You’ve probably heard recently that women are the fastest growing group of gun owners in the United States. But did you know that the second most important reason women own a firearm is for hunting? The number of women interested in hunting has skyrocketed in recent years. From 2003 to 2013, there was a 43.5% increase resulting in 3.35 million female hunters.
But unless you grew up in a hunting family, getting out into the woods may be easier said than done....
Growing up, none of my family hunted. We appreciated the lifestyle but it was never a tradition of ours. However, I was always determined to change that.
I would casually mention to friends of friends that I’d like to go hunting, but nothing ever came of it. So, I decided to take maters into my own hands.
First things first, I went to my state’s Department of Natural Recourses, or DNR, website (Note that some states’ DNR go by a different name. The information was a little overwhelming but I found out the first thing I needed to do was take a hunter’s education course. The website had links to several different courses accepted by my state so I signed up, took the course, passed, and received my certification card.
After completing the course, I was able to purchase my hunting licenses, duck stamps, and HIP number (Harvest Investigation Program which manages the harvest of migratory birds).
But then, I was stumped.
I asked for help. A lot. To the point where I was annoying. I asked hunters whenever I could if they had an opportunity to teach someone new to let me know. I would explain that I was all set with my course and licenses, had my own firearms, and already owned some camo. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to help. Hunters love sharing their passion and knowledge with others. But living in a city, access to land was hard to come by.
And then one day.....I got the opportunity to go on a spring turkey hunt! I wish I could tell you I bagged my first bird that day. But, something you’ll learn is that hunting isn’t just about taking game. It’s about connecting with nature and bonding with other hunters. It was truly an experience I’ll never forget.
Since that day, I’ve continued making contacts with hunters who have access to lands around the state, purchased a little more gear, and tried to keep my calendar open when the seasons roll around.
Starting something new isn’t always easy. You have to put in the work, interest, and effort to get where you want to be. Trust me, the reward is more than worth it.
I’m not the only woman who has dealt with this obstacle. Thankfully, as the number of female hunters rise, more and more resources are becoming available to get women out into the field.
Here are some tips and resources to utilize if you’re new to hunting:
Take a hunter safety course before anything else. You’ll learn A LOT!
Make sure you have the correct hunting licenses and that they are up-to-date.
Find a mentor, someone who will show you the ropes and get you out into the woods.
Connect with a women’s hunting group like Becoming an Outdoor-Woman or other organizations found through your state’s DNR. You can also sign up for a guided hunt through a hunting outfitter.
Don’t go crazy buying new clothing and gear. Try to borrowing things at first before learning what you need to then invest in.
Verse yourself in your state’s laws, seasons, and bag limits. Read up on the different types of land you can hunt on as well: private, state, and federal. All of this and more can be found on the DNR website.
Ask questions and do your research. Hunters love sharing their knowledge and will be happy to help you. It’s all about passing down the tradition!
Try hunting different types of game to find your interests.