Women in the outdoor sports: Making an impact!
There always have been women who fished, hunted, shot guns and enjoyed the outdoors. But it seems like in the past couple of decades the number of women entering the world of outdoor sports has increased exponentially. Manufacturers are designing lines of clothing, firearms, fishing gear, and everything in between to fit the profile of the woman who takes to the woods and waters. It’s a good thing for outdoor sports.
So what is responsible for this burgeoning population of women in the outdoors? It’s just my opinion, but I believe it’s experienced women pushing their peers who have always wanted to partake in the outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and shooting; they just didn’t know how.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a program that was developed in 1991 by Christine Thomas, an associate dean and professor of resource management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources. It began when Christine started researching the reasons why more women didn’t participate in outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. She determined that women prefer to learn outdoor skills in a non-competitive atmosphere taught by other women. Since its inception Becoming an Outdoors Woman has expanded to 44 states and nine Canadian provinces, with many offering multiple programs throughout the year. Women are interested in learning outdoor skills and when the opportunity is offered, they are lining up in great numbers for the chance to be involved.
As more women begin promoting the outdoor sports through content programs like television, radio, print publications and social media stars are born. For many anglers the Lindner brothers or Kevin Van Dam are their heroes. Down south it may be Roland Martin or Bill Dance. Now woman are producing their own celebrities to follow.
In the upper Midwest keep your eyes on Barb Carey. She has made an impact on women in Wisconsin with her Wisconsin Women who Fish, and she is branching out to create some major buzz in the world of ice fishing as a Clam Outdoors pro-staffer. She works hard promoting the outdoor sports to women and is an outstanding role model. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to stay current with her adventures.
In the hunting world one of the most visible women is Eva Shockey. It doesn’t hurt that her father is legendary hunter Jim Shockey, but Eva hunts hard and as a co-host on her father's show she shows the world that she is capable of killing some fine animals. She is also the first woman to grace the cover of Field and Stream in 30 years.
And woman are communicating their love of the sports. I’m following a blog by Krissie Mason on her first wild boar hunt where she reminisces about her mother’s love of hunting and how it is now becoming a tradition she wishes to honor.
Outdoor News has some outstanding women providing stories for their publications and web sites. Sharon Stiteler, also known as the “Birdchick” is into, well, birds.
Kristen Monroe loves to hunt and fish and knows how to tell a great story when she’s done killing and catching. She is also a strong supporter of the shooting sports and promotes women getting into all forms of rifle, shotgun and pistol shooting.
There are many more women who are already role models for those who want to take their passion for the outdoors to a new level. The outdoor sports are growing and it is on the backs of the women who are finally turning out in numbers to show what is still a male-dominated arena how they can successfully impact the world of outdoor sports.