Intro to Archery: The Rise of Women Bowhunters

I know that I’m not alone in my interest in pursuing archery and bowhunting, especially as an adult and as a woman. In fact, women are one of the fastest growing demographics within the hunting industry.

According to current Census Bureau statistics, the total number of women hunters has steadily increased in the last 10 years and currently accounts for 11 percent of all U.S. hunters. Women interested in archery and bowhunting is also on the rise. According to the Archery Trade Association, 4 million women currently are involved in archery either as a target sport or as bowhunters – and it is anticipated this number will only continue to grow.

IMG_6858Learning archery and bowhunting can help women gain confidence and focus that can be applied to other areas of life. It also adds a way for women to regain control over what’s in their freezers, seeking out truly free range meat that cannot be found at any grocery store. And while you may think that it’s only younger women interested in pursuing the sport, the reality is that women of all ages are actually picking up a bow for the first time, proving that bowhunting has broad appeal.

Vicki Cianciarulo told me: “I am contacted all the time by women in their 50s and 60s going out for their first time and shooting a deer, which is amazing. Women are like ‘Now wait a second, why do I sit back at home when you’re out for the weekend? I could do this too; I could bring home meat for the freezer. Let me give it a try.’ It is a very empowering thing.”

The increase in women bowhunters could also be linked to the shift in the general perception of women who hunt – something that is promoted through current television shows and articles. There is a range of role models for women to connect with, which is a factor that Nicole Reeve, co-host of Driven with Pat & Nicole, acknowledges is an important variable for the variety of women interested in the sport.

IMG_7265Do you know anyone interested in getting started? Here’s the basic gear needed to go bowhunting this spring or fall:

  • Hunting license
  • Camouflage clothing
  • Good footwear (boots, hiking boots – something with good support and traction)
  • Bow release
  • Compound bow (with sight and rest)
  • Arrows (field tips and broadheads)
  • Three-point safety harness

Also, be sure to check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD as well as previous Intro to Archery blog posts that document my journey learning how to bowhunt.