© By Othmar Vohringer
There are fewer hunters in America and Canada now than at any time in the past forty years. Depending on who’s talking, you’re likely to hear different reasons for that decline.
The animal rights people will tell you that it is due to their efforts in “educating” the public that animals are not here to be killed. They argue that this has created a new enlightened and compassionate society that abstains from killing animals for food and leather and other animal derived products. Yeah, right!
Some hunting organizations blame the modern world and the influence it has on our children. Children, these organizations say, would rather spend their time in front of computers and playing video games than being outdoors. It is also said that urbanization and the loss of hunting land is to blame for declining hunter numbers. Others blame the aging generation of baby boomers that are now retiring from hunting. These are some of the reasons that are partially responsible for the loss of hunter numbers. That, and perhaps the huge expenses involved in hunting these days.
Whatever the reasons are for the decline, hunting is far from doomed. Hunting organizations and the government have made considerable efforts to recruit young and new hunters with a variety of programs that should make hunting attractive. Most of these recruitment efforts are aimed at the young generation and show encouraging results.
While all this is going on a new type of hunter has quietly and almost unnoticeably joined our fold. Over the last ten years female hunters have almost tripled in numbers. Hunting, once exclusively a male dominated activity, is now heavily infiltrated with women. In fact, women are the fastest growing number of new hunters; between 1991 and 2006 alone the number of female hunters has risen from 153,000 to 299,000 according to a statistic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It is quite common these days to see hunting teams made up of husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend. Don’t think for a minute that the huntresses are merely content with tagging along in the shadow of their significant others.
This new crop of hunters is not afraid to take matters into her own hands and set her own landmarks within the hunting community. Take Brenda Valentine for example. Brenda is considered a pioneer among the ladies and has become an icon in the hunting industry. She is an accomplished and award winning outdoor writer whose articles are published by all the major hunting magazines. Brenda, affectionately referred to as “First Lady of Hunting”, is a pro-staff member of Mossy Oak and Bass-Pro Shop to name only two of a long list of companies that profit from her knowledge and immaculate reputation as one of the worlds most respected hunters. Brenda is a featured guest on many hunting videos, radio and TV-shows. As if this is not enough, she keeps a busy schedule as one of the most sought after seminar speakers in the country. She is also a mother and a grandmother.
The Women Hunters Organization™ , founded by Sue Burch, has grown from its humble beginnings to become one of the country’s largest women hunter’s only organizations and a resource for the female hunters. The Women Hunters website reads like a who’s who of huntresses that are very active in the hunting community and industry. It’s a long list that keeps growing every year.
This has created a new market in the hunting industry as more women have joined our ranks. A need for suitable equipment and apparel became necessary. Quite rightly the ladies were not satisfied wearing their male counterparts apparel. They wanted and needed their own garments that are tailored for women, not bulky men. The women did not wait for the mainstream hunting industry to catch onto the new wave. They simply started up their own hunting garment industry.
Today huntress owned companies catering to the needs of female hunters such as the Foxy Huntress, The Outdoor Women and She Safari to name a few, are household names in the hunting world providing tailor clothing for the huntress with a touch of fashion sense and style added to it.
The huntresses also make their presence felt in the outdoor blogger sphere, where they enrich our culture with wisdom, opinions, humor and a women’s view point of hunting.
Here are a few examples.
Holly A. Heyser, was not born into a hunting family like many of us were. She started hunting only a few short years ago and now has become, through her writing, an avid advocate of the hunting community. She is a reporter and professor of journalism who writes the NorCal Cazadora blog. The passion and love for the outdoors become alive in each and every article she writes.
Marian is no stranger to the blogging hunting community. A mother and grandmother, she is proud to see two generations joining her in the pursuit of hunter happiness. Her blog is dedicated to her hunting stories and those of her family and friends that bring alive the hunting tradition as a family event among good friends.
Then there’s the Wild Woods Women - the name says all. Indeed, Dana personifies the outdoor woman - you name it: hunting, fishing, biking, hiking, ATV-ing, camping, and the list goes on. She pursues it all with conviction and passion and her blog is a reflection of her love for all outdoor activities.
CD Gardens is a huntress who writes the Timber Life blog. She shares with her reader’s stories from everyday life as a mother and grandmother mixed with a healthy dose of outdoor adventures and observations.
Kristine, although not a huntress yet, is a representative of Gun Safety Innovations. Kristine loves writing and provides information from the view of a person that is fully involved in the hunting industry. On her blog Hunt Smart, Think Safety she writes about many subjects pertaining to hunting with absolute authority and that has made her a respected and accepted member of the hunting community.
Jody is the ”Hunter’s Wife” and writes on her blog stories and experiences from everyday indoor and outdoor life living with a hunter. Her blog is written with humor and charm. Jody accompanies her husband on fishing adventures and perhaps soon will join him in a hunting camp too. With Jody you just never know what she is coming up with next; that makes her blog so interesting to read.
Coming from a family where both my father and mother hunted, I am very pleased with that new trend. The rise of the huntress has made our hunting heritage a true family affair that can involve the children and both parents, which has helped hunting to become a family activity. I also firmly believe that women are much better in educating children about hunting than most men, or as Sue Burch of Women Hunters Organization™ said it so well: “Women hold the key to the future of hunting.”
Tags: Huntress, Women Hunters, Hunting Tradition, Hunting Heritage, Family Activity, Outdoors