Hind Sight

Hind Sight is a project myself and a colleague have been working on for some time, with the support of the British Deer Society.

Neither Cathy or myself come from hunting or wildlife management backgrounds. We both found our way to deer stalking through our respective conservation and ecology based routes. But having found it, we both realise we love it and want to share the knowledge and skills we have accrued over the years.

A group of women discussing habitat monitoring

Women in deer stalking and deer management are scarcer than their male counterparts, hunting has been the last bastion of manliness for some time! But across the globe more and more women are picking up the rifle or shotgun, grabbing the dogs lead, donning their greens and heading to the hills and woods.

Personally, I think this is brilliant. It seems to stem, for a lot of women I’ve spoken to, from a desire to put food on the table, and to learn the skills to take care of themselves. I’ve also met a lot of women who, like myself, have gone from begin vegetarian or even vegan to hunting the occasional animal deer; wanting to be accountable for the meat on their plate and take responsibility for it.

Now we also know there is a lot of rubbish spouted about deer stalking online. The dawn of Facebook and forums and page after page of over-complicating the issue has led to a deluge of information, and for someone starting out, and I speak from experience, it is and can be daunting.

How do you know which rifle is best? What are the best clothes to buy? Best boots? How do you butcher a deer? (The guys in the Youtube clips all seem way too keen on sawing things up – you don’t actually need to have a saw anywhere near a deer carcasse when you’re butchering). How do you get started? And when all the people giving advice are guys, is what they’re saying applicable to you anyway?

Venison butchery

We had our first meeting in November 2019 and, on a serious note, what became apparent was that, while we all had met and worked with some great guys, nearly every woman in the room had been propositioned or made to feel uncomfortable by a man whilst out stalking at least once.

Guys, don’t do this.

What was also interesting were the number of women present who had been made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome by other women.

Ladies, don’t do this!

With this range of views and experiences, there was a consensus that a group or support network would be a great way to connect women who might otherwise be the only ones in their community who enjoyed and were interested in deer management.

What we aim to deliver through Hind Sight is an open and supportive environment for women interested in deer stalking, deer management, and managing habitats within the areas they stalk. Whether they have no experience or 50 years. We hope to run a few events each year, touching on different elements of the deer world – from ecology to cookery to range days to dog tracking, and I will advertise these on here and on social media (links at the bottom of the page).

A group of women watching a butchery demonstration. Image credit – G. Jolly

There’s a view from some that a group like this is exclusionary to men, and I want to flip this on its head straight away and say that instead of excluding you, we’re actually being inclusive for women – equipping them with knowledge, skills, and confidence to attend other ‘all hunter’ events. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a group like this, but we don’t live in an ideal world…so here we are.

If you have any questions or wish to get involved please use the form below.

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