By Jodi Stemler
Upland hunting provides a fantastic way to get more women and young hunters out in the field. The weather is typically comfortable in the early season, and the pursuit of birds while walking through fall fields can provide a more active connection to the natural world at its most colorful. And if you are blessed to be able to hunt with a bird dog, their joy in the field quickly infuses the entire hunting party. I have sometimes joked that upland hunting is like a gateway drug that can draw in more new hunters to our ranks.
While having proper field clothes isn’t essential, it doesn’t take long to realize that brush pants, quality outerwear and a good field vest have great utility. Thankfully, there are increasing options for women’s upland hunting — gear that has practical application while also allowing style-conscious ladies to look good afield. Here’s a look at some of the latest offerings in women’s upland apparel.
Girls With Guns Highland Collection
One of the most comprehensive new upland lines available for women comes from Girls with Guns. This small company was founded by women who love to hunt and shoot; dove season openers are an annual tradition and an inspiration for this collection.
The Highland line offers a comfortable pair of brush pants in a soft twill fabric, their plentiful pockets edged with blaze orange and with heavier-weight camouflage fabric lining the leg to fend off dense brush. With an adjustable waist and inseam, these pants would fit a wide variety of body types very comfortably.
Paired with the pants is the 1/4 zip long sleeve field shirt in a matching camo pattern with quilted blaze-orange shoulders. The antimicrobial finish to the shirt and lightweight fabric make it a great layering piece that can also be worn alone on warmer days. I personally love the “Shacket,” a quilted oxford outer layer with polyester fleece lining that will be a perfect outer layer for mid-season hunts. It was too warm to try on my September opening day dove hunt and probably wouldn’t be warm enough for the coldest seasons, but it will have lots of use in between and at other times of the year, and not just in the upland field.
There are two more pieces I found very useful. The blaze orange hat with the GWG logo offers a cooling sweatband that claims to cool up to 5 degrees and includes a hole for a high ponytail. The field vest boasts a very large game pocket that unsnaps at the top for easy unloading, the straps are easily adjustable and there are deep pockets that could each hold a box of shells.
I was able to try out all these pieces on my grouse and dove hunt on opening day, and they easily handled heavy grass cover, kept off most of the burrs and fit comfortably all day. You’ll also be pleased to know that Girls With Guns offers an affordable price point and a wide variety of sizes.
Beretta Women’s Upland Apparel
Not just offering fantastic firearms, Beretta also has a quality line of upland apparel, including several items specifically tailored for women.
The new Women’s Retriever Field Vest has a large, front-loading game bag that can be completely opened to unload and wash. Front-loading vests make it easier to slip the birds in the pocket and keep moving through the field. Beretta has threaded the needle well, and this vest maintains very feminine styling despite the bulkier appearance front-loading vests possess when filled with birds.
The Covey Field Pant is also new. It’s a classically styled brush pant with a water-repellent and anti-abrasion overlay that will protect legs in thick brush. Constructed of comfortable cotton, they will be best for hunting in mild climates or for early hunting seasons.
Beretta also has field shirts (with blaze orange yoke or without in a simple hunting brown) as well as a beautiful Daybreak Field Jacket that provides warmth and water repellency and would easily transition from the field to town thanks to its beautiful design.
Prois completely revamped its upland line this year to produce the new Pradlann collection. The company had previously offered an excellent brush pant that I’ve hunted in many times and loved, but the new Pradlann Pant looks to be a real hit. The pants utilize a performance stretch fabric with an adjustable waistband that provides an optimal fit for a woman’s body. The legs are faced in a rugged fabric for durability in heavy cover and water resistance, and they have a zippered vent down the side. The blaze-orange 1/2 zip pullover has also been redesigned. Updates include 40+UPF UV protection and a high-grade wicking fabric, making it perfect as an outer layer when it is warm, or a layering piece for later, colder hunts. Adding in Prois’ blaze-orange ball cap or its reversible beanie and you’re ready for the field (and rumor is the company will be adding a field vest to the line very soon).
This brand is renowned for its outstanding field and lifestyle wear. While it doesn’t offer brush pants or traditional blaze orange and khaki women’s gear, it has designed several women’s jackets for the field. The Three-layer Field Jacket is waterproof and breathable while still resisting punctures from briars or heavy brush. It has large shell pockets and a zippered rear game bag, making it extremely versatile in the upland field. Filson also offers a new Women’s Ultralight PrimaLoft hooded layering jacket that packs small and insulates even when wet.
The famed outdoor gear and clothing company has several new products in its growing line of women’s upland apparel including the PRO LT lightweight hunting shirt and hunting pants, both of which include venting and wicking fabrics for early-season hunts. Orvis has also added a Softshell Hunting Jacket that features an extremely versatile wind- and water-resistant outer layer, a sound choice for moderate weather conditions.
Bean’s Precision-Fit Upland Briar Pants are a smartly priced, comfortable pair of hunting pants. The adjustable waist band allows for up to 3” of give when layering for colder weather (or whatever reason you may need for a little extra space!). The front portion of the legs on these pants are almost entirely covered in a tough but breathable nylon all the way up to the hips, almost akin to a pair of chaps. They are extremely durable in the heaviest of cover. I have had these pants for several years, and they have always been comfortable and effective in a variety of field conditions. L.L. Bean also has a Technical Upland Vest Pack women will appreciate. Though designed as unisex, it’s a super vest for long days walking in the field. I have an earlier version that is a sling pack and love it due to its comfort, many pockets and ergonomic design. This new pack is similar enough that it looks like it will be just as effective as mine, and it has the benefits of being lighter and more breathable than the previous design.
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In this video, NSSF offers a few upland hunting safety reminders that will help ensure your next day in the field is a safe and enjoyable experience. The video offers experienced hunters a quick review, and is the perfect tool for introducing newcomers to the rules of the field.