What’s wonderful about being of the female gender these days (and really for at least the last 40 years) is that it’s okay to be whatever you want to be. Truly, there are no professional or social limitations on whatever you choose to do, at least not in America. You can be a career professional, a stay-at-home mom, a politician, a lady of leisure (it helps to be independently wealthy), a volunteer for charitable causes, a homemaker/ gardener/chef/Martha Stewart want-to-be, etc., and by any standard of measure, any option you choose is okay. Each is respected and quite acceptable across all segments of our society.

The same goes for gals in the outdoors. We can have as much or as little involvement in it as we want and whatever we choose is okay. But in my opinion, more is better especially after seeing all the fun the guys have been having for 22+ years at Joshua Creek Ranch where there’s wingshooting, sporting clays, fly fishing, and deer and turkey hunting. For more than just my own business reasons, I’m an advocate of women getting more involved in the outdoors, especially the sporting life. Women deserve to enjoy the exhilaration and gratification of breaking that target and bagging that bird and hooking that fish…and they possess all the natural instincts to quickly develop the skills to be successful at it.

But I want to regress a moment to the idea that whatever level of involvement we ladies want is okay. We may just want to walk along on the upland hunt, watching the dogs work and applauding the shooter who bags a double; or lounge in the shade observing the quiet concentration of the fly fisherman casting his line to the trout held up behind a boulder; or keep score for the sporting clays shooters competing for who’ll buy the beer at the end of the round.  Just to be out there observing/absorbing/adoring the great outdoors at any level of participation is rewarding. 

The level of comfort we have participating in sporting activities really depends on how much opportunity we’ve had to practice. Like swimming or riding a bike, it helps to start when you’re young so it’s practically automatic as an adult. But whenever you start, some expert coaching along the way and plenty of practice can bring those skills to a very high level. BUT it’s okay for us gals to settle for a mediocre skill set and measure our success in fun. We’ll always be welcome with an “acceptable” level of competence so long as we bring along a good sporting attitude. Besides, ladies, you may not want to outperform the host who invited you. It could put future invitations in jeopardy, especially if that host is your boyfriend or husband.

3-12-jcr-girl-hunter-weekenOne of the lady food bloggers tries her hand at sporting clays at Joshua Creek Ranch.

Just recently we had the perfect group of ladies demonstrating “FUN” as the prevailing factor in the outdoors when a group of lady food bloggers was brought together at Joshua Creek Ranch by huntress and chef, Georgia Pellegrini. The purpose of the weekend was to introduce these guests to wild game cooking, with a sideline course in shotgun shooting and fly fishing. Most of the gals had never shot a shotgun and many had never been on a ranch. You’ve never seen such whimsy and delight among a group of highly skilled professional women. The best part was their footwear of choice on a Texas hunting ranch. Follow this link to see the stories they wrote and the phenomenal photos they took: www.joshuacreek.com/about/news-media/news.

In April another group of ladies will come for a retreat called Casting for Recovery. Their outdoor experience at the Ranch will be to teach them to fly fish. But while they’re here, volunteers skilled in much more than fly fishing will lead them through sessions aimed at fostering their recovery, restoration, and resolution as they journey through their experience with breast cancer.

3-12-casting forrecovery001Women experience the joy of fishing at the Casting for Recovery breast-cancer retreat at Joshua Creek Ranch.

Throughout the summer from mid-June through mid-August, young ladies ages 8-15 will be among the participants in the Youth Outdoor Adventure Program (YOAP) at Joshua Creek Ranch. Although their numbers are in the minority within the group, their mastery of the skills taught is consistently on the superior end of the rating spectrum. It’s not that unusual for us to see a girl win the overall Best Camper award. It’s been fun to see some of these outgoing young women grow int enthusiastic shooters and hunters as adults. I’ve even had a few girls come back to confirm a truth I told them when they were as young as 8 years old: “Guys do love a girl who can shoot!”

The opportunities to enjoy something in the outdoors are as vast as the outdoors themselves. The important thing is not so much what you’re doing or how well you’re doing it, but that you’re sharing the experience and creating memories with people who are important in your life. So get out there this spring and summer and have some fun.

Ann Kercheville is President of Joshua Creek Ranch. Located in the renowned Texas Hill Country just 45 minutes northwest of San Antonio and 90 minutes southwest of Austin, Joshua Creek Ranch occupies a uniquely diverse terrain including miles of Joshua Creek and Guadalupe River bottomland planted in fields of grain crops for prime upland and deer hunting habitats. You can visit their web site at http://www.joshuacreek.com.