Presenting Women and Hunting in Amish Country

If you’ve ever been in an “out of your element” situation, I’d like to know if it’s ever been one like a hunting women standing on stage before a crowd of Amish.

It was last summer when I was asked to present at the Michiana Outdoors Sportsman Show. I was told they would like it if I would prepare something directed toward women. “Not a problem” was my response. I do that all the time.

Mia-Anstine-Why-We-HuntThe months passed, and I refined other presentations into a presentation about sharing hunting traditions with women.

When I arrived at the MAC in Howe, Indiana, I was greeted by a number of Amish and Mennonite peoples. All were very friendly, but the thought occurred to me, “Do Amish women hunt?” I really didn’t know the answer, nor did the colleagues I was with. I quickly made way to chat with a young lady wearing a full-length skirt, white bonnet, apron and a snow camo fleece. I asked her about hunting and if she hunted. She said the women of her culture were allowed to hunt and she’d like to learn. That was good news to my ears.

I discussed the hunt with other men, who were clearly Amish, and they indicated the women are allowed to hunt. Most do not hunt because they have large families and must stay home to take care of the children. Needless to say, presenting to a crowed comprised of 3 or 4 women and 90% Amish was a bit unusual. I modified my presentation, directing it a bit more toward getting women and the next generation into the outdoors and hunting.

Amish-Buggies-by-Mia-AnstineAt the end of the presentation, I had multiple people thank me. One gentleman asked for advice to limit his frustration when he takes his 5 little ones hunting. Others asked about hunting the west and elk hunting. Not one asked about getting women involved in the hunt.

A friend asked if I felt “shunned” while I was there. The answer is “nope”. I didn’t feel shunned. I’ve worked in a “man’s world” most of my life and have enough self confidence to know what I’m about. I know what I want to share, and I know who’s going to be receptive and who’s not. I was thankful for the few in the crowd who appreciated my message and gained a greater understanding of the importance of passing on a tradition many of us, who grew up in hunting communities, take for granted.

Needless to say, if I’m invited to present at next year’s event, I assure you I’ll choose a different topic. Maybe you’d have a suggestion or two? If so, let me know over on my social sites.

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