I just put down a deposit on my first guided elk hunt for this fall! I am so excited. Bison, black bear, and now my third hunt EVER…bull elk in Colorado. Bit by bit I’ve been acquiring hunting gear, as I was starting from scratch not long ago. Must haves first, my Remington 700, 30-06 rifle and Luepold scope. Nice rifle sling, range finder, and some Primos Trigger sticks, www.primos.com.
The first hunt I was fortunate enough to be at the Prois, www.proishunting.com, shop in Gunnison during a WOMA Retreat, www.thewoma.com, nearby and picked up some fantastic women’s RealTree camo pants and jacket. Great fit and feel. They did it right!
The second trip for bear, as it was being filmed by TNT Outdoor Explosion, www.tntoutdoorexplosion.com, and their other sponsor was Mossy Oak, I was now scrambling to find some Mossy Oak pattern clothing to wear. This entailed a little more searching on the internet as just about every major outdoor retailer carries Mossy Oak patterns, not as many carry women’s sizes. I thought maybe I can settle for a men’s small. Well, the smallest they carried was a men’s medium! I finally found some at Russell Outdoors that still carried Women’s Mossy Oak …and one of those items was now discontinued. I did find pants and jacket in my size, but it wasn’t my first choice at the time.
Now as I am preparing for my fall elk hunt, I need the blaze orange vest and hat. Hat no problem…vest is another story. I know I don’t need to be fashionable out there, but the first couple outdoor retailers I visited had 3XL and 2XL. Really? I finally found a men’s medium…again the smallest they had out. Took it home and it was huge even over my heavy camo jacket. Three retailer visits later, I ended up returning the vest. This running all over shopping is making me tired…I’m thinking I’m going to have to train hard this summer if I’m ever going to keep up on an elk hunt now! In my searching I came across one lone ladies vest. Nice but $160 was not getting me too excited here. Now my physical ailments have just been compounded with a headache! This vest hunt will continue at a later date I’m afraid.
Last week I returned from the NBS show in Fort Worth. While there I came across another vendor, Kenetrek Boots, www.kenetrek.com. They had some fantastic insulated women’s hunting boots. I had boots already, but not good quality insulated boots. I know if I’m going to enjoy my hunt, warmth is a big plus in my world! I spent a little time in their booth. He measured my foot and let me try on a pair. I’m sold! I was able to purchase my boots the following week and have had them out twice so far. Very comfortable. He suggested I put about 30 miles on them before the actual hunt to break them in. Plenty of bike trails close to the house and as the temps warm up a bit, I can hit the trails in the foothills by Fort Collins. I’m determined to be in shape and have comfortable boots!
Gloves: I have some “youth” hunting mitten/gloves that aren’t too warm. I found plenty of men’s huge gloves….which is ok if I don’t have to actually handle a rifle or use the reins on the horse I’ll be riding in on for the hunt….gee two things that may be slightly critical. I did come across another vendor, Manzella www.manzella.com. At the end of the show when I had a little time to look around, I stopped in his booth and noticed he had only men’s large sizes in his booth. I spoke with him a few moments and shared my plans for this fall. He remembered and at the next trade show he brought over 2 pair of women’s gloves for me to try! Outstanding! My fingers actually fill in the gloves! I can be functional with these. Such a little thing, but it means a lot to have fit and functionality for hunting.
While I am piecing together my clothing, the outfitter sent a checklist: minimum 0 degree sleeping bag. I thinking if he is suggesting 0 degree bag for his usual big burly hunters, -30 degree bag is going to be my minimum to stay warm at night! I found one online at MidwayUSA, www.midwayusa.com. It delivered this past week and my gosh, am I glad horses are packing us in! This is huge! Definitely not your backpacking size bag; very toasty though! Along with this, I am taking an insulated foam pad to put beneath the bag on the cot. This will keep the cold air from permeating through.
I have one more item to get, a good hunting pack. I have my eye on a Badlands pack model 2200. It has the hydration pack available and the gun pouch for the butt of your rifle when strapping it to your pack.
I’m more fortunate than the average person. Working the trade shows in the industry, I am able to at least see what is available for women. Granted it is still somewhat limited, but the women’s market is definitely growing. Don’t give up and settle for the men’s clothing that doesn’t fit! A little time researching and you will find what works best for you. Really, it has to be better than the men’s 2XL and 3XL’s adorning all the local retailers racks!