Are women- and men-only turkey camps different? Even though I’ve often been the only woman in camp, I can’t truly understand what it’s like to be in a men’s-only camp because my sheer presence changes the dynamic of the camp. I’m sure the men in camp are more polite and reserved than they would be if I wasn’t there. I’m sure we ladies act a bit differently when a man is in camp as well.
Steve Hickoff, Realtree.com editor, and I had this discussion a while back and decided to come up with some stereotypical ideas about what goes on in the opposite-gender camps. We admit that these accusations and perceptions are sexist and clichéd, and we really don’t believe these ideas ourselves, but, hey, it makes for fun tongue-in-cheek banter.
See below for some stereotypical accusations. Do you think any of these ring true?
Men and Their Need-to-Kill Egos
Mallory: Some guys claim hunting is about the entire experience – about enjoying the nature and the camaraderie of camp – but actually, some men just aren’t happy unless they get a turkey. And that bird has to be bigger than your buddy’s and your hunt story has to be more impressive. I bet I could walk into a hunt camp full of men and know instantly which one hasn’t tagged out yet. He’s the one who’s all sullen and quiet, with a scowl on his face. We ladies want to kill birds too, but for us, it really is about the experience and camaraderie. Bagging a bird is just the icing on the cake.
Hickoff: True enough, Steph has the sullen part right about guys, no doubt. I’ve known guys who stalked around camp, skunked and birdless, making everybody pay for it. It’s even worse if he’s missed one – or two. The same guy is everybody’s buddy when he does finally kill one.
Women and Their Silliness
Hickoff: If there are women in camp, the atmosphere will sometimes change from serious tactical planning to kill a gobbler, to just sheer silly banter about nothing that has to do with hunting. Men will stand around baffled at all the mystifying jibber-jabber and giggling coming from where the women are sitting. It’s almost as if we’re hearing another language and don’t quite have the skills to hold our own.
Mallory: Sure, get a bunch of women together at camp and there will no doubt be moments of silliness. We like to have fun, and we’re not ashamed of that, but we know when it's time to get serious. You guys can get pretty silly too, although you just don’t use the term “silly” to describe the goofy things you guys do in camp.
Men and Their Gross Habits/Lack of Hygiene
Mallory: I’ve shared hunt camp with men on numerous occasions, and I know for a fact that some of you guys don’t bathe regularly when you’re away from home. OK, I get it. You think, “Why get all cleaned up when you’re just going to get out there and get dirty again?” I guess as long as the other fellas don’t mind the stench, it shouldn’t matter. Just make sure you scrub down before you go home to your wives and girlfriends. And, don’t get me started on the gastrointestinal noises you guys proudly produce and often turn into some sort of sick contest.
Hickoff: Guilty as charged. I plead for a merciful sentence. But just don’t make me shower more than once in turkey camp. And please remind me to do it before I fly home to my wife.
Women and Their Excessive Talking
Hickoff: Turkey hunting is serious business. It requires detailed scouting, strategy discussions, planning. Some women need to stop gabbing about things not related to hunting and focus on what’s important when fly-down time is just a daybreak away.
Mallory: We talk because we have a lot to say. Instead of sitting around a TV in camp, we use the time to catch up with one another or to get to know each other better. In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about turkey camp is the conversations I have with my camp mates. Those deep conversations often lead to lifelong friendships. And, we know when it's time to be quiet.
Men and Their Televisions
Mallory: If you’re not hunting, then you’re all sitting around the TV watching hunting shows ... at least that’s what men do in the camps I’ve shared with them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch an occasional hunting show as well, but you guys never turn the TV off. I’d much rather talk and “be silly” with my camp mates, than watch strangers hunt for hours on end.
Hickoff: True, if we’re not hunting, we like to talk about it, or watch others hunt on TV; including our friends on those shows. There’s nothing wrong with that. And by the way, women have their TV programs too. FYI, Sex and the City reruns have no place in turkey camp.
Women and Their Primping
Hickoff: Lipstick and blush are not required items in a turkey vest. Some of you girls waste precious time primping in the mornings before the hunt. Then again, most of you look far better than my male turkey hunting buds.
Mallory: Talk about a stereotypical assumption! Not all women primp in camp. Some simply get out of bed, throw some camo on and head out into the field. Others may choose to get all dolled up with coiffed hair and a complete face of makeup. Either way, it doesn’t matter. All that truly matters is that we women are hunting. Of course, no one should keep others waiting on them in the morning. If a woman is going to spend extra time on her hair and makeup, then she needs to get up earlier than the others. But, honestly, even though I fix my hair and put on a little bit of makeup before I go hunting in the morning, I often end up waiting on the guys in camp rather than vice versa.
Men and Their Immaturity
Mallory: Ya’ll say we can be silly, but sometimes you guys can be immature as well. Heck, even though I’ve never witnessed one, I’ve heard about a few fistfights in camp. I’ve also heard of some really mean practical jokes you’ve pulled on each other in camp.
Hickoff: Hey, I’ve never had a fistfight in camp. Shoving match? Heck yes! And, pranks are the No. 1 priority in a turkey hunting camp, like the rubber snake somebody put inside the door to camp recently. I once missed a big Missouri gobbler on film, killing a sapling. On my return to camp, a tree branch with a tag and my name on it, hung over my bunk. Pretty funny, though I still wince a bit thinking of that bird.
Women and Their Sensitivity
Hickoff: Women tend to show emotion and then some. Men often bury it. Sure, I’m the first guy to get all misty at those Budweiser puppy and horse commercials – just ask my family. But my turkey buds have never seen me cry in camp. And they never will.
Mallory: I don’t necessarily think we’re any more sensitive than men, we’re just not afraid to show our emotions like you guys sometimes are. If we’re happy, we’re going to laugh and smile; if we’re sad, we may cry. There’s nothing wrong with that.