Sport hunting or consumptive conservation is about time alone in the deer woods; an inheritance of sorts. It’s a quiet time to enjoy God’s creation, as well as reflecting on the past and hope for the future. Lastly, it’s about bringing home the bacon (meaning venison)! The one thing hunting should not be is a fashion statement regarding the power of pink!
Forty-three years ago my parents were eagerly awaiting birth of their first child – me! This was back in the day when expectant fathers stayed in the waiting room (watching football on TV), while the poor mother went through labor and delivery, aided by a nurse and doctor. The father was not even aware of the child’s gender until a nurse walked out with the baby wrapped in a blanket.
My father’s life revolved around hunting, fishing, trapping and church league softball at our church where he also served as a Deacon. Needless to say, he was eagerly awaiting a son to share in all his outdoor adventures. However, when the nurse handed him a pink blanket and 10 pounds, 12 ounces of pure baby girl, he was somewhat disappointed. My parents were so convinced I was going to be a boy days passed before they could decide on a name; seems the one name they had picked was for a bouncing baby boy. They still laugh about that surprise!
When I was a little girl, Mom tried and tried to dress me in frilly dresses and spent numerous hours curling my long, brown hair on pink curlers. Sometimes she even resorted to rag curls and pencils. Mom, along with my grandmothers, loved for me to sport those long ringlets on Sunday mornings. You should see the old pictures! Saturday nights, prior to Sunday morning and church were pure torture for me. I let them have their fun but always wanted to tag along with my Dad, where pink ruffles and ringlets were out of place.
I loved to listen to Dad’s hunting, fishing and trapping tales. Wasn’t long until I was old enough to join him on his outdoor adventures. So exciting! I would grab an old camo jacket, rubber boots, and jump in that ole red Scout whenever he suggested I tag along. Many mornings, I would have to roll out of bed well before daylight; no time for curls! As the years passed, I became my Dad’s “only son.” To this day, Mike Roberts declares he would not trade me for a handful of boys. We became hunting partners and our love for the great outdoors resulted in countless memories.
There is a particular recollection from a bitter October morning in the mountains of Montana that will forever be etched in my mind. I can still see those fresh cougar tracks in the snow, my Dad’s frost-covered beard, frozen sandwiches and his regretful miscalculation on one beautiful bull elk.
On the final morning, we made a pre-dawn hike into one of Dad’s favorite haunts. Walking up a draw, something caught our attention on top of “Elk Track” ridge. Just in the nick of time we looked up to glimpse the silhouettes of three huge bulls walking over the ridge-line; to our dismay, they were crossing the fence onto another ranch and there was no way to get on them.
Later that afternoon, Dad took a photograph of me, sporting a blaze orange vest, leaning against the door of an old moonshiner’s cabin. Needless to say, whenever I want to reminisce on those huge bulls and one of my all-time favorite hunting trips, I take a look at that particular image. There is just something about blaze orange against a blue Montana sky! I could go on and on with great memories of spring gobbler hunts, fantastic whitetail adventures, bass fishing in local ponds, opening-day trout fishing trips and trapping tales, but I’ll save those for another day.
As a “girl,” my mother loved to dress me in pink. Being a “girl” that loved the outdoors, pink was just not my color. As I became older I found it harder and harder to find ladies hunting apparel without wading through a sea of pink camo. Hunting flamingos must be a growing sport! (LOL) Even today, pink is not a color I would wear to the woods – no more so than wearing makeup (sorry, outdoor TV celebrities). Now, to each his own, but I can’t imagine sitting 20’ feet off the ground and hunting white-tailed deer dressed in pink camouflage. I’m there to hunt – not make some statement to the world!
Imagine my surprise today when I walked into work and two co-workers hit me with “Can you believe they want to add Blaze Pink to the Blaze Orange law in Virginia?” Ummm… Well, no! Seems Delegate James Edmunds, a dedicated sportsman who represents the 60th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates, has proposed a bill that would allow Blaze Pink to be a substitute for Blaze Orange. This proposal is to encourage females to participate in hunting. I don’t mind change, but the pink camo sensation is, in my opinion, taking all this to the extreme; there are so many other ways to bring women into a recreational pastime dominated by men. Seems to me, there is a lot more pressing legislation that needs addressing! Hey Virginia, let’s focus more on the adventure of the hunt, the sights and sounds, camaraderie, and of course, safety! Next fall, when I’m sitting in my treestand, there is one thing I can promise you, this gal will not be wearing Blaze Pink!