In a nation that boasts about equal pay for equal work and female participation in the armed forces, should anyone be surprised that more women are joining men as hunters? Yes, women are becoming hunters in growing numbers.
Most people don’t think much about it, but predatory instinct is common to both male and female. In the coyote den, it’s not just the male that leaves to hunt while the female nurtures their young. In the eagle’s nest, it’s not just the male that brings fish back for the eaglets. Even your pampered cat, though she may spend most of her time indoors, will illustrate her hunting prowess by laying songbirds at your doorstep. Clearly, hunting is not just a male trait. So hunters should respect and appreciate human females who hunt. Here are several reasons why.
1. To Kill the Stereotypes
We’re doing away with stereotypes everywhere, and it’s time we kill the stereotypes in hunting, too. Last deer season Sister John Paul Bauer of St. Marys, PA, came under vicious Facebook fire from critics around the world for shooting a nice 10-point buck. Much of it came from people who consider themselves liberal, but there’s nothing liberal about condemning women who break a stereotype.
2. To Win the Public Relations War
Today colleges have more female than male students, and women are filling jobs everywhere from construction sites to corner offices. Women are finding out it’s OK to be hunters, too, and the multiplying ranks of women hunters should convince the public that hunters are legitimate, and play an important role in wildlife management. A lot is riding on this because the public is made up of many non-hunters who need to be convinced of the value of hunting. In fact, if we don’t win this public relations war, and the public mistakenly decides hunters are bad for wildlife, then it won’t be long before hunting sees its last days.
3. To Hear Their Voices
Advertisers often use those little household vignettes where one character is the voice of wisdom. Often that voice comes from a strong, intelligent woman. Vikki Trout of Indiana has that kind of voice. Before her husband died tragically from cancer, they were partners in writing for the outdoor magazines and photographing wildlife. She continues as an effective ambassador for hunting with consistent, pro-hunting messages. So if more and more positive female voices speak out for hunting, people won’t see hunting as the blood sport of Neanderthal men.
4. To Reverse the Decline
We can no longer expect to reverse the decline of hunters’ numbers by recruiting more boys, because today’s smaller families produce fewer boys. And sadly, in many families Dad isn’t around to take Junior hunting. Fortunately, as women take up hunting, the world sees a new role model for young boys and girls alike. In Pennsylvania, the number of women who buy hunting licenses has grown by 40% in the last seven years. If you’ve ever looked up into a treestand and seen a woman in it you’ve noticed this trend.
5. To Keep Our Right to Bear Arms
If hunters are to continue as a political force for the right to bear arms, we need women. The Second Amendment has never been about hunting, but without it we’ll have fewer hunters. Why shouldn’t modern women have the same right frontier women had? And why should it matter whether they bring home the bacon from the supermarket or from the swamp?
There you have it – five reasons to appreciate women hunters. Want more? In the ongoing struggle to continue financing wildlife management, we need women. Women will help the public overcome the tendency to see wildlife management through an emotional lens, and to see hunting for what it is – food acquisition, camaraderie in the field, learning and teaching about the natural world, providing room in the habitat for new generations of wildlife, and changing the public perception of hunting from a consumer mentality to a caring-for-nature mentality. If those messages come from women and not just men, the public will listen and women will no longer be seen as exceptions in a world of male hunters.
When “The Everyday Hunter” isn’t hunting, he’s thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting. To read more of Steve Sorensen’s thoughts about hunting, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com.