Meet Jade. She lives in Quebec and is a Victims Services Coordinator. She is a big microbrewery fan. She also loves to travel around the world and taste different kinds of beer. Hail to Porter, Stout and Brown Ale !
I came across Jade’s profile when she submitted a photo for one of my favorite women’s hunting groups and won cover photo for the month. She is an amazing woman with so much drive and so much will to both learn and teach. When I contacted her about participating in my blog she was extremely eager and excited.
Check out her story and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram! Jade, thank you again for sharing your story and inspiring with your passion for the outdoors.
As far as I can remember, I have always enjoyed walking and being outdoors. Even before the legal age for hunting, I was fascinated by the technique and the animals. I always knew that this was more than just a ”game” for me, it was a passion, a way of life.
To tell the truth, I can’t remember my first hunting experience (I was so young). But my first real experience as a hunter was a duck hunt at 13 with a 12-gauge (I was only 90 pounds then). I remember the power of the gun, the red (then blue) spots on my shoulder, and my first catch ever: a beautiful female duck! It was unfortunately my last and only duck hunt as I concentrated later on small game hunting for hare and partridge.
I mostly hunt with guns (.410, 30-06, and a .50 black powder) even though I have been using a crossbow for 4 years for deer season (to extend it). In the past 3 years, I have begun to share my passion with my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Olaf, with hare and partridge hunting.
I mainly hunt on our family land which is less and less game-filled with the years. Otherwise, I travel for turkey season (there is no turkey in my area), ptarmigan (they will be in the northern part of Quebec), bear and goose.
When I asked Jade if she had anyone that has really influenced her and her passion for hunting she said she had one simple answer: My dad. I have many fond memories of myself as a kid acting as a scout during multiple long hare hunts with him. He taught me everything about small game hunting. For the rest (deer, moose, bear, turkey, ptarmigan), I’m mostly self-taught with the help of some friends and a lot of books and documentaries.
I also asked Jade if she has a particular favorite animal to hunt. That’s a tough one. I would say, for now, ptarmigan. It’s everything that I love: observation, patience, movement and precise shoo-ng. I really love their mystical look and the taste of the meat which is more subtle than partridge.
My most memorable hunting experience was my first moose catch. My father and I are not long-time moose hunters. We had to learn everything with the help of books, the Internet, blogs, and tv shows. After 2 years without any harvest, we decided to use a new sector for the first morning of the 2015 moose season. After only a few minutes in the woods, I saw at a pretty close distance 3 female moose walking slowly one behind the other.
Without any hesitation, I aimed at the biggest one (there were no calves) and hit her perfectly. She made around 70 feet. I was SO proud. I now have a bracelet with the head of the bullet to remember each day that special moment with my dad.
In the future I would love to hunt mountain goats and bighorn sheep! I’m fascinated by long-distance hunting shots and the mountains’ settings.
I always ask women who participate in this project if they think that their experience in these sports differs from those of men, and if so what differences they see.
For a very long time, I did not consider that there was anything such as a “feminine” kind of hunt. For me, there were only hunters and huntresses. They were simply people in love with nature, its conservation, and this beautiful sport. My awareness is quite recent, I can even stick a date of no return: March 12, 2016.
This revelation took place while I was strolling, like every year, in the aisles of the Outdoor, Hunting, Fishing, and Camping Show in Quebec. While walking through the kiosks, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, an advertisement aimed at introducing women to hunting. The advertisement showed a camouflage fabric handbag with the following message: “Your spouse dreams about it? “. I was flabbergasted! Not that they were trying to recruit more women into this beautiful passion, women currently represent about 30% of hunters in Quebec, but that they were using a camo bag to represent us; to attract us.
I then realized that there was a “feminine way to hunt” or at least that the industry wanted to insinuate it, to define it.
First, I have always hunted with men (my father, my godfather, my cousins) and done things on my own. Very rarely have I felt that I was different from my hunting male companions or that they treated me differently. Yes, my first gun was a .410 because it was lighter and easier to handle on long small game outings and not because I was a girl (I was only 90 pounds then). Dress-wise, I used to have an old pair of green army pants and various sweaters depending on the temperature. Even in my hunting practice, I didn’t feel that I was different. I practiced it alone for a few years, putting on my snowshoes and cross-country skis in the winter, or my bike and my hiking shoes in the fall. Never did the fact of being alone or of being a woman prevent me from fulfilling myself in my sport. I never thought men’s hunting was different.
Very young, I learned that men and women were equals, thanks in particular to my mother. She participated in the Quebec Games in 1972, in precision shooting. She was one of the only women at the time. They nicknamed her Monica the Machine Gun. For me, it was THE normality. Younger, I had never really grasped the importance of this presence in this highly masculine domain.
It was only recently, with my introduction to big game hunting (and to social media), that I understood that being a women hunter brought its share of challenges and a certain way of thinking and experiencing hunting.
Let us think of practical elements such as clothing. Few companies offer clothes that are adapted to women and their physiology. I discovered this fact while shopping for my first pieces of camouflage in 2017 for big game hunting. I was disappointed to find that the offer was not as large as for men and often very expensive! In this context, I had the choice between making certain concessions (investing less in weapons or accessories) to have clothes designed for women (both in terms of cut and comfort) or choosing clothes that were often too large and bulky. Fortunately, more and more companies, such as Sitka, specialize in women’s clothing (by and for women), which suggests a diversification and democratization of these specialized garments. Although they remain expensive for the moment, these garments fit our feminine forms and provide unlimited comfort and manageability. It is also important to point out that this specialization of the feminine product extends to body products such as odorless soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers, as well as feminine hygiene products that make our life in the woods easier.
To me, it seems like women’s experience is more emotional than men’s (I no longer count the number of stories of women who cried in front of their harvested game) and that they often practice a more solitary experience. Many of them do not hesitate to go alone in their territories rather than on a “trip” with friends.
I currently write chronicles (in french) designed to share my experiences and my love of the outdoors and hunting. My goal is to demystify this passion and encourage people, mostly women, to try it with simple pieces of information.
Jade also has a great message to all women near and far who might be interested in getting into hunting, one that I can truly relate to. That is, do what you love, and have fun!
Don’t be afraid to try hunting. Hunting is mostly having a wonderful time in nature. My best advice is, to begin with, simple walks in the woods. Try to locate animals and learn their behavior, their environment, and surroundings. Exercise your eyes and ears to detect the clues of wildlife.
Keep in mind that harvesting is only a fraction of this experience. Not all hunting trips finish with meat. So as you begin your journey, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t find or catch any animal. Hunting is mostly patience and practice!
My main reason for hunting is to live a healthy life more connected with myself and the world around me. I firmly believe that our place on our planet is deeply rooted in the earth. This way of life for me is not only about meat gathering, it’s also deeply connected with the way nature can help me grow as a beper human. Every hunting session is a way for me to reroot myself, and think about what is truly important and my place in this big beautiful world.