Does Your Spouse Hunt with You?

woman with mule deer buckWhen my neighbor saw my wife and I returning from a day in the field, he was surprised to learn she goes hunting with me. He told us his wife never hunts with him.

I teased him and asked if he actually asked her to go and he assured me he did. But I assume he knew she would not hunt with him before they were married. Young people, beware the boy or girl that doesn’t have a pair of hiking boots.

We’ve all seen the TV shows where the guys make a joke out of taking their wives hunting or fishing. Those women were obviously out of place and constantly complained and deliberately made noise at the worst time.

We’ve also all heard the jokes. “You take your wife hunting? Do you mean in the same tree-stand? What would you want do that for?” The same jokes could be made about some men.

I admit I am tempted to make fun when someone (male or female) cries about getting their shoes dirty or breaks a nail. I actually had a college student cry during a short “field trip” because she got her shoes muddy.

But I don’t want to hear that crap about women not being able to do certain things. Most women don’t hunt, but just watch Liz Cavalier and her daughter Jessica (Swamp People on the History Channel), drag a big gator into the boat, then tell me women can’t hunt or fish.

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1.5 Million Women in U.S. do Hunt

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 only 13.7 million people (12%) in the U.S. hunt and 33.1 million people (28%) fish. Only 1.5 million (11%) of all hunters in the U.S. were women and 8.9 million (27%) of anglers were women. There are no data about the proportion of women that tag along on hunting and fishing trips without buying licenses, but that would certainly make the numbers higher.

There are lots of guys that wish their gals hunted and fished with them and I know some women that wished their men hunted and fished with them too. It seems to me if something were that important to you, it would be a high priority to make sure your future spouse shared your passion for those activities.

Think about how much stress would be removed from a relationship if your spouse hunted or fished with you. Instead of despising the amount money you invest and the time you spend away from her/him and the family, they will be a willing participant.

They will understand why you need a rangefinder or a lighter fly rod and maybe even buy one for themselves. But if you have already gone down that path, no sense in trading in a spouse that doesn’t hunt for another that does. It will probably take less effort to teach the one you already have than to find a new one.

Taking any person into the outdoors that is not used to doing outdoor things will be a challenge. Fathers, mothers, uncles and grandfathers get to do the easy part by recruiting the next generation of kids. Most kids can’t wait to go hunting or fishing, so they are optimistic because many want to go and do what Dad, Mom, Uncle Joe and Grandpa do. They may not have negative attitudes about outdoors experiences because they haven’t had any bad outdoor experiences yet.

Negative Outdoor Experiences

The older people are, the higher the probably they have had negative experiences. By negative experiences, I mean they got too hot, too cold, muddy, tired, hungry, they tripped, they fell down, got scratched by briars, “eaten alive” by bugs, got scared by a snake or large mammalian predators (whether actually seen or not) or they got lost or were afraid of getting lost. I am sure there are more.

Convincing people that have had bad experiences to do things outdoors will be more challenging. Let’s face it, most people today think they are “roughing it” when they light the grill or the fire pit in the backyard. Heaven help us if someone has to pee in the woods. And these are people we care about.

As people that do love the outdoors, we have experienced many of those bad situations, conditions and feelings, and we can’t wait to go back for more because we are willing to pay the price because we know what the payoffs can be.

My Wife was an Unlikely Outdoors Woman

My wife was already an outdoor person before I met her. She had never shot a gun before, so she did not hunt, but she did fish, hike and camp, so getting her to go hunting with me was not as hard as some people. But based on her background, it was very unlikely that she became an outdoors woman. She grew up in a large city in New Jersey. The same exit Tony Soprano drove past on the way to “office”. Yes, the one with the oil refineries. I still marvel at how she became interested in outdoor activities without any guidance from her family.

She started going outdoors as a teenager after she learned to drive. She started by visiting State Parks and Wildlife Refuges and eventually volunteered to help build and maintain trails. She went to college and learned about birds and wildlife and field biology skills. I met her after she had moved to the West and got a field job doing wildlife surveys.

She likes to go hunting with me, but so far she has never carried a gun because she won’t take the hunter safety program. That’s her choice and I don’t push it anymore, but feel certain that she would take the course if she had a friend to take it with her.

I always ask if she wants to go hunting and she goes with me about half the time. Of course it changes the hunt when she tags along. Mainly because one person can move faster and makes less noise, less movement and less scent than two people, but on the positive side, four eyes and ears are always better than two.

My wife is a trooper. We hike, scout and hunt for mule deer, elk and grouse on public land in the Inter-mountain West, which means lots of walking in rough country. She never complains about being too cold and the only time she ever complained about the terrain was after she sprained her ankle. Despite my offer to quit and go back to the truck, she stuck it out the rest of the day, even after we had to drop straight off a very steep 1:1 grade. And because she never quits, we have been able to share some amazing experiences.

Don’t Shush Me

The only negative thing about hunting with my wife was she hated it when I “shushed” her for making noise during our first few hunts. I have tried to learn to shush without attitude, but she has learned not to make noise, so problem solved. She turned the tables and “shushed” me during our elk hunt in October (2014) and I am glad she did.

So how do we teach our “city folk” spouses and friends to actually enjoy and appreciate the outdoors like we do?

Read More

I am interested in hearing from all of you that hunt or fish with your spouses or wish that you did.

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 Photo courtesy of gaby53mt at flickr


  1. My problem is, I cannot get my husband to go hunting WITH ME. We have 4 boys and I am the one that takes the boys hunting and shooting as well as enjoying and participating in sports of any sort. He’s a man who likes to work worth his hands. Art, music, carpentry, etc. Am I just going to have to accept he is not an outdoor type? Help!

    • Yes Stephanie, I hear more men complaining that their wives won’t hunt with them. But just like their wives, you probably knew your husband was not an outdoor guy. Good on you for taking the boys shooting and hunting.

      I have an old friend (female) that deer hunts, but her husband does not. She met others that are now her hunting buddies. I am sure there are people out there you and your boys can hunt with. There are online places (search for find a hunting buddy), but your area probably has a hunt club or a shooting range where you can meet people.

      You can learn a lot on your own, but new friends can increase you hunting knowledge and expand your horizons.

      But yes, you just have to accept your husband is not the outdoor type. Maybe you can bring home a wild game dinner and he can cook it up for you.

  2. Alisha W says

    I’m preparing for my husband and my first hunt together currently ? I grew up hunting deer and turkey in Texas with my dad. My husband is like your wife, he is outdoorsy but hasn’t hunted before. We live in Utah and are going on our first Elk hunt this fall. So it’s a bit of a new experience for both of us. I haven’t hunted in the North or hunted elk before and he hasn’t ever hunted, but he knows the terrain! I’m super excited, and I’m loving on the tips and info on your blog! Thank you!

    • I love it. The best advice I can give you is to to hunt at least ¼ mile off the roads and always be ready. Also, work hard to get close and don’t be tempted to take long shots. Your rifle and your level of practice will determine that distance. You and your husband can pack out an elk.

      I’m getting excited too. I didn’t draw a limited entry tag, so I will be hunting the general elk season with everyone else. I did draw a muzzleloader mule deer buck tag and a December cow elk tag, so hoping to fill our freezer with organic, browse fed, free range, mountain grown mule deer and elk.

  3. Joanna Griffin says

    I just got my hunting license and I have been learning the crossbow. It’s bow season now and we have been out 4 times. My husband is really teaching me a lot. I hope someday he gets to go on a big hunt, like Elk. He really loves to hunt and fish. We are going to get kayaks next so we can fish together next year.

  4. Stacy Marlow says

    Yes my husband ( Kevin Marlow )and I ( Stacy Marlow ) hunt together , fish together , we own our business and we work side by side together , we love it I think if more couples done more together it would be less divorces in the world . So get your partner and go to the woods . Thanks K&S Welding Service LLC

  5. Women hunter says

    I am just starting filings for divorce from my husband over hunting. To start off he lied to me about how important hunting was and about how much he knew. He knew how to handle a gun and knew what a deer looked like and that was about as far as that went. I have had to fight with him to go hunting or fishing as he would rather just hermit in front of his desktop playing world of warcraft. Cant be bothered to plan anything. It is a total fight to persuade him that we need new hunting pants or optics. Or that it is time to replace broken gear. I plan the entire supply list for camp. He complains about loading stuff up. He doesn’t help pack much. Doesn’t pack what I ask when he finally gives in from me nagging to help. Refuses to watch hunting videos to learn how to be a better hunter. I have actually got him to half assed watch some videos with me. Doesn’t learn. In one ear out the other. Didnt practice target shooting in his spare time with rifle or bow. I get stuck being the caller because he cant even blow a cow call right 80% of the time. He has no clue how to put on pressure or when to say little. This guy is the worst hunting partner. Stops to poop all the time. Wants to argue. Forgets everything. Makes us late at times so we dont get to a spot first. Never says he is sorry for not getting up earlier so he could get the pooping done before leaving time. Doesn’t dress in layers then complains about be cold or wet. Complains more. I have put so many elk in front of this guy and trophy elk. He just sits there and does something wrong and throws it away. Doesn’t have his bow drawn. Doesn’t sit where I said to. Instead goes and sits upwind where I told him the elk was going to come. Gets winded and spoils a perfect opportunity. Send him in to stalk onto a hung up bull and somehow ends up clear up on the other mountain over 700yards away from where the elk is. Trips over rocks and gets mad. Throws big rock and scares all the elk off I planned on hunting. Thunder of hooves running away. Freezes in danger leaving me to take care of predators. We got surrounded by wolves an he just sits there. I had to go to him and pick up our Montana decoys and say hey we better get out. He was just sitting there frozen. Doesn’t come to aid when called. I had a mountain lion in thick cover above me so I call him and he takes his sweet time walks right past it. Acts pissy that he had to walk up the hill. I tell him there is a cat in the bushes and he picks up a rock and tosses it up. I wanted him to have my back so I could go into shoot it. Rock he tossed didn’t scare it away but now it has repositioned making it so I have to climb up to its level. When I ask for him to spot me he worries about me shooting him if it jumps on him…I am like what?!! I am the one going in to face a mountain lion in the bush with a bow? This season after him ruining every attempt archery elk hunting I finally said you have had enough turns this time it is my turn. I hear a bugle. He disagrees with me where I heard it. Tries to start an argument. I refuse to give in to listening to his drivel. I start going up the mountain. He stays down at the bottom blowing his crap cow call over and over. I just ignore him and proceed on an 800yrd climb. Use terrain and what little cover there was to get below the bench the bull was on. 3 well timed news in response to the bull advertising. He came right in where I wanted him and drilled him with a solid frontal. This bull sprayed blood and darn near went down where he stood. K.O. it took me over a half hour to even get my husband to come up to see what happened. Complained about having to help me butcher this elk. Having a fit about the yellowjackets. Yeah there was like 10000 yellowjackets hungry for flesh. I took the stings like a honey badger while he complains he might be allergic. He is not. He has been stung a few times and never no worse for wear. Just making a great experience miserable. I cant yell at him or he would have just walked off and left me to try to pack by myself. I am partially disabled and I am not supposed to lift more than 15lbs. I would kill myself to try to pack out an elk. I spent 3months this spring summer in physical therapy 3x a week just to get my shoulder in shape after I dislocated it and tore my rotator cuff. Things were rocky before this trip. He just acted jealous and resentful over me just going in and getting it done cause I was tired of messing around with him ruining every hunt I planned out and scaring the elk away. A lot of men would love to have a wife that could put a man within kill range of an elk 10 days in a row. Time for me to file while I cut up an entire bull by myself. This man is not a willing partner. He is a pain in the a.

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