For me, hunting has always been a way of life.
It was just what you did in a small town, and I never anticipated that hunting would become my livelihood, or that writing and producing television shows would be my way to share and inspire.
Throughout this series of “Women in Hunting,” this column will focus on a different subject each issue, describing the importance of gear for women, women as a provider, and firearms for women. I’ll also discuss custom clothing, opportunities, giving back to women who are getting started, various outreach programs, and the growing role in television and social media of women in hunting.
The inclusion of women in the outdoors has become overwhelming in the industry as more and more females are showing an interest in hunting. They demand equipment that works for them, as well as gear and hands-on field experience that do the same. The learning process is more than just sitting in Grandpa’s old plaid hunting jacket and a husband’s oversized rubber boots, shooting at targets in the backyard with a regular 12-gauge side-by-side.
LOTS OF CHANGE
The hunting world is changing. Women are often taking over as providers for their families, knowing that the world of hunting is a world of sustainability, conservation, filling the freeze,r and passing our heritage down to our children. Lots of things are evolving in the field, including firearms that are transitioning to include individuals of smaller stature, clothing to fit differently shaped bodies, and, well, toss in a few fun colors.
I was raised in a small remote town in Northern Ontario, Canada, and gender was never an issue. But, as I relocated to Southern Ontario, and to a more populated demographic area, a certain judgment started to take place. At the time, the number of women in our sport was visibly increasing by the year, especially with the success of Range Days and Take Me Hunting events. Although many were hesitant, women finally had a place to take the next step in a non- intimidating environment, mentored by other women. They were hosted by myself as well as other organizations.
INDUSTRY IS EVOLVING
Manufacturers are revolutionizing the industry.
They are showcasing women-only sections, employing female team members, and organizing events that put females front and center to host and speak, and thus to encourage, inspire, and empower others.
Hunting Outreach programs include a hands-on detailed “hunt camp” environment that covers everything from becoming comfortable with your own firearm to scouting and harvesting your animal. While in the outdoors, you learn so much more depending on the situation. You learn the tracks of other animals, scat, types of trees and plants, and how these can assist in your adventures. You also learn how to walk for a hunt, what to look for depending on the animal you are hunting, and how to ask questions that may make you feel uncomfortable otherwise. Some women may feel that they have something to prove to become a successful hunter, so they become more determined and fearless. They find a way to get it done and never give up.
IT’S ALL OK
Women have realized it is okay to be a hunter. It is okay to shoot a gun or a bow. It is okay to go out there and harvest your supper on your own, to clean it, process it, and cook it. It is okay to be a woman of the outdoors and to share the adventures with your family.
Television and social media are playing huge roles in women becoming involved in the outdoors. While some social media platforms are restricting these stories, others allow women to become more creative and to continue to share our experiences.
Young females are growing up watching a different type of role model: one that is independent, strong, and providing everything from the field to the table. Instilling this ideal in our children and keeping our hunting heritage alive is the passion of sharing our stories.
I’ll be sharing these stories in this column in future issues of the magazine. Stay tuned…