Monday, April 7, 2008

Sweet! Girls' hunting numbers are way up

There was a little flurry of excitement last week when USA Today, followed by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, touted an increase in the number of women hunters in the U.S.

Having been down that road before only to find some bizarre flaw in the data, I was skeptical. The best data available - U.S. Fish & Wildlife's survey - show that the number of women hunters is indeed greater now than it was in 1991. But it's been dropping slowly and steadily since 1996, both in numbers and as a percentage of the total U.S. female population.

But USA Today's Marty Roney uncovered a nugget from the Fish & Wildlife data that is truly cause for celebration: The number of young female hunters - ages 6 to 15 - is increasing, nearly doubling since 1991. I checked it out with Fish & Wildlife; it's for real.

First of all, cheers to all the moms and dads who have taken their girls out hunting. And based on what I've seen out in the field - and the trend of dads getting more involved with their children in general - I have to say hats off to dads, especially.

If you look closely at the data, these girls have real potential to bolster the numbers of women hunters, and hunters in general. Check this out - and click on it if you want to see all the little numbers clearly:



That group of girls in the 1991 survey? Theoretically, they grew up to become part of the women's numbers for the 2001 survey. Imagine what will happen to our numbers 10 years from now if the group of girls in 2006 stick with it.

Why does any of this matter? For starters, the more of a minority hunters become, the easier it is for us to lose our clout in the state legislatures that directly or indirectly affect our hunting rights.

But I believe there's another important component to this trend.

It's easy for the non-hunting public to write off hunters if they think we're all a bunch of drunken shoot-em-up poachers, a ragtag army of Larry the Cable Guys. Don't get me wrong - I love Larry the Cable Guy. I just don't think he's the best ambassador for hunters.

But women hunters are different. Rightly or wrongly, the non-hunting public isn't as quick to stereotype us because we are supposed to be the gentler sex. And because we defy stereotypes, I believe the non-hunting public is more inclined to listen to what we have to say about hunting. Well, if she does it, there must be something interesting going on here that I just don't understand...

So, good news all around. It's confirmation that steps we've taken to include women and girls may be making a huge difference after all. Time to redouble our efforts and solidify our gains.

© Holly A. Heyser 2008

12 comments:

Kristine said...

I definitely think you're right about female hunters defying or making people rethink the hunter stereotype.

It is definitely good news that more girls are hunting too. Kudos to all the parents who are including their daughters in hunting. It is paying off.

Phillip said...

Congrats on post #100!

It's also good to hear the numbers are really up this time. I wish that increase was across the board.

Blessed said...

This truly is good news! I'm glad to see those numbers increasing!

Marian Love Phillips said...

My congrats on your 100 post Holly. I am so proud of you! You have become your own cazadora. Good news about the increase in girls hunting. That's wonderful! Take care my friend and continue the great work on your blog. :)

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks everyone! I'm excited too - genuine good news.

And sorry for taking so long to respond. I haven't been ignoring you - it's just that my email that alerts me to comments has crashed and Network Solutions hasn't fixed it yet. Argh!

Mike Walleye said...

Well done, over 100 posts! Keep up the good work! I will also get to the 100 barrier this week ;)

Mike

Othmar Vohringer said...

Congratulations to your 100th post. I am looking forward to the next 100. As an active promoter of hunting and fishing I am happy to see more women joining our ranks. The number of children getting introduced to hunting and fishing is on the rise too. Creating the public image of hunting as a family recreational activity will go a long way to improve its negative perception.

We have more women and more children now we need to think of a way to attract the teenagers too.
-ov-

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks Othmar! Combining my love of hunting with my love of writing has been an unexpected blessing.

NorCal Cazadora said...

And Mike, too! But now you've gone and given me walleye cravings. Used to live in Minnesota ... yum ....

dog collars said...

Creating the public image of hunting as a family recreational activity will go a long way to improve its negative perception.

inchirieri apartamente cluj said...

A agree with Kristine when she says that "we definitely think you're right about female hunters defying or making people rethink the hunter stereotype.", but what I find astonishing is that girls start hunting from the age of 6. I'm having trouble believing that. Isn't it a really early age to handle guns?

NorCal Cazadora said...

I doubt that many do - I think it's just a statistical category designed to catch all. I typically hear about kids starting to hunt between ages 8 and 12. Some states have minimum age requirements. In California, you have to be old enough to understand hunter education and pass the test, which is typically 10 and older.