Autumn 2016 Feature Story: Beyond “Shrinking and Pinking”

By on July 5, 2016

Story by Jodi Stemler

An excerpt from Beyond “Shrinking and Pinking”…My first hunting coat, a gift from my uncle, was made of camouflage cotton duck. I wore it with pride on my first rabbit and goose hunts. As a 10-year-old, I cared less that the coat came from the boys’ department than the fact that it marked my first official foray in the field. However, as I got older, things changed; or more accurately, I changed.

As an adult, I got a men’s upland vest that hung too loose in most places but too snug in others; when I tried to shoulder my gun, the stock would get caught in the gaping armhole. I had a pair of men’s small waxwear chaps that were so baggy they collected seeds and twigs rather than repelling them, and they made an awful ruckus when I hiked in the field. I’m not trying to look like a fashion model, but hunting gear needs to fit properly to work properly.

Products designed for women hunters are important to the future of hunting because women are one of the fastest growing segments of the industry. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 3.3 million women hunted in 2013, an increase of 85 percent in little more than a decade. Perhaps even more significant, women now make up 19 percent of all hunters, and the rate of women becoming new hunters is significantly higher than that of men.

Companies responded to the growth initially by marketing women’s hunting gear with the “shrink it and pink it” mentality – simply producing products designed for men in smaller sizes and adding pink somewhere on the product (or all over). Over time, companies have recognized this marketing does not necessarily win over the female hunter who wants technical gear to fit comfortably and function properly.

Over the past year, I’ve field-tested gear from some of the companies that have developed true women’s upland hunting lines.

Jodi’s picks are featured in the Autumn 2016 Issue. 

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