Carrie Zylka has heard it all.
“Women don’t like hunting because they don’t like to kill.” “Moms are too busy for hiking and bird watching.” “The elements are too harsh and when they’re not, the bugs are too bad.”
Going outside is a “guy thing.”
But she won’t listen. She’s that 6-foot blond neighbor pulling you off the couch, away from the mall, out of the minivan and into the great Wisconsin outdoors to smell fresh pine, wildflowers — and not whatever is coming from that cardboard tree you have hanging on your rear view mirror.
“There is so much to do besides sitting at home and watching soap operas,” she said.
“Wisconsin has so many natural resources to take advantage of.”
In fact, there are more than 1 million acres of state-managed public hunting lands in Wisconsin, acres of well-groomed woodlands, forest and marshes available during the hunting and non-hunting months as well.
This outdoor podcast hostess and writer wouldn’t mind seeing a little pink out there when there’s not hunter orange.
So even though she’s an angler and a hunter, she urges women to ditch their Nine Wests and lace up their hiking boots once in a while.
“I want women to know they should have the confidence to do whatever they want,” Zylka said. “Some people do yoga, some people work out, some people listen to music. I want to be in the woods. In an industry dominated by men, I’m the only solo female outdoor podcast hostess out there. And . . . it’s not that intimidating. It’s really not. Actually, I probably get more support from the guys.”
She became an enthusiastic outdoorswoman at a young age. Both of her parents enjoyed the outdoors and her father was an avid hunter, so it wasn’t unreasonable to assume that this Milwaukee native would grow up to become passionate about the outdoors.
In 2008 Zylka broke into the outdoor industry as a blogger. Four years later she had her own hunting and fishing online talk show.
“There are many women — and men really — out there that want to give hunting or fishing a try but don’t know where to start,” Zylka said. “I’m here to let them know that it’s OK to go alone, to try something different. Or to reach out to someone like me for advice or assistance with getting into the outdoors. This is why I host fishing and hunting outings that draw women from all over the country.
“But I know there are also a lot of women that are turned off by the thought of hunting. And that’s OK, too. There are many other outdoor activities just waiting for them.”
She suggested family-friendly activities such as archery, hiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fishing, wildlife and bird watching, nature photography, camping, scavenger hunts and geocaching, an outdoor game of searching for objects by using global positioning system coordinates posted on the Internet.
“I wholeheartedly believe that people who are active outdoors, even on a minimal basis, live longer,” Zylka said. “Studies have proven that a few hours of sunshine and fresh air a week lead to a happier, healthier life.”
Zylka recommends a few staples for any new outdoorswoman:
Hiking boots. “Not tennis shoes. Boots! Something with some ankle support.”
ThermaCELL. “They’re one of my must-have products — and they’re not a sponsor so I have no vested interest. It’s a portable butane-powered device that keeps away mosquitoes, gnats and biting flies for up to 15 feet. You’ll never have to worry about Deet-infused, oily insect repellent again. As a bonus they’re inexpensive and available everywhere.”
Good hat and or polarized sunglasses.
“And if you want to get girlie, a little foundation and lip gloss with SPF in there. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t be pretty and sunburn-free at the same time.”
Carrie Zylka can be reached via her website at: www.TheWildWorldofCarrieZ.com.
Distributed by MCT Information Services