Ladies Hunting Camp
This summer I attended Ladies Hunting Camp in La Pine, Oregon. I had seen it advertised online by several of my acquaintances and I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to connect with other women who shared my passion for hunting and the outdoors. To be honest, I was a little nervous attending camp alone, but I was assured that once arriving at camp it would feel like a sisterhood, and that was exactly the case. I’ve since thought a lot about my experience at camp and I’ve come to the conclusion that if I wrote about every detail, I would surely have a novel afterwards. Because of this, I’ve decided to share just a few of my favorite parts of camp and I hope that one day you will experience, first hand, what makes Ladies Hunting Camp so awesome.
DIVERSITY. There was no one “type” of camper. It was a compilation of campers young and old, experienced and novice. Some came with best friends, some came as mothers and daughters, some brought their whole families along, and some traveled to camp solo, like myself. We all came from very different walks of life but we all joined together with one common passion, the outdoors. In today’s society, there are so many divisions among groups of people, even in the hunting community at times, but at camp this was not the case. It didn’t matter if you were a bow hunter, a rifle hunter or had never hunted a day in your life, we were all there to support one another and grow together. I arrived at camp with a tent and a sleeping bag and by the second day I was welcomed into a warm trailer with a bed to myself, a hot shower and fellowship with two other women, who I now consider great friends. Yes, the classes and the instruction were top-notch, but the relationships I formed at camp are part of what made camp so special to me.
WOMEN EMPOWERING WOMEN. Prior to arriving at camp, we signed up for a lengthy list of classes to attend including archery, shotgun, trailing hauling, orienteering and backcounty hunting just to name a few. Almost all of the classes were taught by WOMEN who were professionals in their field. There was no sense of fear or intimidation when taking the classes because the instructors were truly passionate about passing on their knowledge and helping empower each other. Have you ever seen women teaching each other how to tow flat bed trailers or skin an elk? Well you’ll see it at Ladies Hunting Camp! Every woman left camp feeling empowered in some way or another. I can’t wait to see the successes of my peers this fall when they are out in the field utilizing what they learned at camp.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE. You usually here this term in reference to raising kids, but organizing an event this big truly takes a village. There were countless volunteers working around the clock to make camp happen and I am extremely thankful for their support. There was a full-time cooking crew that prepared every meal and I’m not talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They fed us gourmet meals for breakfast lunch and dinner! Biscuits and gravy, smoked brisket, loaded salads – yes please! I was constantly thanking people because there were so many people helping! You just don’t see that everywhere you go these days. Now let’s talk about the sponsors. Camp wouldn’t happen without the abundant sponsors who give so generously. Weatherby donated firearms, Hornady donated ammunition, Leupold donated optics and the list goes on! I couldn’t possibly list everyone but there were probably close to 100 different sponsors. Bowtech, Cabelas, Benchmade, Mtn Ops, Bravo Manufacturing, Natures Paint… I really could go on and on. Together, the sponsors supplied products that filled swag bags for every participant, volunteered their staff at camp, and also supplied items that were raffled off at the conclusion of camp.
Lastly, this camp wouldn’t be what it is today without Randy and Candy Yow, the creators behind Ladies Hunting Camp. These two have hearts of gold and a huge passion for not only hunting but educating others so our future generations can continue the hunting heritage that we have been so blessed with. Just yesterday I watched a short film titled, “The Linguists”, released by Sitka Gear and I was completely inspired. Will Primos said something that really resonated within me, “if you teach someone to love something, they’ll want to protect it”. The Yow’s do this so well. They pour into so many people and their passion is contagious. I am so grateful my path led me to Ladies Hunting Camp and I hope it’s around for years to come so others can experience it.