It’s no secret that women hunters are one of the fastest growing demographics in our sport. It also seems to be true that hunting is beginning to shed some of its redneck stereotypes thanks in large part to mainstreaming in popular culture, but also partly thanks to this female influence.
As hunters, we already know some of our greatest advocates – Ted Nugent comes to mind. But, if we are to truly reach out to a different audience and capture the imagination of non-hunting folks, our greatest ambassadors are probably found within those ranks.
This year’s Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 19 to 29) might offer a glimpse of one of those up-and-coming ambassadors we hunters have never heard of. Director Maria White is showcased this year with a pro-hunting themed short documentary titled “The Debutante Hunters.” The film follows South Carolina hunters Kristy Olson Cuthbert, Beverly Mebane Helms, Sara Frampton, Susan Frampton, Kacey Bates Patrick as they discuss the motivations, challenges and rewards of being a hunter.
These women and their story might register as only a blip in the hunting industry. However, their message is powerful and speaks directly to the people who we desperately need to convert and convince if we are to continue our hunting and conservation heritage. Simply stated, this film could become one of the most important recruitment tools I’ve seen this year.
Particularly moving is Susan Frampton’s explanation of why hunting is like gardening. Just watch it and you will see how powerful this message can be when someone who speaks directly to the motivations and experiences of the intended audience presents it.
I’m not sure how much play this short film will get in the mainstream media, but every person it reaches is sure to come away with a new understanding of what hunting is really about. Luckily for us, Sundance chose White’s work to be one of the films featured on the Festival website, so it can reach an audience outside of Utah. And, you can vote for it to be a fan favorite. If you are a hunter, watch it. Vote for it. The impact could be greater than you imagine.
View and vote for The Debutante Hunters here.