The number of women spending time in deer hunting tree stands continues to be on the rise. Although men still account for the majority of the 13.7 million U.S. hunters, the number of women actively hunting is steadily increasing.
The total number of U.S. women hunters grew by 25 percent between 2006 and 2011, after holding steady for a decade, according to Census Bureau statistics. At last count, 11 percent of U.S. hunters were women.
And in Minnesota, over the past 12 years there’s been a nearly 50 percent increase of women who buy deer hunting licenses. Thirteen years ago, 50,000 women bought licenses. Last year, women bought 72,000.
One reason for the increase is that manufacturers have grown wise to an untapped market. Retailers now sell hunting gear in feminine colors, like pink camo, and manufacturers are producing smaller firearms to better fit a woman’s body.
Also, many states (including Arkansas and Minnesota, where Potlatch sells recreational property) offer BOW (Becoming Outdoors Women) workshops or other classes specifically tailored to women.
Jody Osterloh, of Close Converse, a Potlatch Preferred Broker in Minnesota, sees this as part of a larger trend, because women are more and more involved in the purchase and use of recreational land. “It’s become more of a family decision,” she says.
Jody prefers fishing to hunting, and each year loads up a canoe and takes extended fishing trips with her family.
Organizations like WAM (Women Anglers of Minnesota) provide opportunities for women and children to improve their skills by fishing for a variety of species.
Whatever your interest, whether it’s hunting or fishing, gender is no barrier to enjoying the great outdoors.