Native Vermonter, Maple Syrup Enthusiast, Female Hunter: Jamie Dragon
Hello Darn Tough fanatics, I'm Jamie Dragon. Born and raised in Vermont and quite the maple syrup enthusiast, I have experienced most of what Vermont has to offer. From conservation and outdoor activities to owning a small business in one of Vermont's largest tourist towns, to even representing our state as Miss Vermont USA.
I grew up in a family of hunters and race car drivers. We snowmobiled, spent lots of time at the racetrack, and I grew up listening to hunting stories at every family gathering. I spent time playing in the woods with my brother, setting up deer stands with my dad, working at horse stables, and living the not-so-glamorous life of snow forts, dirt, and horse manure.
Had my dad taken me hunting, I probably would've loved it. However, he took my older brother, who didn't enjoy it. We laugh today that he took the wrong kid hunting!
How It Started
In my early twenties, I met my now husband. This man works to hunt and hunts like it's his job. He recently launched Northwoods Whitetails, a site where he and his buddies film their hunts. It wasn't until we started dating that I began hunting.
I used to hang with my husband and his friends while they practiced for archery season. They poked fun at me and handed me an old bow. Fully equipped with a screw as an arrow rest, you can imagine it was the cream of the crop. I'm surprised it did not break when I released the arrow, but to our amazement, I hit the bullseye.
Not long after, I had my own bow and was taking the hunter safety course. Side note: I found the hunter safety course full of valuable life skills and should be a prerequisite for everyone!
Ever since, my husband and I spend countless hours in the woods scouting, hunting, shed hunting, hiking, etc. I began borrowing his gear, then slowly acquiring my own, most of which, surprise, surprise, is still men's. I'm pleased that I now have my own Darn Tough socks and don't have to resort to stealing his. And let me tell you, having socks that are made to fit my feet… It's life changing.
How It's Going
Stealing my husband's Darn Tough socks was the gateway that led me to owning my very own. Darn Tough has opened my eyes to new possibilities not only in my sock drawer but in every adventure in life.
Our feet are the foundation for keeping us warm, dry, and comfortable in inclement weather. When our feet aren't happy, the rest of us aren't satisfied, as our feet are the means in which we ground ourselves.
My motivation for getting in the woods to hunt might be different than most. It provides me the opportunity to ground myself, get back to my roots, connect with nature, and spend much needed time with myself to reflect, meditate and write.
Most importantly, hunting provides time spent and memories made with family, and stories to last a lifetime.
Challenge Facing Female Hunters
As a woman hunter, it has been challenging to find clothing and products that fit and perform well. I have struggled to find sufficient hunting gear for over a decade, and even the most expensive lines aren't conducive to women's needs. It seems most companies slap a unisex label on a men's product and call it a day.
Thankfully, more companies like Darn Tough are catching on and creating an actual Women's line. I'm grateful for changes like this that recognize women in a sport that has typically been dominated by men. Because let's face it, all bodies are not created equal.
And if there is one thing I hate buying, it's socks! With a lifestyle as versatile as mine, I need socks for virtually every occasion and every shoe style. For a while, no matter what I tried, my feet were always cold or aching. I am always on my feet — with so many ambitions, it's hard to spend much time sitting! Style also took precedence over comfort while in the business of beauty.
A Surprise Test
As I was getting ready to put the Darn Tough Women's Hunting Socks to the test, unfortunately, my family contracted COVID. However, without even realizing it, I did put them to the test.
To get out of the house, we did a lot of back road cruising. The first day I wore the Darn Tough socks in my rubber hunting boots for three or so hours. My foot temperature stayed regulated, comfortable, and dry.
On the second day, my husband and I were constantly battling with the temperature gauges because my feet were constantly cold, and I could not figure out why. When I later removed my boots at home, I realized I had thrown on some regular joe schmo socks. This is proof that choosing the best socks matters.
Before I owned Darn Tough socks, we leased a 900-acre parcel of land, which we shed hunted in a day. Ambitious and foolish, I had the biggest blisters of my life. They were so uncomfortable while walking that I took my hat off, put my heel in my hat, and slid my boot back on just to finish the day. It didn't stop the pain, but it prevented them from rubbing. I had to get out of the woods somehow and being carried was not an option. That has not happened since owning Darn Tough socks (and stealing my husband's for the last few years).
Although I enjoy turkey and partridge hunting, I primarily deer hunt. We own land here in Vermont, where we hunt and create food plots and habitats for animals, but we also travel west yearly to hunt. These trips are pretty intense, and a vacation is generally needed afterward. It requires more effort than our daily life: researching the area before arriving, scouting the land the day we arrive, finding the best spots, and setting up blinds and stands to hunt for the following days. We're up by 4 am, hunt until 9, scout other areas, then we're back in the stand until dark, every day.
The weather can be unpredictable in the Midwest during the hunting season and requires packing a bag of clothes for any given precipitation. For me, this means 18 pairs of socks and buying stock in hand and foot warmers. I double up on my socks and add the warmers when the temperature drops below 30 degrees. As someone who gets cold easily, it's a challenge to stay warm enough to draw my bow back after sitting in a tree with the wind whipping me in the face for hours.
Be in the Moment, in Good Socks
If there's any bit of advice I'd give women who are hunting for the first time, it's the same advice I'd give any person going into a new experience. Don't have expectations. Just be in the moment, enjoy it and learn from it.
Patience is a virtue, so don't get discouraged when you go home empty-handed. I've gone out about thirty times this hunting season, have passed up numerous deer, but am still waiting for the perfect one.
So, find what motivates you to keep going. As my motto goes, What's your ammo? Also, do yourself a favor and splurge on buying the best darn socks out there, Darn Tough!
About the Author
Jamie Dragon is a native Vermonter, an entrepreneur, and most importantly, a wife and a mom. She has been doing hair and makeup for almost 20 years, owning a salon in Stowe, Vermont, for nearly 10 until it was lost in a fire. She currently travels with a small team of artists to bridal hair and makeup. She is also a certified life and health coach, launching a blog to encourage and inspire others to get out of their head and into their heart. To learn more about Jamie, visit her blog.