The question has been weighing on me for a number of reasons. One is an imminent visit from my sister-in-law Suzanne, who's a bowhuntress in New Jersey. Another is women I've met recently who are bowhunters, including Kirstie Pike - founder of Prois Hunting Apparel - and Julie Kreuter of the Outdoor Channel show Dream Season.
The big one is a statistic I found last fall. While the number of women who hunt with firearms is holding roughly steady, the number of women who hunt with bow and arrow has increased substantially in recent years.
Boyfriend isn't remotely interested in bowhunting, but this is one place where I'm certain our paths will diverge.
When I was a little kid, my parents bought me a toystore longbow, and I absolutely loved it. We lived on five acres of undeveloped land - part of it covered with weeds, part of it an excavation project where sand removal left giant pits and mountains - and I was out playing with that thing all the time. It's the closest I ever got to hunting as a kid, though I just had target arrows and never aimed them at any critters.
When I was in college and hadn't yet figured out a way to dodge P.E., archery was going to be the class I took.
And as a fan of postapocalyptic fiction, it's always on my mind: If civilization collapses and we can't run down to the supermarket for our dinner, how would I gather my food after the ammunition runs out? You can make a longbow with readily available materials (go Tred Barta!); guns and ammo, however, will not last forever.
But that's just me. I really would love to hear from other bowhuntresses out there about why you love it. And at some point, of course, I'll be asking for tips. It's inevitable.
© Holly A. Heyser 2008