|Kristin Fritz, assistant refuge and district manager at Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, after a successful goose hunt. Photo Credit: Brian Simon.
Hunting has traditionally been a male-dominated activity. According to most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation in 2011, women constitute only 11% of the U.S. hunting population. With less exposure for this minority group and fewer experienced women to mentor new women, barriers for participation and entry remain high.
One by one, state wildlife agencies have been creating new hunter recruitment programs which are more inclusive or specifically aimed at minority groups, including women, youth and new adult hunters. Many of these programs offer new motivations for hunting and changing the perception behind the hunter and the hunt. They are bringing the concept of hunting for food and empowering hunters to provide sustainable food to their families and communities to the forefront. This approach, along with emphasizing camaraderie and self-confidence built in hunting, is the heart of a new chapter in hunting.
Women are challenging hunting as a male-dominated activity with the help of their families and mentors, and new recruitment programs. Joanna Gilkeson of our Midwest Region tracked down Service employees with various levels of hunting experience to ask how they became involved in hunting and why they stay engaged.
Meet five women who are part of the 11%