Martin Banks 06.29.23
Since the dawn of our species, hunting has been an extremely male-dominated activity. Men had better strength and conditioning which made them more equipped to pursue animals over long distances; however, hunting has become much more egalitarian in recent years, thanks to a number of factors. Thus, welcoming in female hunters and making it more acceptable than ever before.
Women Enjoy Hunting for the Same Reasons as Men
Sometimes the answer to a question is so obvious that everyone fails to see it. As it turns out, women enjoy hunting for the same reasons as men. According to a 2017 survey of hunters conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, people like to hunt for three main reasons:
- They enjoy spending time in nature.
- They rely on hunting as a consistent food source.
- They want to spend more time with their family.
Men and women are different in many ways, but still have the same innate human desires. Who doesn’t love being outdoors, eating great food, and spending time with loved ones? Hunting allows people to indulge all of those desires in a positive way.
Other Reasons for the Rise in Female Hunters
Although nature, food, and family are the biggest reasons for the rise in female hunters, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Some important external factors have helped more women get into hunting and other traditionally male-dominated outdoor activities.
1. Modern Weaponry
The advancement of modern weaponry has made hunting much more accessible. Old hunting rifles used to be heavy and required an ultra-steady hand to shoot accurately. Today’s hunting rifles are lightweight, less prone to jamming and have numerous attachments available. Women and children can now become avid hunters and safely operate high-powered firearms.
Aside from rifles, the rapid growth of bow hunting has also given women another reason to get into hunting. Although bow hunting is undoubtedly more challenging, you can adjust the bow’s draw weight, sights and many other features to tune the weapon to your liking. Bow hunting’s allure and customization options have given the sport more attention from both sexes.
2. Lower Risk of Injury
Hunting will always be a dangerous activity, but today’s hunters have many resources at their disposal to minimize the risk of injury. They can use detailed maps to study the hunting grounds and avoid getting lost. Hunters also have advanced first aid kits and protective gear. Camouflage laws, the buddy system, and gun safety practices have all made hunting much safer. Men were traditionally the hunters because their strength enabled them to take on the more dangerous tasks. Now that the sport is much safer, women feel more confident going into the field independently.
3. Family Legacy
Many women become hunters because they’re simply born into the lifestyle. They might have the opportunity to pursue other interests, but choose to carry on the family legacy and become skilled hunters. Women didn’t have the privilege to make such a choice for much of human history.
You can find this trend in other male-dominated outdoor activities including fishing. The Maine Department of Marine Resources reported in 2016 that women held around 8% of the state’s lobstering licenses. That number has shot up by 15% just four years later. Many of these women came from coastal families and wanted the same careers as their grandfathers, fathers, and brothers.
4. More Role Models
Everyone needs a role model, regardless of their hobby or profession. Many female hunters have become social media stars and great role models for women including Melissa Bachman, Nikki Boxler, and Amanda Lynn Mayhew. When young women see these highly successful public figures, they feel more empowered to take up the sport and build their own legacy.
Support Your Local Female Hunters
Although hunting has made great strides regarding gender equality, it’s still a male-dominated activity. Male hunters must provide a welcoming environment for their female counterparts and support their interest. Otherwise, they’re on the wrong side of history.