Friday, October 10, 2008

Huntress roundup: Cabela's responds, Brenda Valentine goes mainstream and Sarah Palin goes two-dimensional

Cabela's responds!

A week ago today I went to Cabela's in Reno with some girlfriends and we all left disappointed. We'd thought there would be a (relatively) fabulous selection of women's hunting gear, but it wasn't much better than stores that are substantially closer to us than Reno.

I blogged about the Cabela's trip on Saturday, and by Thursday morning - literally! - I'd gotten an email from Cabela's Product Manager Rob Burnett, who actually apologized for our disappointment, welcomed our feedback and proceeded to start talking about ideas for improving Cabela's women's hunting clothing.

This was not entirely accidental. It turns out a friend of mine is a Cabela's investor who didn't like the idea of our little pack of huntresses trotting off to the newest Bass Pro Shop in search of sartorial fulfillment, so she sent a letter to Cabela's.

But I'm still impressed, because it would be much easier to say, "Sorry, girlie, there just aren't enough women waterfowlers for us to cater to your whiny little self." Instead what I heard was, "What do you think of this idea? And this? And this?" Good stuff. And don't be surprised if you see cool new stuff for women from Cabela's somewhere down the line.

Brenda Valentine goes mainstream

Brenda Valentine, "the first lady of hunting," may be well-known in our community but not in the non-hunting world.

That changed on Oct. 1 when she was featured in a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal about women hunting. Since then, she's been trotted out in the mainstream media as a representative of huntresses - highly relevant at a time when we have a controversial huntress on the GOP ticket.

The Women's Outdoor Wire did a cool interview with her about the experience of going on mainstream media. The topics range from adjustments (being "miced up" in a studio instead of a tree stand) to how people reacted (not at all hostile, very open, but not the least bit knowledgeable about hunting). Definitely worth reading.

Speaking of Sarah Palin...

There was a funny piece in the New York Daily News recently about an artist who created an installation of a fake dead caribou and cardboard cutouts of Sarah Palin, her daughter and a rifle. People can pose in the set to have their picture taken with the GOP veep nominee.

The artist, who admits she is not fond of Sarah Palin, says both fans and foes alike are enjoying the piece.

I didn't howl in protest when I read it - I'm trying not to let myself get upset when confronted with ignorance about hunting. I just found the piece interesting and amusing.

If you check it out, be sure to watch the video and look for the gunshot wound on the fake caribou. It is comic-book funny, like a shattered windshield.

© Holly A. Heyser 2008


SimplyOutdoors said...

Good to hear that Cabela's actually is listening to their customers. Hopefully they get a little better selection of women's clothing as a result.

Josh said...

Happy about Cabela's comment, too.

I watched the video you suggested, and man! that was painful.


Josh said...

Also, I'm more saddened by that poor Brittany who walks by near the end, who will probably never smell wet dew on a corn field or birds in cover, or flush a brilliant rooster and feel its feathers in its mouth.

Holly Heyser said...

I had the same feeling reading Brenda Valentine's thoughts on all the people living in glass towers who scarcely see soil and grass, much less wildlife.

Though I've seen the mallards in Central Park and they ROCK.

Terry Scoville said...

Well I am glad you finally got a response from Cabela's. Although their service and returns policies are excellent, their lack of selection of women's hunting boots, clothing, waders, solid color chamois shirts, etc,is lacking.The same is true for all the big mail order/wharehouse outfitters. I used to fill in the "comment" portion of the mail order forms requesting more choices and QUALITY gear for women.Frankly I got tired of doing so and not seeing any changes. It amazes me just how slow the industry has evolved in addressing such needs. It really frustrates me and pisses me off to a large degree. I commend you for getting their attention!

Holly Heyser said...

Another thing I'd like to see? Women's left-handed shooting shirts. You can get women's shooting shirts, but I have NEVER seen one for lefties, and it's actually hard to even find them with patches on both sides too - and never ever with a gelpad sleeve for lefties.

One thing at a time, I suppose. I need to just learn to sew and make my own. (And funny thing, that's how so many of these women's hunting clothing companies got started - frustrated women breaking out their sewing machines.)

Terry Scoville said...

Yep, right you are! The rest of my comments are not of publishable form. So I will leave it alone. . .for now.

Andrew Campbell said...

Congrats on the progress with Cabelas. I wish a few companies would recognize that women and young people represent the largest growth demographic of the shooting sports as a whole. Not so sure about lefties, though!


Blessed said...

Very glad to hear about the response from Cabelas! Oh and I'll second you on the whole left handed women's shooting shirts - at least provide shirts with patches on both sides!

Why is it so "scary" to everyone that Palin hunts? My cousin was a McCain supporter until he picked Palin for the VP now he's "scared" - I just don't get it. The cousin and I have decided not to talk about politics anymore :)

Holly Heyser said...

I monitor Palin news pretty closely because she, as a woman hunter, comes up in all my alerts. Here's what I think:

I don't think her hunting scares people - I think it offends the kind of people who get offended by that anyway. The artist in the story above I'm sure is one of those. And just hunting isn't the thing as much as supporting the aerial hunting of wolves and opposing putting polar bears on the endangered species list - that makes her an easy target because most Americans (including myself) don't know a lot about those issues - they react with emotion.

What scares people about her is the fact that she showed interest in censoring books, that she doesn't know foreign policy and the intensity of her religion. The No. 1 thing I read about her is the story of the priest and the witch. Those are the substantive things - the rest is just mean nitpicking.

And as much as some people hate her, others love her. One thing's for sure: She definitely made the election more interesting.

Native said...

Hi Holly,
Really good dialog on this one!
It's great that Cabella's has been so positively responsive and we will see next year if everything is just lip service or not.
I, myself for many many years used to make my dog's cut vest's out of latigo leather and hand hammered copper rivets because the (demographic) demand just did not match any of the large company's gathered data for getting into that particular market.
I also used to write to Bayed Solid, Night Lite,Cabella's etc. etc. and ask why they did not carry a line of cut vest's for big game hunting dogs?
Even gave them hand drawn designs so that they could give them to their water dog supplier's and follow the same protective principle as a neoprene vest, but to no avail.
Eventually the suppliers caught up with the demand! and, due to persons like yourself this will also happen with women hunters clothing.
I see it happening with all of the new company's which are sprouting up these days, (SHE, etc.etc.)

Just keep up the good and hard work which you are doing and continue to keep everyone informed!

As far as Palin is concerned, She will never be able to overturn Roe vs Wade, even if she were to become president by default! People just simply will not forget about all of the clothes hanger abortions from the 60's to allow that to happen.
This will hold true for any other small issues which people may have about her and, the main thing to remember is that her many positive qualities, far outweigh any negative ones which the far left liberal media may fixate themselves upon!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on making an impact at Cabelas! I'm really glad to hear that someone is paying attention and actually responding. Then on top of that, to see Brenda Valentine hitting the mainstream...well, there may be some hope.

I've said all along, what hunting needs is not more preaching to the choir in the hunting mags and tv shows, but positive public relations to the folks who need the message (many of whom have never heard it).

Funny, as I write this the ABC News is about to do a piece on Foxy Huntress and women who hunt! Is this all due to Sarah Palin? Probably... but hey, it's a spot on the stage. Hopefully the movers and shakers in the industry will take positive advantage of the opportunity.