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Barbara Baird: Neither a thug nor a warrior I be

Barbara Baird Contributor
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By Barbara Baird, Women’s Outdoor News

I am an American hunter. I am not a warrior. I am not a thug.

Contrary to what seems to be a huge marketing push these days in the outdoor world, to feature hunters as brave warriors and/or thugs, neither of these terms applies to why I hunt and frankly, it bothers me that this is the perception.

Recently, we ran a news ditty in about the surge in women hunting, and how some have attributed that to the “Sarah Palin” effect. My pal, Holly Heyser, aka NorCal Cazadora, a duck hunting enthusiast extraordinaire, picked up this news, too, and wrote about why this bothers her  – this whole notion of Sarah Palin representing women hunters – at her excellent blog. Basically, she believes that to equate Palin with hunting might be polarizing, and in some cases, not helping the cause.

Even less splashy, but out there and possibly in the subconscious of the estimated 60 percent of Americans who really could like or dislike the whole idea of hunting, is this notion that we must sell hunting as machismo. Especially when women are leading the hunting pack in numbers, where is that coming from? So, thank you marketing world … we see an introduction of warrior and thug brands.

Believe me, my pals and I know what warriors are … like Gretchen Steele, a photographer from Illinois that contributes to the Shoot to Thrill department here a the WON and also a carp fishing, field-dog testing, hunting “fool,” who is getting ready to bid her son goodbye as his Marine Corps unit prepares to head back on another deployment. She ain’t no warrior, but she raised one.

Or, Tammy Ballew … our Camo Mom, who is an accomplished hunter. Her son, and my son-in-law is a warrior and continues to drill one weekend a month with his Marine Corps unit, after his return in 2009 from Iraq.

And, closer to home, I lived with a warrior for several years as the military dictated where our family lived. There were many nights when the kids’ daddy wasn’t home for supper or bedtime stories because he was on duty somewhere in the world.

And, dearer to my heart these days, Baby Boy is a warrior in training at the Combat Engineer School at Ft. Lost in the Woods, Missouri. Just this week, he was incommunicado, as he spent three days in the hypothermic cold and rainy weather in the field – setting charges, learning to blow bridges and take down doors.

Baby Boy covered in clay after setting charges and learning to blow bridges. Submitted photo.

So, this notion of being a warrior because you throw a dang dead turkey over your shoulder, makes me sick.

And then, even worse, there’s the whole “thug” aspect. Take the new show, “Turkey Thugs,” described like this: “In a game built entirely upon stealth, silence and secrets, where hard facts and solid information run few and far between, often with no true help to be found, Mossy Oak Productions’ newest series delivers. Turkey Thugs separates the warriors from the wannabes and takes hunters new and old inside the minds of those most obsessed with the rites of spring.”

Oh, and there’s that word again, “warriors.”

Last time I checked, a thug was defined as a “violent person or criminal.”

Nice connotation and so appropriate, don’t you think, for associating a hunter as a thug? Especially in light of, what Holly wrote about in her blog, too, the fact that the antis are watching, but even more importantly …. Some folks just haven’t made up their minds yet about hunting, or swing back and forth.

Weekend warriors and turkey thugs are not promoting the concept that hunting is an American tradition, offered to a free society, and part of our efforts to promote conservation, eat healthy and get outdoors.

Is that too girly?

How would you promote hunting?


The WON, Women’s Outdoor News, click here.

Tags : hunter
Barbara Baird