Linda K. Burch is President of WildTech,
maker of FireTacks Trail Markers and More.
fair!When it comes to the great
outdoors and hunting, we girls have far too many handicaps wrought by our
gender.I don?t mean lack of
expertise,ingenuity or gumption,
either.We have all those.I mean things like toileting, our hair and
our strength.A nature call in the woods
is a nuisance on a good day, not to mention in a snowbank.My hair, of which I have long and plenty, is
always in the way, getting caught in Velcro popping into my line of vision at
full draw.And physical strength, even
though I work out, is a challenge with heavy equipment for one woman alone.
so I am finally here, ?here? being my hunting shack.Life and work at home has been chaotic and I
desperately needed a ?shack fix?.This
place is my counterpoint.My
respite.When I miss a few weekends
here, I start getting twitchy.I need
the down time to write, unwind, smoke a cigar, play my guitar,and to just be a slob and a loner.What I had not counted on today was 14 inches
far in the five years of owning this place, December has been fairly devoid of
heavy snowfalls, which has made late season bow hunting great because the chore
of plowing was not an issue and focusing on the hunt was the prime
directive.This year I barely made it
into camp with my ATV trailer in tow however. My neighbor had plowed the one lane dirt road in, creating a two foot
snow bank at my drive entrance.Once I
wrangled the chained gate open, the fun was just beginning.Getting up the drive necessitated my backing
up with the trailer, shoving my F-150 into four wheel drive, and taking a 90
degree running dash up my driveway in order to not get boogered down in the
drifts.I fish tailed wildly up the 300
feet to my cabin, executing a speedy but graceful donut in the turnaround before
stalling out in the white stuff as I slid up to the front door.Whew.
high stepped through the snow to the crooked shed where my ATV awaited.The snow was still coming down and if I didn?t
start plowing soon I would never get out later. Oddly, the thought of getting marooned seem comforting in a way.
snowplow near the galvanized bear bait cabinet was a white cloaked ghost.Dusting it off, I inch wormed the 150 pound
plow 30 feet over to the waiting quad and gathered the equipment needed to affix
it to the ATV.Of course this meant
going back and forth through the drifts to get tools from my truck, and my hip
flexor muscles were starting to protest for lack of conditioning.The plow was lined up, but getting the
bracket holes lined up with the coupling was another story.Crawling around on the dirt floor and
tripping over the plow blade a few times had my knees and shins stinging.As I lay on the dirt floor wrestling with the
beastly plow, the red squirrels who winter in the shed scolded me loudly while
racing around on the shed rafters like distance runners.There was fully a bushel of their nest
makings in my rope storage bin and after I had dumped it in the snow outside,
they wet ballistic.I jury rigged the
plow fitting with split wood, dangled the plow from the winch, beat the parts
together with a crowbar and thought very unChristian thoughts.
long curly hair was now full of squirrel nest debris, dirt and fluffy white
snow.I looked like an alien.I was by then imaging giving myself a buzz
cut just to rid myself of my nuisance mane. Too late smart, I pony tailed
myself and shinnied back under the motor horse. The holes finally line up.I
slipped the pins in, shouted for joy and did The Happy Dance.By this time my jean knees looked like I?d
crawled to China.I smelled like
gasoline and mouse pee, but by yimminy I got that dang plow attached !
the generator next, it only took a few dozen pulls to get the bugger
started.My arms felt like noodles, but
it was now time to plow the turnaround. As darkness fell and my fingers went completely numb, I gave up on the
project for the night.Now I had to go
to the bathroom.Oh joy.
fair.God made men so they can just go
out, do their duty in the snow and be done with it.Me? Well, my first option was the outhouse. The thought of parking my keester on a subzero toilet seat immediately
sent me to option two.Option two can
only be done when I?m here alone, as it involves trying to do my thing into a
disposable cup in the shack and then throwing the contents out into a
snowbank.Not exactly a project for an
audience.Option three was using the
small chemical toilet in the shack bathroom, but that meant I would later have
to forge through the tundra to some remote spot to dump its odious contents
before I went home, and that thought was not appealing either.The cup duty can be problematic when one has
a severe urgency that could result in a messy sidewinder.Men aren?t cursed with sidewinder issues, so
why are we women cursed with this little nuance of elimination?No fair.
for strength, I make up for my lack of it with ingenuity.However, a plow is an unwieldy behemoth with
a blade that loves my shins.I have more
than once found myself pinned by the metal monster, but thankfully I have
always been alone, which has spared me the embarrassment of admitting it had
conquered me, albeit temporarily.
I won?t cut my hair.And yes, I will
continue to utilize clever ways to deal with nature calls.My workout regimen pretty much keeps me on an
equal playing field with my male counterparts? to a point.Being a hunter and outdoors person takes a
lot more effort and resourcefulness for us girls.It may be No Fair, but we have a lot more to
be proud of in the end because it takes us a lot more effort to get there.
Linda K. Burch is the President of Wildtech maker of the FireTacks and more: