According to statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number of female hunters increased from almost 14% to 16.5% between 2002 and 2009. Increases were across the board in archery, firearms, and muzzleloader, with participation in muzzleloader hunting actually more than doubling.
We asked some female hunters why they hunt, how they got started, and about their experiences in general, starting with some of our Associates, and we've also asked customers and fans. We'll feature their responses over the course of the hunting season...good luck and be safe!
Kellie R. - Many Seasons to Go
"I got into hunting with my partner, Tim, soon after we met...it helped that I am also the Firearms Specialist in the Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Department! Tim has been hunting since childhood. As a kid, I was always fishing, camping, and boating with family. As a young adult, I focused more on sports. I've always spent as much time as I could in the outdoors, for as long as I can remember. Tim and I began to focus on getting me ready to move on to hunting.
"We set myself up with a bow and everything else needed to be ready for the 2011 bow season. The encouragement, teaching, and skills that I got from Tim gave me the focus and determination I needed to prepare for what was ahead... new adventures!
"I have patience, so that wasn't a challenge, but making myself sit still was difficult. I was in a blind for most of my hunts, so that helped calm me down, since I was still able to move when I needed.
This year I'll hunt from a treestand, so there are going to be many more challenges to come!"
Hunting, like anything, is a learning experience, we asked Kellie about her most memorable experience that first year.
"My favorite and worst experiences are one in the same.
"I was patient and didn't shoot at the first deer that came within reach. When I did take my first shot at a doe, I hit her dead on. I sat and waited with excitement for Tim to meet me at the arranged time, to tell him about my shot, and to start tracking her. When he arrived, I was still shaking from the experience. We found my arrow soaked with blood and we began to track. A great trail blood led everywhere...pools of it for 30 or so yards...but then nothing. We looked and looked but no more blood and no deer.
"It was a great day for me, but also terrible... killed a deer with my first shot, but no recovery. The experience only heightened my drive to hunt even harder.
"Then shot gun season came along...first time for this, too. I thought, "If I can hit a deer with an arrow, then shooting a gun at a deer should be cake!"
"The first and only shot I took was on a decent-sized buck. I missed...and he bolted away, shaking his tail as if to say "no, no, no!"
My experiences are very few, but very powerful...and what every hunter goes through. Was I disappointed that my first season resulted in no deer? Absolutely. But, the lessons I learned, the time we've shared in the outdoors, and the stories from simply one season are forever engraved in my mind."
Stay tuned for more feature stories from Women Who Hunt!
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