How to Save Hunting

Women Deer-Hunting

The Liberated Woman Can Save Hunting

Since the dawn of time, Man has been a hunter, but until very recently, Woman stayed home and cleaned the fish and sewed quilts; a societal norm we do not see much anymore. Today, in most every area of our society, women are de jure, if not de facto, equal to men in every way. But equality in the hunting sports has not been attained. Hunting is an activity that has historically been dominated by men, but the trend is changing, which is a good thing.

One of the results of societal changes over the past five decades has been the liberation of women. I don’t mean liberated like the bra burners of the 60’s and 70’s, but liberated in that most women are no longer burdened with a pre-conceived notions of what they can, or more importantly, what they cannot do. Most women have been raised to believe they can participate in activities that have been, until recently, reserved almost exclusively for men, and one of those activities is hunting.

woman duck huntingIn recent years, while the number of men who hunt has been trending downward, women hunters, in terms of both real numbers and as a percent of the population, have increased significantly. Across all age groups, income and education levels, more and more women are taking up hunting. And the trend is even more pronounced in the critically important 6-15 year-old category, where fully 19% of the kids who took to the woods were female, almost double the number ten years ago.

“So what?” you may ask. Why is an upsurge in the number of female hunters important? The answer becomes obvious at the ballot box.

If you don’t already know it, as a politically viable activity, hunting is in trouble. With less than 20% of the American population going afield last year, the potential for hunting to go the way of the Edsel and the dodo bird is a real possibility. Changing demographics and societal norms, an aging hunter population and limited access to public land are all contributing factors to hunting’s waning numbers. And while other solutions are being implemented, the best and most effective plan for preserving the future of hunting is to be inclusive of women in our sport.

Women comprise better than 50% of the American population. They are the single largest group of potential new hunters, and in my experience, are focused, more coachable, and quick to understand that hunting is about more than the kill shot and an Instagram post. Quite literally, women are the key to the long-term future of hunting and should be made to feel welcome at the communal campfire. Anyone who thinks different, is either an idiot or a Neanderthal…or both.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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