Somehow I missed this story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday, but thanks to the TFS Magnum blog, I've found it. The upshot: Despite declining demand for hunting licenses overall, the number of women hunters is increasing, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
I've seen other stories recently that referred to this new data, but this story's pretty thorough. Here's a snippet:
"Something is happening with women and hunting," (said said Mark Duda of Responsive Management, a Virginia firm that tracks and interprets outdoors trends).Question No. 1: What happened to us in the 1990s?
Cultural change, societal acceptance and a concerted recruitment effort by state game agencies and shooting and hunting organizations has driven the spike in female interest that began 30 years ago, flattened in the 1990s, and peaked again at the start of this century.
Question No. 2: If there was a spike 30 years ago, why do Boomers often look at me like I'm a freak?
Question No. 3: As a total numbers geek and spreadsheet freak, how long will it take me to report back to you with my own take on the USFWS stats?
It's not easy to find the report or the stats - they're not on the main FWS website. But I called and got directions (chick thing - ha!), and found a veritable playground of data and analysis here.
I'll chew on this stuff a bit soon and see what else is of interest and report back to y'all. One thing I'm looking forward to is the data on non-whites. I know I think I'm a rare bird, but in my hunting circles, non-whites are even more rare. Given the changing demographics of California in particular and the U.S. in general, welcoming other ethnicities into the tribe of hunters will be important for the survival of the sport (and I hate the word "sport" to describe hunting because this is not a football game, but I'll use it for lack of a better term).
One thing I know you'll never see, though, are special hunts for certain ethnic groups, the way women get special hunts. People would freak. And that raises the question: Is it really fair for women to get special hunt opportunities?