Get several women bird hunters together and at some point, guaranteed, they’ll talk about how difficult it is to find good women’s upland clothing. Fortunately, several manufacturers have acknowledged that downsizing men’s clothes – vests, brush pants, chaps, etc. – won’t work in terms of functionality or style. Women obviously need clothes proportioned to women’s bodies. In his search for quality women’s hunting gear, my husband, Terry Wilson, owner of Ugly Dog Hunting Company, has too often found a great product, put it in the catalog and online only to have it discontinued a year later. Finding really good women’s brush pants, for example, is particularly frustrating. Only Pointer Brand’s brush jeans have stayed tried and true.
Unfortunately, without naming names, some of the companies making women’s hunting clothing have taken their products to offshore manufacturers with less quality control. Others have found that given economic challenges, the upland market isn’t big enough to support profitable production, so they choose to cut their upland lines altogether, sticking with the broader camo audience.
On a happier note, Pheasants Forever has found two great women’s items backed by the quality and reliability of Beretta. One is the Beretta Women’s Wax Cotton Upland Vest. Pheasants Forever sells the vest for $163.95, and it’s worth every dime. The sturdy wax cotton is pliable and has none of that oily feel or smell a lot of wax cotton products have. There’s plenty of blaze orange visibility with two large blaze shoulder patches and the ample blaze game bag (removable) on the back. It’s got a breathable mesh lining, interior pockets (perfect for keys and cell phone), and two front bellow pockets with flip-out shell holders. And, it looks great – a slimming design with attention to details of trim and color. I get a kick out of the orange zipper. Extra snazzy is the Pheasants Forever (also available in Quail Forever) logo on the front.
I’ve been wearing the vest for a few weeks hunting in the grouse woods, smashing through alders, climbing over blow downs and lugging the usual gear – first aid kit, ammo, water bottles – through thick brush. The vest is quiet and the arm holes are deep enough for easy movement and shooting. It’s comfortable, sheds moisture and never catches while mounting a gun. My only criticism would be that although the game bag is long and deep enough at the bottom, it’s tighter in the upper back area which makes stuffing in a big bird a little awkward. That aside, three gold stars for the Beretta Women’s Wax Cotton Upland Vest.
The other product I’m loving is the Beretta Women’s Techno Windshield Sweater. First I wore it shooting 5-stand at our local club, then started wearing it everywhere taking full advantage of its windproof warmth. It’s made of what Beretta calls “thermal control” wool, which, according to the label, is a blend of lambswool and nylon. The Beretta Windproof Membrane is a special wind-blocking nylon lining. The sweater zips up and is super soft, in a medium brown color that goes with everything. Nice touches include the light tan knit collar lining, slash pockets, and elegant PF monogram with the pheasant tail feather. Pheasants Forever sells the sweater for $163.95.
Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.