Calling All Females: Give Bowhunting a Try!
Wildlife doesn’t discriminate.
A white-tailed deer doesn’t know if the camo-covered human watching its every move is man or woman, nor does it care. So why does society?
It’s time to put bias and traditions aside and join the ranks of women nationwide who enjoy bowhunting. Take Holly Miller for example. She’s a 32-year-old cosmetologist from Alma, Wisconsin, who didn’t view gender as an obstacle when she started bowhunting in 2008 after her boyfriend (now husband) gave her a bow.
“I think women are just as capable as men when it comes to bowhunting,” Miller said. “We might be smaller in stature, and sometimes not quite as strong physically, but I think we make up for it in different ways.”
Miller loves all aspects of bowhunting, including shooting her bow, being in the woods, filling the freezer with high-protein venison and swapping hunting stories with friends and families. She hunts regularly with her husband for elk, bear, turkey and white-tailed deer.
Another dedicated woman bowhunter, 56-year-old Deb Colgrove from Nebraska, is proof women can hold their own in the sport.
“I’ve always said if I’m going to do something, I must understand it all,” Colgrove said.
And she has. Colgrove has hung stands, scouted new hunting spots and learned to recognize rubs, scrapes and travel corridors. She’s field-dressed her own deer and has assisted in processing the meat from start to finish.
Although she admits dragging a heavy deer out of a ravine would be challenging, she’s not afraid to ask her husband, Kent, for help to continue doing something she loves.
Colgrove works in the archery industry and became a USA Archery Level 3 coach/instructor to introduce others to the sport. She prefers bowhunting trips in South Africa over beach vacations and highly recommends other women try bowhunting, because “the hunt isn’t just about the kill, it’s about the experience.”
Anne-Marie Reed, an eighth-grade student at Locustgrove Middle School in Oklahoma, savors her time in the woods and bowhunts with her father every chance she gets. However, she’s disappointed more girls don’t join the fun.
“I have a few friends that bowhunt, but the sad thing is most of them are guys,” Reed said. “I don’t have many girlfriends that hunt, but I think they would really enjoy hunting.”
Reed said being a female in a male-dominated sport makes her feel empowered and gives her the confidence to do other things.
She loves watching wildlife, prepping for hunts with her father and getting her hands dirty when their hard work pays off. She doesn’t play sports through school, but instead joined the National Archery in the Schools Program to improve her archery skills and prepare herself to bowhunt.
Reed is only 14 years old, but has great advice for all women.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl,” Reed said. “It makes me very upset to hear girls say, ‘you can’t [bowhunt] because you’re a girl.’ That’s not true! I think anyone is capable of doing whatever they set their mind to. Bowhunting isn’t for everyone, but I think everyone should at least try it.”
Miller agrees. “I one-hundred-percent think women of all ages can and should try shooting a bow or bowhunting if it’s something they’re interested in. Shooting a bow is a great activity, even if you don’t want to actually hunt an animal.”
And that’s the best part. Even if you take up archery or bowhunting, there’s no rule that says you have to kill an animal. If the opportunity presents itself, and you don’t feel comfortable or confident taking a shot, then don’t.
At least you gave it a chance. But, odds are, you’ll fall in love with it just like Reed, Miller and Colgrove did.
If you have questions or need a nudge, visit your local archery shop for tips, gear, information and more.