Female hunter-only whitetail hunts: one of my favorite trips of the year!
Each year, we make the annual pilgrimage to Double B Outfitters for our ladies-only whitetail hunts. These hunts typically start out like this:
Me: “I have six spots for the annual Prois/Double B whitetail hunt. Is anyone interested?”
Friends: “I’m IN!”
Me: “Do you want any specifics before you commit?”
And just like that, the hunts fill within a few hours. This crazy group of ladies may vary a bit from year to year, but the results are always the same: great hunting, great camaraderie and stories that can never be repeated. Ever.
We started doing ladies-only hunting trips five years ago after I realized whenever I would attend a hunt without my husband in a mixed group, it was just rather uncomfortable for everyone involved. In all honesty, it can be awkward being the only woman/women hunter in a group of men. While most men are happy to have a woman in camp, there will always be one who makes it very uncomfortable. Additionally, the men often book their hunts assuming women will not be present, and whether it’s right or wrong, that can make them uncomfortable and myself, in turn, uncomfortable. Thus we started arranging our own hunts. We had no idea how life changing this decision would be.
We immediately found that our ladies-only hunting trips brought together like-minded female hunters who shared similar passions. We found the environment to be fun, supportive and inspiring. Women who have never hunted before have even come on these hunts and have left in tears because they finally “found their tribe.”
We arrange 2-3 hunts annually and typically announce them on our social media sites and regular contacts. We find the hunts typically fill within a week or so. We have done varying offerings including hog hunts, turkey hunts, whitetail hunts, caribou hunts and alligator hunts, and we’re so excited to expand our ladies-only hunts over the next year.
This year marked our third annual whitetail hunt. We converged on an outlying ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas. Seven wild women with the common goal of harvesting quality management bucks which are abundant at the Double B.
Luckily, the guides of the Double B are very familiar with the Prois ladies…and I use that term loosely. As we all arrived, the air was filled with cackling, crude jokes and hugs. And just a disclaimer- when it comes to “your mom jokes,” your mom is not really YOUR mom, just a metaphorical mom. We have such a great comfort level not only with each other but also with the crew at Double B – we’re essentially family.
This year’s hunt was in a new location from previous years, and the management bucks in the area were absolutely incredible. This was a target rich environment as we could hunt hogs and coyotes as well. This all added to the fun of the hunt as there were many different opportunities and there had been little human traffic rolling through this land.
My own hunt started out early in the morning with Double B owner Greg Badgett. He had a very nice 8 point on camera that he had his eye on for me. This buck was a heavyweight with a lot of height, and he was old. We hit the stand in the dark and waited. Just at daybreak that buck worked his way into range with two does. We decided to let him settle in and get comfortable before getting set up for a shot. At that moment, he winded us and beat a hasty retreat. Just like that. Gone. But of course, hunting should never be THAT easy! We sat the stand waiting for him to work back when a gorgeous trophy ten-point worked his way into range. As I was after a management buck, I got the opportunity to watch this grand old man for a half hour. We decided to wait it out until late morning. Interestingly, as we were literally out of the blind and on the ladder, along came another trophy ten point buck. Of course, this meant we had to stand awkwardly still on the ladder. Both of us. Yeah. Picture that.
Needless to say, my eight point never returned that day despite the fact I decided to sit the stand without leaving the entire day. And by entire day I mean dark to dark. For a restless person like myself, this meant that my guide left, drove back by the stand and threw a lunch at me and left. I whittled away the time watching blue quail (which are like little cartoon characters), doing lunges in the blind, mouth breathing and collecting all the dead wasps I killed. (23 if you were wondering) Perhaps tomorrow.
While I continued to show up for my date with that buck, he apparently never got the memo and failed to show up again after two days. During those days I saw the ten point bucks NUMEROUS times. It was like some sort of torture the likes I had never experienced! I would get excited when I would hear a buck work his way in, then see a ten point trophy buck and become disappointed and say, “Damn. It’s just another ten pointer.” Then giggle at the ridiculousness of it.
The last night of the hunt we decided to head to a different area. The blind sat 205 yards from the feeder and there had been some nice management bucks on camera in the area. We climbed in and started glassing. About an hour into the hunt we saw a buck start to work his way into the fray. I couldn’t make this up if I wanted…it was another trophy ten pointer. And he was in no hurry to go anywhere. So, essentially he just sat there and tortured me with his presence. I personally believe a root canal would be preferable.
Not long before dusk, a nice eight point worked his way into the area. Both he and the 10 pointer worked their way around feeding. It really was spectacular to watch them. As the eight eased his way into a good position, Greg gave the word to fire when ready. I hit the safety and leveled off a shot. He dropped immediately. I, of course, was pushing Greg out of the way to get out the door at which time he grabbed me by the scruff of the neck to sit still and wait for the ten pointer to leave the area. Which he refused to do. Of course, these ten point bucks had taunted me for three days so why would they stop now? The larger buck continued to circle the downed buck, sniff him, nose the air and feed. We waited him out about 15 minutes until he worked his way back out into the fray. Finally.
This was a lovely buck and well worth the wait.
Back at camp, the ladies were all having great luck. We pulled some amazing management bucks from the area. Actually, these were the highest quality management bucks I had personally ever seen.
We commenced with our nightly routines of Cards Against Humanity, cocktails and Spirit Cards. During these hunts we forge friendships of a lifetime. The laughs never cease, the jokes just get worse and there is such a great non-competitive vibe that is hard to find in any other hunts. These ladies are some of my very best friends.
Now, for Texas whitetail hunts I prefer to use a .300. They have plenty of knockdown power should you need to stretch out a shot that is a bit further out than the typically ‘less than 100 yard’ stand set-ups. I used my .300 with a Zeiss tactical scope. I love this combination and use it for most of my big game hunting from whitetail, to mule deer to big horn sheep. I have even used this combination for hunting in Africa.
With a guided whitetail hunt, there is less gear requirement than a do it yourself hunt in the back-country. I prefer Maven binoculars for all of my hunting. Each pair of Maven’s are custom built by the buyer and the optics are exceptional. I prefer minimal gear when I hunt as I am lazy and just don’t want to carry it. No lie. I pack a range finder, knives, head lamp, and snacks. Note I don’t pack water because I don’t want to have to leave the stand to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, I come home from Texas whitetail hunts quite dehydrated. Quite dehydrated.
I am a huge proponent of gathering as much from an animal as possible. With a whitetail, I prefer the following:
- Mount- I prefer the classic elegance of Europeans but everyone is different.
- I request all possible meat. I travel with multiple coolers to accommodate this. I will dry ice the meat until I can get it to our local processor. On many hunts you can use a processor that is local to the outfitter and have it shipped. I simply prefer to use our processor because I know how the meat will be handled. And I am cheap. I don’t want to pay shipping .
- If there is no damage to the hide and your guide is willing, I like the option of being able to have the backskin of the hide. Once tanned, these hides make stunning throw pillows.
- Organ meats. I don’t typically take organ meats as we quarter our animals rather than gut them. That said, it is my goal to start utilizing the hearts when they are intact.
With that, another ladies-only whitetail hunt is in the books. Until next year, of course.
Kirstie Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women. (She also cleans the toilets there). While hunting is the great passion of her life, building the sisterhood of women hunters and shooters that surround Prois has been one of her greatest accomplishments to date. Prois has been the leading edge for women’s performance hunting gear for nine years and running. Take pride in NOT being one of the guys.