for female guides, female instructors and appropriate female outdoor apparel.

For far too long, the outdoor industry has ignored the vast market that is available in catering to the needs of female hunters, anglers, and similarly minded adventurers. Rather than wearing ill-fitting vests, or handling a shotgun that simply does not fit, many female sports have simply given up on grouse hunting or fly fishing gear. Fortunately, there is now enough of a market for such items, and they have become more available.

I have witnessed the troubles female hunters have to deal with, especially when it comes to shotguns and bows.

Slowly but surely, the market will demand that such items are available for the average sportswomen. And when it finally happens, there are likely to be more than a few bruised egos.

While the macho ethic still presents an unspoken barrier among many traditionalists, it is about time to give up the ghost. Female hunters, anglers and similarly focused adventurers deserve a seat at the outdoor table, they have certainly earned it.

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