Guiding Women to the Outdoors
How women can contribute to the rise of female hunters
By: Sydney Meeks
It’s exciting to see the recent rise of female hunters. According to the Census Bureau statistics, the overall number of women hunters increased by 25% between 2006 and 2011. I truly believe that over the next few years, we will see the percentage of women hunters continue to grow.
As a female hunter, I’m constantly wondering how I can contribute to the rise. I believe women are perhaps hesitant to hunt due to one primary issue: a misunderstanding of information.
When I use the word “information,” I don’t necessarily mean that women don’t have access to proper education in hunting; I think a misinterpretation of the hunting industry exists for women. According to National Geographic, there are 13.7 million hunters in the United States, and guess what, most of those hunters are men.
Obviously, hunting brands are going to advertise to their target audience—men. From a marketing standpoint, that’s exactly who they should be advertising to; however, just because social media and advertising highlight men, that doesn’t mean the hunting industry is saying women aren’t capable hunters. I honestly don’t think that’s what’s being advertised at all. These companies simply just need to sale a product and a brand, and in what better way, than to appeal to their target audience.
Instead of feeling negative towards men being the primary focus in the hunting industry, I wish that would empower women instead. Enjoying the outdoors and hunting lifestyle should be something enjoyed by both genders. There is no need for women to feel overshadowed because at the end of the day, being in the outdoors and enjoying God’s creation is the ultimate goal and trophy in itself. My wish is for women to not feel incapable. Women need to understand the reasons we see men prominently in ads, social media, television shows, and beyond. It is simply because they are the target audience—not because we are inferior or designed to not hunt.
What Can I do?
I believe that getting more women involved in hunting truly lies in the hands of women that already have discovered the rewards of being a hunter. We can increase the number of female hunters by doing two things: providing encouragement and being a positive inspiration.
It’s easy to positively encourage those who already show an interest in hunting. When women ask me questions about which bow I prefer or which broadhead I use, I’m thrilled to answer. I think it’s so important to be kind and always remember to engage with others and share tips. Encouraging women who already have an interest in the industry is easy; however, you may ask yourself, “How do I approach women that haven’t approached me?”
For starters, approach women you feel comfortable with first—family and friends. You can start out with an easy conversation starter like sharing your favorite wild game recipe. This will certainly bring up hunting. After you engage in the conversation, you will be able to know if 1. She is against hunting or 2. She is interested. After that point, you will know how to gauge the conversation from there.
It’s crucial to actually listen to what she believes and what she is saying. Being forceful about hunting is not the right path. If she is willing to learn more and possibly even go hunting, then you’ve already reached your goal of being encouraging.
I think the overall best way to see the number of female hunters rise is by being a positive inspiration. Here are a few ways:
- Share your flaws – Everyone will miss. Whether your shoot a bow, rifle, or shotgun, you will miss at some point. Being relatable and showing your mistakes can be an attraction to other women. Sure, it’s not always fun to admit that we missed, but If we convey the message that we are perfect, then that could potentially intimidate other women.
- Reveal the rewards – Now, I’m not talking about only showing off your big game kills, consider explaining to other women the importance of experiencing what God designed us to do. As history reveals, our ancestors mastered the skillset of hunting—let’s tap into that! Let’s show women there are different ways of getting our meat rather than making a trip to the grocery store. One of the most rewarding aspects of hunting is the incredible food source we receive after harvesting an animal.
- Support others – In today’s world, I think it’s so refreshing to see positivity. At times, social media seems to be driven by negativity, especially towards women. Luckily, my experiences with other women in the outdoors on social media has been almost 100% positive. It makes me so happy when other women lift me up during the hard times. Whether through a phone call, texting me personally, or simply commenting under my picture, the support makes me feel incredible. I make it my daily challenge to compliment and lift others up when I see the opportunity to do so.
At the end of every day, I hope that I fulfill the tasks of providing encouragement and being a positive inspiration to women. I’m so grateful to those who have reached out to me with love and support, and I hope I provide others with the same incredible feelings I have received. Being compassionate is so easy, and It’s my goal to spread kindness when I can—will you accept the challenge, too? Will you help guide women to the outdoors?