Ladies Day Outdoors: BFA's Larry Moore interviews two of the many women who are joining the hunt
By Larry S. Moore
Women represent the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports and hunting.
The National Sporting Goods Association survey results indicated that women participating in hunting increased by 75 percent over the last five years. The Association estimates there are 3 million women hunting and as many as 5 million shooting regularly. The number of women hunting with bows has increased by 176 percent.
I talked to two women who recently started hunting to get their views.
Jenny White - Career move leads to new life as a hunter
A short three years ago Jenny White had not considered hunting or firearms ownership. Today she is an enthusiastic hunter eager to help spread the word. White works at Gander Mountain but it was her retail management experience rather than outdoor experience that landed her the job.
White notes, "After starting at Gander Mountain, I became interested in the firearms and bows. We are also a deer check station so I heard the fascinating hunter stories that seemed to be with every deer. I still wasn't sure about killing an animal."
A co-worker invited her to go hunting. After some deliberation White accepted. "The first advice I was given was don't wear the high heels and get some camo clothing. After obtaining an apprentice hunting license, we got dressed up all crazy in camo and went hunting. I saw deer, birds, squirrels and other animals that had no idea we were in the woods. Finally, during the muzzle loading season, I got a shot but missed. I was very concerned that I had wounded an animal. I thought about that for quite some time."
Finally White was able to take her first deer in 2008 with a crossbow. "I am hooked on the entire experience of hunting. It's not about killing something. It's the seasons and the complete outdoor experience. If I'm successful the additional meat is a bonus. I love being outdoors experiencing the interaction with nature and fellow hunters." A bonus for White is that her fiancé is an avid waterfowl hunter so she will have another season to enjoy the experience. I just hope they can actually schedule the wedding between hunting seasons!
Kathern Covey - Mom's gone hunting
Kathern Covey is another new hunter who comes from a non-hunting family although she's enjoyed many types of outdoor recreation. "Growing up we spent weekends hiking at various areas such as Aullwood or Cox Arboretum. During college I especially enjoyed the bike trails. Our family, which includes my husband and two daughters, enjoy camping and exploring the outdoors. Outdoor recreation builds closeness with the family."
Covey was first attracted to hunting after hearing co-workers describe their experiences. After some investigation she said, "I felt like hunting was calling out to me to complete the full circle of nature." So she started finding more information about hunting, tried different types of shotguns with some friends and took the ODNR Division of Wildlife home study hunter education course.
She continued, "Preparing to hunt was exciting! Learning how to properly handle my crossbow, position myself and sitting without moving were all rewarding challenges. I've spent many beautiful mornings enjoying the sunrise, the birds waking up, toads rolling under leaves, and squirrels stopping right in front of me while I've been out. I've also learned that it's not quite as easy as I thought it would be! Camouflage, preparation, and a great spot still don't insure you'll see a deer cross your path. But just being able to stop, take a break from all of today's electronics, breathe in the fresh air, and just being myself are well worth the money spent on hunting supplies.”
"It's so exciting to see game spring up in front of you, to hear the baying of the hounds or watch the flash of a Brittany weaving among the tall grasses. Sharing stories with fellow sportsmen and women about the one that got away, or the best way to wash your hunting gear has been fantastic. It's like belonging to a great club where everyone hopes everyone else is successful. One of the best things about hunting is that no matter how bad a day I've had, or how stressful other aspects of life are, a trip out to the woods settles the mind and helps me to reflect on what really matters," she concluded.
Both White and Covey are fortunate to have friends who have been mentors as they start hunting. It still takes a hunter to make a new hunter. For women interested in the outdoors the following web sites offer programs or information especially for women. It's always great to see the ladies in the great outdoors!
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award and 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year. Mr. Moore also serves as Greene County Republican Central Committee Member.
The Women in the Outdoors offers programs in many aspects of hunting and fishing: http://www.womenintheoutdoors.org/wito/?SUBSITE=wito
Becoming an Outdoors Woman are national workshops which are hosted in Ohio by the ODNR Division of Wildlife at Recreation Unlimited north of Columbus. The 2010 workshop is scheduled for October 1, 2 and 3.
select Experience Wildlife and follow links to more information on Becoming an Outdoor Woman.
The OutdoorsForHer website offers educational information, online forums, product reviews and tips all geared toward women, http://www.outdoorsforher.com/