Minnesota overall hunter numbers may be decreasing slightly, but not female hunters. That percentage of the hunting population is rising.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that while there may be a slight decrease in hunting interest overall in the state, there are more female hunters now than there have ever been.
From 2010 to 2017, the number of female hunters rose nearly three-percent, from 10 percent of the total hunter population in 2010 to around 12.7 percent in 2017.
Around 550,000 hunters purchase licenses in Minnesota annually, though that number is fluid. In 2010 55,000 of those hunters were women. Today, that number is 15,000 higher to around 70,000 female hunters. That's a greater than 27 percent increase in female hunter numbers.
This is a trend that seems to be occurring across the country. Last month we reported that Wyoming saw a 32 percent increase in the number of women hunters from 2008 to 2016. Other states seem to be increasing their numbers of female hunters as well.
Consideration for acquiring healthful, organic meat may be a big part of the reason for the increase in women wanting to hunt. Also there are issues of camaraderie and community inherent to hunting that appeal to women.
Linda Bylander runs Minnesota's Becoming An Outdoors Woman program, which looks to increase women's interest in hunting through training and education.
"The social connections are huge and I have a ton of stories about women who meet other women and continue the sport after going through these skill workshops that we offer," Bylander said.
Minnesota reports - as do other states - that its overall hunter numbers have declined, particularly in the area of upland bird hunting and duck hunting. Issues of land access are thought to be a major reason for much of the decline.
It could be that if this trend of lower hunting numbers continues, women may just be the ones who "save" hunting both politically and culturally.
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