Caution: these proposal ideas are for the serious female hunter only (one involves guts after all). If your girlfriend only hunts at your coaxing, she likely will not appreciate the creativity in these proposals. There are plenty of nice ways to propose in the outdoors — on a mountaintop or a beach, but these proposals will only go over well with a hardcore female hunter or outdoorsman.

I am wicked outdoorsy. I am a Registered Guide in hunting and fishing and have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. My boyfriend finally proposed to me recently. We had been dating for five years, which gave me and my friends plenty of time to brainstorm unique ways he might propose.

Here are my favorites.

Give her a band

Every waterfowl hunter knows that shooting a duck or goose with a band is something to brag about. Biologists band a limited number of waterfowl and when a hunter shoots a banded bird, he or she can import the numbers online and find out when and where the bird was banded. While waterfowl hunting, wait for your girlfriend to shoot a duck or goose, then offer to retrieve it for her. When you get to the downed bird, holler back with excitement, “Babe your duck is banded!” She will be pumped. Return to her and hand her the duck. Upon inspection she will say, “It’s not banded,” and then you get down on one muddy wader knee and reply, “Here’s the band,” as you take out the ring from your wader pocket.

Just don’t drop it.

Glittering Fish Guts

If your girlfriend is as inquisitive as most female hunters I know, try this trick. Next time you or she catches a couple fish you want to eat, put the ring down one of the dead fish’s throats. You volunteer to gut the other fish and encourage her to gut the one with the ring. She’ll find a ring covered in fish guts, but it makes for a great fish story.

Shed Hunting

A engagement ring on a shed antler. Credit: Courtesy of Christi Holmes

Have a friend plant a large deer shed antler on some private property (God forbid someone else find it) the morning you and your girlfriend are going shed hunting. Have your friend put the ring on one of the antler tines and lead her to the general area and let her find it. She will be super excited to find the antler alone and will probably faint when she sees the ring.

Bonus points if you set up a game camera overlooking the shed antler so you have the moment on film.

Marriage by Permission Only

Put a “Hunting by Permission Only” sign on a tree at a friend’s property who owns some woods. In the “contact info” area, write, “Will you marry me?” Explain to your girlfriend that you want to hunt this spot where you saw a ton of turkeys/duck/deer. When you arrive to hunt it, act shocked and disappointed that the landowner posted the land and ask her to walk over to the sign so you can get the landowner’s contact information so you can call and ask permission. Her disappointment and grumpiness will quickly dissipate when she reads the sign and turns around to see you on one knee.

A “Hunting By Permission Only” sign modified for a marriage proposal. Credit: Courtesy of Christi Holmes

Target Practice

Plan a day to shoot your rifles and write, “Will you marry me?” on a piece of target paper. Volunteer to be the one to set up the target and walk 100 yards away and set up the piece of paper. Have her shoot first. When she looks through the scope on her rifle she will read the sign and turn to you, where you are waiting on one knee.

A hunting dog holding a “marry me” sign. Credit: Courtesy of Christi Holmes

Diamond Dog

If you have a trained retriever, write, “Will you marry me?” on a bumper and throw it for your dog to retrieve. Make sure your pup returns the bumper to your girlfriend though, not you.

There are also endless ideas for hiding the ring in hunting equipment for her to find. Here are a few:

  • Hide the ring in a box of ammo.
  • Put the ring inside a turkey box call.
  • Slip the ring inside her game camera right before she goes to check it

So which of these ideas did my now fiancée use on me? None. On Easter, he hid the ring in a plastic egg and hid it in our gun safe, an obvious place for a girl like me to look.

Christi Holmes is a Registered Maine Guide and Appalachian Trail thru hiker. Christi is the founder of Maine Women Hunters and works as a design engineer. She lives in Gray. Follow her @christiholmes on...