Great outdoors: Females aim to break stereotypes

The sun comes up over the horizon as day breaks and the wilderness awakens. On the banks of the river or hidden within a blind sits a woman waiting to break a societal stereotype by catching a fish or harvesting game. Though strides have been made over the last two decades to combat the ideas that outdoor activities are only for men, many still feel others are surprised when they find out they take part those activities.

Senior Kailyn Nelson began fishing with her uncle and grandfather when she was little and has grown to love the sport.

“I like how long fishing takes and the challenge of it,” Kailyn said. “It makes me really happy and is a getaway from the world. I get to be by myself and not worry about life.”

While fishing in Port Aransas with her grandfather, she caught a large redfish that was 40 inches long.

“At first, I didn’t know how to reel it in because I wasn’t paying attention,” Kailyn said. “My grandfather noticed and was really excited. He became nervous and told me to not lose it, and I got a hold of it.”

Since she does not get to go fishing often, Kailyn makes the most of each cast.

“Catching the fish was exciting because I hadn’t been finishing in a couple months,” Kailyn said. “It took a really long time to real it in, but it was really fun.”

Kailyn enjoys being outdoors and doesn’t see fishing as a sport for only boys.

“I feel like people frequently think that girls can’t fish just because they are girls,” Kailyn said. “I don’t think it matters if you are a girl or a boy, just that you enjoy it and have the mentality to do it.”

Besides fishing, hunting is an outdoor sport that is an enjoyable hobby for females, not only males. Junior Lauren Destefano also enjoys outdoor activities and started hunting deer, dove, and hogs with her family when she was just seven years old.

“I enjoy going hunting because it gives me the opportunity to be outdoors,” Lauren said. “It is peaceful and allows me to just sit and wait. The reward is worth the wait.”

Although there are many memories that have made the sport a family event, Lauren’s favorite moment came when she first started hunting.

“I was hunting with my mom, when I shot my first buck,” Lauren said. “My mom was more nervous than I was about the whole thing, but it was a fun experience to have with her.”

Lauren has never been intimidated by guys who hunt or don’t think that girls should take part in the sport.

“I hate to sit inside because it’s so boring,” Lauren said. “I think I’m a better hunter than most of the guys I know, and it’s wrong for people to think that girls can’t hunt too.”

Journalism teacher Rebecca Dominy has gone hunting with her dad for as long as she can remember and recognizes that there are many stereotypes with outdoor activities, but over the years she has also recognized a shift in public perception.

“Advertising and marketing have started to include girls more because they realized that there was a huge untapped market in outdoor activities,” Dominy said. “For my family, hunting has always been something we’ve done alone together and a way to get away from the busyness of life.

Dominy says that she never thought boys were better at hunting or that she was an outlier when it came to the outdoors.

“My family never treated me different when it came to hunting because I am a girl,” Dominy said. “The majority of people in my family who hunt are male, but it never crossed my mind growing up that it was something I couldn’t do. It was usually the opposite actually. I frequently shot bigger deer than any of the other men on our lease.”

The process of harvesting a deer and taking it from field to table is something Dominy hopes to teach her own children.

“My daughter shot her first deer in 2016,” Dominy said. “She had the opportunity to harvest a doe while sitting on a stand with my dad. It made me smile knowing that she was able to share that with him in the same way that he shared it with me.”

While Dominy has harvested several large bucks and hogs, she recognizes that the sport is much more than shooting a gun.

“Shooting a big deer is rewarding,” Dominy said, “but that’s not the main reason I hunt. I enjoy being able to provide for my family and relax outdoors. It reminds me how simple life really is and how precious time with family can be.

Dominy also sees outdoor activities as a great way to provide an education that doesn’t involve paper and pencil.

“I also appreciate the character traits it builds through responsibility, respect, and community,” Dominy said, “It’s a great way to spend time with both my son and my daughter.”