Are Men Loosing Their Status in the Hunting World?

A few weeks back I was at the range sighting in a couple of rifles when a young lady sat at the bench next to me and started to load her Marlin 22 Mag.  I expected her boyfriend or father to show up at anytime, but by the time the cease fire was called, no one else had shown up.  I introduced my- self and asked if she shot here often, her answer surprised me.  “I try to shoot at least once a week, work permitting”, she said, “usually I come with my dad but I come alone if he is too busy”.  I started thinking about how many women I know who are hunters and more came to mind than expected.  You know my wife, Carol, hunts and had her own hunting television show, but there are many other prominent women in the Houston area who are big hunters too.
Our friend, Pam Zaitz, loved hunting so much that she started her own business making and selling custom women’s hunting clothes.  Her company, “SHE SAFARI” has become one of the largest hunting clothes lines in the U.S. for women and it now includes men’s hunting clothes.  Rumor has it that Pam will have her own hunting show next year too!
Another friend, Deb Cunningham, lives in the Houston area and has won the prestigious hunting award, “The Diana Award” from Safari Club International. The Diana award is for women, like the Weatherby Award is for men.  To win this award you need to have hunted on all of the continents and have shot more than 100 trophy animals.  You also must have exceptional volunteer service to the hunting community both locally and worldwide, be well liked by your peers and promote hunters and the sport of hunting as a great sportswoman.  The fact is, in Houston and the surrounding area, there are more Diana Award winners than anywhere else in the world.  I know of four in the local area.  On the other side there are also more Weatherby Award winners in the local area than anywhere else in the world too.  I can count four of them without thinking very hard. 
Many of the gun-makers have jumped on board with special rifles, shotguns, and handguns made just for women.  Stag Arms has an AR-15 type rifle which has pink accents on the receiver.  Savage Arms has bolt action hunting rifles with pink camo stocks.  Smith & Wesson have known for years that women like to have their own special guns.  The Lady Smith Model 60 revolver was designed specifically for that purpose and has been available for over 15 years.  This is just to name a few of the manufacturers who have started to build a line of firearms specifically for women.  There are several women hunting shows on cable TV.  These shows are very well received and are very well made. 
I checked with the NRA Hunting Rights and found that the fastest growing segment of hunters and shooters today are women!  Ten years ago, women made up less than 10% percent of the hunting population, but today, women hunters make up more than 25% percent.  There are many all women hunting clubs, as well as, women shooting teams.  The Olympics have classes for women shooting sports.  This should not be a threat to us men who hunt and fish.  I think it is a GREAT ADVANTAGE for several reasons.  First, I have a hunting companion who loves me as much as my sport.  Second, most women control where the money goes, it’s a lot easier to get extra money for a better South Texas deer lease or your next trip to New Mexico for Elk if she is included.  If you tell her it is for her because you want her to hunt with you and shoot the biggest buck on the lease, then she is all for it!  If she is a non-hunter, it is a pretty hard sale to tell her that she will be saving money by not having to buy meat for a year when you shoot the Big One!  I remember going on an elk hunt to Idaho and coming back to new living room furniture.  I told her that we could not afford new furniture and Carol would say “if you can afford to go elk hunting then I can afford new furniture”.  It is much easier on the pocket book to bring your wife with you hunting and to let her shoot the biggest elk in the woods than it is to come home to furniture payments for the next three years.   And the Third reason is that women influence the family lifestyle and the mindset of our future hunters and voters.  Can you imagine the future of hunting if women didn’t hunt?

The only problem I have had with my wife hunting is that she shoots bigger animals than I do. When we show up together at a hunting lodge, she seems to get all of the attention!  The outfitters seem to always have a special place for her to hunt for that special buck. In the last three years, she has brought home much bigger game animals than I have.  In fact, she now hunts more and shoots more than I do.  I have to stay at the shop and work to be able to keep her out hunting.  Maybe I should let her come home to some of her own medicine and have a new Harley or a BMW 1200LT in the driveway and tell her, “If we can afford for you to go to all over the world, hunting, then we can afford a new motorcycle.”  Yeah right! 

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