Colorado gets creative to grow the number of women and youth interested in hunting.
A new program by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is aiming to grow exposure to hunting among women, youth, and other inexperienced hunters. According to a statement issued by CPW, the Hunter Outreach Program aims to “teach all novice and inexperienced hunters in the knowledge, skills, ethics, and traditions of hunting.”
The Hunter Outreach program is expected to provide anyone with the desire to learn about hunting or how to hunt with the necessary skills and training to safely enter the sport. Along with classroom-type educational sessions and courses, mentored hunts are available for participants.
The mentored hunts are available in the fall. Beginning hunters can participate in the mentored hunts for big game, pheasants, and waterfowl.
The Women Afield Program is another offering by the CPW. Much like the Youth Hunting Program, which offers courses for those as young as 10 years old, the Women Afield Program offers courses specifically tailored to female hunters.
Youth as young as 10 years old participating in the Youth Hunting Program can attend mentored upland game and waterfowl hunts. Mentored big game hunts are available for those ages 12-17.
Growing Industry Trends
Recent years have seen a significant growth in the number of female hunters. According to a study by National Geographic, the number of women hunters grew by over 25% between the years 2006 and 2011.
With many hunting companies promoting female hunters, there are increasing explanations why more women are taking to the sport. Brenda Valentine, spokesperson for the National Wild Turkey Foundation, argues that, “Across the board, women are more independent than they’ve ever been, and they realize they are capable of hunting.”
Many prominent female hunters are also helping to advocate for getting other women into the outdoors. If the names Eva Shockey, Tiffany Lakosky, Kristi Titus, Melissa Bachman, Kendall Jones, or Nikki Boxler sound familiar, it’s likely due to the positive message they’re using to tell others about hunting. Having positive, upbeat, confident women as role models for young people is a gift for the entire outdoor industry.
The National Geographic report claims that many find connection to their food a growing reason for the boost in women hunters. Intimacy with nature and respect for wildlife is another common theme noted by female hunters.
Many manufacturer’s and retailers like Mathews Archery, Under Armour, and Cabela’s are also aiming to help. These companies, and many others, have begun developing products specifically for women. Lighter, smaller frame equipment is a common theme for manufacturers. Form fitting clothing is another draw helping to encourage female and youth hunters.