In 2019, the face of hunting, particular bow hunting, is changing. Over the past 10 years, the total number of women hunters has steadily increased, accounting for more than 11 percent of total hunters in the woods each season. According to the Archery Trade Association, 4 million women currently are involved in archery either as a target sport or as bowhunters – and it is anticipated this number will only continue to grow. Whether this increase is due to changing perceptions, growing interest or better reporting, the face of archery hunting as a whole is changing, and that’s a good thing.
Although the ATA reports that women now account for 16 percent of all active bowhunters, manufacturers in the outdoors industry are just starting to catch up, and lady bowhunters are still facing substantially more backlash — all the more proof that such a meeting of the female minds was long overdue.
Getting out in the woods is a great thing, offering numerous benefits. There’s a lot to be said for venturing out to the forest or field and harvesting your own meat, without the need for a grocery store. Hunting brings with it a great sense of accomplishment and pride. Though the sport has long been thought of as a man’s activity, in recent years, more and more women have begun taking out the bow, proving that they can be just as skilled hunters as their male counterparts.
This is giving rise to female bowhunting superstars like Eva Shockey, Tiffany Lakosky, “First Lady of Hunting” Brenda Valentine and Joelle Selk, to name a few. These strong, skilled women are proving that women can slay in more ways than one, giving rise to more and more females choosing to pick up the bow and get into the woods. Women have long been active in bow hunting, quietly and proudly proving their skill. These and other ladies are at the forefront of the new wave of women and girls who are passionate about outdoor sports.
No Longer Just a Man’s World
States are making way for the rise of women archers, offering bowhunting basics courses to sharpen skills and teach technique. These courses also focus on education, empowering women to learn everything they can about bow hunting and the outdoors. Women are making memories in the woods with the people they love, all while putting food on the table.
Women are finding doors opening for them in this typically male-dominated world, proving themselves through their bowhunting skills. Women are also focusing on the strength training and exercise needed for dominance in the woods. While it’s not necessary to be a top athlete, bow hunting does require some degree of fitness. Train to hunt provides training and conditioning programs specifically geared towards hunters to keep them at the top of their game.
Manufacturers are including women archers in their product lines, producing bows specifically designed for women, as well as the gear and accessories needed for a successful and productive hunt.
Cable networks and various YouTube channels air a variety of programming featuring women hunters at the helm. They’re not there simply to fill a quote or add a pretty face. These women, like the Outdoor Channel’s Tiffany Lakosky, have become popular figures and role models for this sport, often bagging some of the biggest game the woods have to offer, and they’re doing so because they genuinely enjoy it.
For all the women and girls out there who have been told they can’t or shouldn’t hunt, that they should focus their efforts on something else, that only guys can hunt, they needn’t look very far. Women in the sport, like Eva Shockey and others, are influential and inspirational, and serve as role models to the female hunting community. They invite women and girls everywhere to their lead, focus on their strengths, be powerful and know their value.
If you are a woman thinking about hunting archery, or just looking for a new hunting spot, there is plenty of land for sale in Michigan to bag that trophy animal. Get out in the woods and show everyone who’s boss.