For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we are interviewing the business owner and avid hunter, @WomenHuntToo! If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at hunting, this is the Deep Dive for you!
Dawn is an award-winning hunter that’s passionate about helping people (especially women!) begin their own hunting journeys. We were lucky enough to chat with her about her own hunting roots, the resistance she’s faced as a woman in the hunting world, her tips for first-time hunters and those hoping to post their experiences on social media, and much more!
Keep reading this Deep Dive Series to find out more about this creator’s fantastic story. Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @Clappertalks account to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live radio show: Clapper Talks.
Deep Dive into this amazing creator’s story!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What does a day look like in your life?
Normally, this time of year, I’m not in the office much. My “office” is in the tree blind, the tree stand, or out in the woods for the most part. I normally start hunting in the morning. The deer move in the morning and in the evening just before dark. You want to be out there, like, two hours before. We have a farm here in Michigan and we have apples, corn, soybeans, hay, a little bit of everything. Usually, I’m out about three-ish, but the deer have been moving earlier this year. In the past, they would move right at dark, but they’re moving quite a bit earlier since we took the corn off the backfield. That’s where I hunt a lot of the time when I’m at home.
When did your interest in hunting begin?
I always had curiosity. My dad would take my older brother out hunting, and I could never go. But I’d still kind of peek out into the garage and wonder, what are they doing, and why is it only for guys? My dad died in a car accident when I turned 11, so I think that if I was in high school and still showing I was interested in it that he would have run with it. I really do believe he would have done so much more with me. But I ended up meeting my husband in between our junior and senior years of high school and he was an avid hunter. Between my curiosity, my dad, and my husband, it just kind of propelled me into motion, and everything’s just fallen into place.
I was a little apprehensive about the firearm situation. Then our home got broken into when we were first married. That moment is what changed my mind. I said, “That’s it; I’m getting over my fear of firearms and I’m going to be able to defend my home, defend my children, I’m going to do what I need to do.” I just literally bit the bullet and learned. It was a natural progression. I was just archery hunting and then I got into firearms and realized if I can shoot a pistol, I can shoot a rifle. Well, if I can shoot a rifle, I can shoot a muzzleloader. It just kind of went on from there and it’s just a snowball effect. I’m just running through all of the open doors and taking every opportunity that comes my way.
How was your first hunting trip, tell us about that story.
The first time I went hunting by myself was just behind the farm. It was rifle season, and I remember shooting the doe and being so proud. Then I found out it was a small doe! So I was really upset, and then I learned a lot of first-time hunters tend to do that because you can’t gauge the size of the animal right away. I didn’t let it stop me. I just got out there and I did it again, kept trying, and of course, the more you do something the better you get. Now I feel if it’s a legal deer and you didn’t waste the meat, who cares how big that animal is? There are a lot of people in the hunting world that you feel you should only take a large, mature buck. I feel that if you’re hungry and you’re going to feed your kids, I don’t care what’s on its head. If the state is letting you buy that tag it’s legal and you didn’t waste that meat, that’s all that matters.
What do you like most about hunting? What do people that have never hunted before miss?
Everybody has different reasons. For some people it’s just being able to feed the family; some people feel it’s a sense of accomplishment; some people do it because it’s their therapy. They’re alone, and it’s quiet out there, and you have to be so still and so quiet that eventually, these animals feel so comfortable with you. They start to come closer to you and you can notice the little things happening around you. I remember one time I watched this one stinking squirrel for so long. Toward the end of the hunt, he was dropping acorns from above my head and hitting me on the head with them! Just little silly things like that make you think, “Man I’m glad I didn’t miss this today.”
What would be your tips for first-time hunters or people who want to get into hunting? Any safety measures people should be aware of?
The first thing they have to do is take a Hunter’s Safety class in Michigan. I’m not sure about other states, but Hunter’s Safety class is usually, like, a Thursday night for six weeks, then a Saturday where you go and try to shoot all these different types of guns, bows, crossbows, and there’s some trapping. It’s called a field day, so you see what you like and what works best for you, what fits for you, so that’s a really good way to start.
The biggest thing that people need to worry about isn’t so much what you wear or what you’re using. You have to really be concerned about not moving. Movement is #1, and then I would say scent. A lot of people argue with me on that; I don’t care. I think a lot of deer will run faster seeing me move before they even get a whiff of me. So I’d say the movement is key. That’s just some basic, beginning stuff. You’re going to find the right caliber and type of gun in your area because in different places you can only use certain types of firearms. They’re all a little different you’ve got to figure out which one works best where you’re hunting at.
When did you join Clapper? How did your journey as a creator begin?
I was struggling with another site because of the hunting and everything that goes with it. Other sites don’t want you to show those things, and you will get banned and you will get warnings. I was complaining to somebody about it and they said, “Why don’t you try Clapper?” I checked it out because what else did I have left to lose? It was like the angels breaking from the sky! It’s so cool that I am welcome and I don’t have to worry about a single thing. I can relax and know that as long as it’s legal, it’s just fine with you guys. I tell all my hunting friends about it all the time. It’s working well for me and I’m so happy with it. I wish I had known about it sooner.
Your username reads “women’s hunt too”. What inspired this name? Did you ever get resistant to being a woman who hunts?
I still get resistance after all these years. I had my big buck and a little buck. We bring them to the processor and you have to give her your driver’s license and hunting license, verify that it’s yours, that kind of thing – which is fine. She says, “Okay, whose are these?” I say, “mine”; she asks, “Both of them?” I tell her, yes, and she’s filling out some paperwork and she says, “Okay you need to fill out some tags for the deer, which one is yours?” And I tell her, “Both of them.” She was thinking that one of them is my husband’s or he just used my tag and was asking him questions. I’ve found out that people don’t believe somebody like me is really hunting by myself. It’s just terrible. I’m trying to bust those stereotypes!
I came up with the name knowing it had to be 3 words or less and if you can say what you do within 3 words, that is best. Then it also had to be available in a dot com form, an email form, social media—it’s all got to be available.
What type of equipment do you utilize during your live stream or hunting trips? Do you use your phone, do you have a GoPro? What do you use during those experiences?
When I’m actually hunting, it’s just my phone. I do some lives, I do some Shop Lives, I also do some live sales on other apps, and I just use my old phones. I tried using laptops and tablets, and it all just got so inundated and got to be so chaotic that I just went old-fashioned, back to the 1800s, and just use my cellphone!
Have you ever considered taking people to step by step through the hunting process (like vlogging)? Or do you allow yourself to enjoy the day and then do a little recap of it?
Once or twice a year, I will do a quick video of what it takes to get to my blind and get to my stand. You know, walking about to the farm, getting in the side-by-side buggy and driving out the part way; then getting out of there and taking my stuff out and hiking through the snow and up to the tree stand; then climbing up the tree stand, what it takes to get up there, then doing it all in reverse to come in at night. Because where I hunt is different from where someone in Florida would hunt, or California, or Alaska even. So, I do that once or twice a year but I can’t do that too much. People get bored, so I’ve got to change it up a little bit.
What do you enjoy most about Clapper? In what ways do you feel like Clapper needs improvement?
The number one thing is, I can be myself. Most of my stuff is hunting but there are a lot of hiking things I do. We have a lot of waterfalls in Michigan and the upper peninsula, and some beautiful lookouts, so I’ll take my camera along and do some videos from there.
I don’t have any negative things to say about Clapper. Everything has been spot-on. I’m really excited about next week with the bazaar and that I got chosen to have my shop in that! I’ve mentioned a few things about the sales aspects of it, but I’ve not fully gotten into it and I think this is going to kickstart it for me.
What advice would you give to women creators who are interested in hunting but are a little scared or overwhelmed on how to get started?
I would tell them baby steps. Women are a little more apprehensive about sharing or showing what they do hunting. So many other people pick it apart and tell them they’re doing it wrong. The only way you could do it wrong is not to go hunting. To me, every single time you go out there is a learning experience. You’re learning different ways, different areas, different animals. Even if you don’t bring anything with you, just go sit and be out there. Work on things that work for you, that you’re comfortable with, and show that. When I first started, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I had to know everything about all guns out there. When it came down to it, I didn’t need to know everybody else’s – I just needed to know mine. I was overdoing it, and I just needed to bring it back and simplify it. As soon as I did that it took off like crazy because people could see the difference.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Dawn from WomenHuntToo! For our latest deep-dive on @EmmaHunt (we didn’t do that on purpose, we promise!) read here.