Ladies: Here’s Why You Should Be Bowhunting This Year.
Girls and women – whether you’re 14 or 40, tall or short, single or married, or even blonde or brunette – it’s time to expand your archery skills and become a bowhunter. If you haven’t yet grabbed your bow and arrows and ventured into the woods, wait no longer. The 2017 season is approaching, and you have just enough time to gather your gear, practice and prepare.
Sure, you’re nervous and have your doubts, but fear not. Bowhunting’s fun challenges get you close to nature and boost your self-worth, self-reliance and self-confidence. Bowhunting also helps you grow physically and mentally, and teaches patience, ethics and appreciation.
Best of all, bowhunting connects you to a community with a shared passion for the outdoors. Throughout your bowhunting adventures, you’ll meet outdoor-oriented people, exchange banter and likely make friends while simultaenously filling photo albums and making memories.
Although this a personal choice, let’s review more reasons for ladies to try bowhunting.
Women Stand Strong
Joelle Selk, former president of the Montana Bowhunter’s Association, discussed how she began bowhunting in a web exclusive on MeatEater with Steven Rinella. Selk also explained the challenges of recruiting women into bowhunting. The inspiring video clip contains a powerful message: “Women can exist as individuals, independent of men,” Selk said. “They can be strong leaders, and gain fulfillment on their own.”
Selk and other well-known female bowhunting superstars quietly and proudly prove why women have long been active in archery and bowhunting, and often own or play prominent roles at large companies in the industry.
Think about Eva Shockey, daughter to pro hunter and TV personality, Jim Shockey. Eva wrote a book titled, “Taking Aim.” The about section describes Eva as “an acclaimed bowhunter who defies the stereotype that hunting is a man’s game.” She is at the forefront of the new wave of women and girls who are passionate about outdoor sports. According to her Facebook page, she tries to balance hunting, femininity and family into what she considers the best lifestyle in the world.
Also consider Tiffany Lakosky, a huge personality on the Outdoor Channel. She is a part of the TV show, “The Crush with Lee & Tiffany,” and works alongside her husband to crush some of the biggest and best game there is. Her TV presence has made her a popular female hunter with a big following; many women, kids and young girls watch the show and take up hunting because of her.
Brenda Valentine is another big bowhunter. She coined herself the “First Lady of Hunting,” because she loves the outdoors, is an advocate for guns and hunting, and has played a big role in the women’s hunting movement. Valentine is a spokesperson for the National Wild Turkey Federation and is an award-winning TV host and outdoor writer.
These women are influential and inspirational, and serve as role models to the female hunting community. Follow their lead, focus on your strengths, be powerful and know your value.
Gaining Numbers and Momentum
Historically, of course, bowhunting was dominated by men. But that’s changing. More women than ever are breaking barriers, arrowing animals, and learning more about themselves and the natural world around them.
For instance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported 1.8 million female hunters in 2001, but 3.3 million in 2013. That’s 1.5 million more women – an 85 percent increase – who opened their eyes and their hearts to trying something new over that 12-year period. And they likely got hooked! Check out NSSF’s infographic for more cool stats about female hunters.
With more females hunting, there’s no better time to try bowhunting. Archery stores carry gear tailored for women, and female mentors are becoming regulars in mentor programs, which makes female beginners feel more comfortable as they learn the sport.
Bowhunting also gives you opportunities to harvest your own venison, which is lean, locally sourced, organically grown and rich in protein. Venison is a healthy alternative to beef and can be prepared simply and easily. Bowhunting also gives you the benefit of knowing exactly where your food comes from. This meshes nicely with the increasingly popular field-to-fork movement, so if you ride that wave you’ll be preparing wild meat like a pro.
Wildlife Thanks You
And here’s yet another bowhunting benefit: Each time you buy a hunting license and equipment, you’re making “donations” to state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal excise taxes are applied on the sale of bows, arrows and bow accessories, thanks to the Wildlife Restoration Act, which is more commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act. That money is then distributed to state wildlife agencies to fund high-priority conservation projects like habitat restoration, wildlife research and public-access programs.
Those efforts ensure hunting and bowhunting opportunities are around for generations to come. In fact, by bowhunting, you help preserve our planet and protect our wildlife. More hunters means more financial contributions to improve fishing, hunting, shooting and wildlife-associated recreation.
Become a Bowhunter
Besides embracing all those practical reasons, women who take up bowhunting enjoy spending quiet time in the woods, which is great for relaxation and peace of mind. Maybe that’s also why more women than ever are taking to the woods. They aren’t just becoming bowhunters. They’re becoming part of something much bigger.
For those reasons and more, bowhunting has many rewards. So, why wait? Visit an archery store to gear up and get started. While you’re there, ask about nearby mentor programs, hunter-education courses, and introductory bowhunting classes. Don’t be shy to say this is your first experience bowhunting, and that you appreciate tips and guidance. Most bowhunters are eager to help newcomers find success.