It’s that time again. Time for another Ladies-Only Hunt. This time, we are embarking on free-range axis deer in the Hill Country of Texas with International Adventures Unlimited. The outfitter, Justin Grosse, is actually willing to take on seven ladies, and has all of the planning set for this once-in-a-lifetime hunt. (Yes… seven ladies.)
What exactly needs to be done to prepare for a ladies only axis hunt in Texas? A lot, actually!
- Outfitter: When I set up ladies only hunts, the priority is identifying an outfitter that will truly provide a fantastic experience for female hunters. I find it very important to find an outfitter that I personally know and with whom I can have some very honest dialogue. It is my goal to ensure the ladies can all stay together in the lodge, have time without guides present and assurances that the guides are comfortable with women. Once we have those aspects of the hunt ironed out, we are ready to book up! This particular hunt is now the third hunt we have done with International Adventures Unlimited.
- Address: Provide the exact address, so it is easy to navigate to the lodge or designated meeting place.
- WiFi/Cell Service Availability: While I am not at all suggesting that these services must be available, women are more comfortable if they know what level of communication to home they will have at camp.
- Details of the Hunt: Communicating the exact hunting style is also imperative. Method of take, guide-to-hunter ratio, style of hunting, and times of day are very good to know when getting myself, as well as the ladies set.
- Sighting In: It is very important to get behind your gun before you head out. Knowing that the scope and rifle are dialed in, or knowing your pins are set on your bow before you leave is extremely important. I highly recommend making certain you can hit your targets accurately at the distances you will most likely be hunting from. Sighting in again once at camp is also important to ensure nothing has moved in transit.
- Licenses: Check early to see what license you need and whether you can purchase it from a sporting goods store or if you can get it online. For this hunt, we can purchase a non-resident 5-day license for roughly $45. (That’s a steal in my opinion!)
- Airports, Airplanes, & Flying with Firearms: If you have not flown with firearms, I recommend getting online and checking TSA Requirements for Transporting Firearms & Ammunition. I suggest standard locks all keyed the same- inserting one lock in each available hole. I also suggest removing the bolt and running a lock through the action. (Some airlines want this and some don’t.) I simply do it to save time and heartache. Also, remember that your ammunition must be checked into a separate bag than the firearm. Some prefer to purchase ammunition upon arrival. I prefer to bring my own.
- Packing: Don’t over pack! Follow your outfitter’s gear list. I often tell ladies to also wear what they can to save room. Meaning, boots, jacket, etc… Additionally, I use my day pack as my carry on. For this particular hunt, I highly recommend lighter weight clothing due to the heat. Personally, I also recommend merino wool shirts as they wick moisture and actually cool. Did I mention they are odor free as well? Snake boots are a must as well as lightweight gloves and accessories for concealment. A lightweight jacket for mornings is also beneficial. Limit your clothing choices, especially if there is a way to wash clothes. Grab up your optics and some camp clothes and you are set!
- Gear: I highly suggest bringing shooting sticks, binoculars, and a range finder to any hunt. In the past, I have tried to skimp on my packing, only to find that I desperately needed something I forgot. For this particular hunt, I will most definitely be needing all of the aforementioned items!
- Communication: Circle the wagons! I have found that communicating with all of the ladies/hunters to coordinate flights and rental car shares goes a long way! As fate would have it, we were able to cram all seven women on this hunt into two vehicles.
Therein lies the preparation for this upcoming ladies hunt to Texas for Axis deer. Stay tuned for part two of this series where we showcase the hunt, hunting styles, and how ladies only hunts are such great platforms for getting more women into hunting!