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Posted: 1/23/2006 1:46:23 AM EDT
Women hunters
Sisters are killing it for themselves

Jan 5th 2006 | FLORENCE, FOUR PEAKS AND MESA
From The Economist print edition
Good news for feminism, bad news for Bambi and the sweet-and-sour bunny

AP

FELICIA MORALES is an unassuming mother of three without an obviously bloodthirsty air. But put a rifle in her hands and something changes. Out in the desert 30 miles south of Mesa, Arizona, she carts a bloody jack rabbit and a dozen dead quail from the bushes with a grin. “My shot isn't bad,” she says modestly. The same goes for Janice Brooks, a former English teacher. She shot an antelope with her Remington at 300 metres—a feat her husband, no mean marksman, confesses he might not have tried.

Over the past 50 years hunting, as Americans call game shooting, has generally been in decline, as the television remote control has lured people away from outdoor pursuits. But the number of women hunters has surged.

According to the National Shooting Sports Federation, some 2.4m American women of all ages hunted in 2004, compared with 2m in 1997; the number taking part in shotgun sports was up 11%, to 1.3m. Another survey (commissioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation) claims that 95% of women approve of women going hunting and 15% have owned a hunting licence.

Most western states, with their open spaces and outdoorsy culture, report a growing wave of interest. Arizona is typical. Gun shops and hunting stores in Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa are seeing record numbers of female customers. Ranges also report plenty of trade from them. Every Thursday the Ben Avery range, the largest in the country, hosts “the Annie Oakley Sure Shots”, a consistently packed free shooting class for women. At the Phoenix branch of the Sportsman's Warehouse, Bob Buffa has to cap his occasional workshop for female shooters at 20 students but says 100 or so sometimes apply.
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This being America, the government is trying to help blood sports rather than ban them. The Arizona Wildlife Federation conducts a “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” course twice a year near Prescott. And the state's game-and-fish department also holds workshops: one, at Florence, teaches families hunting tricks and then how to cook dishes such as “No fail Quail” and “Sweet-and-sour Bunny”.

Hunting offers a chance to stock the family freezer. But it is still an expensive sport. Ms Morales's hunt is her sixth in 2005; but with the costs of licences, ammunition, camouflage gear and petrol all going up, she will hunt less in 2006.

Although one reason often given by women for taking up the sport is a chance to bond with men, many women complain about sexism. Novices say that male instructors make them feel stupid; experienced shots say men feel emasculated when a woman out-shoots them. When Ms Brooks, the hotshot former schoolteacher, goes target-shooting, the men alongside often walk away.

Yet most people reckon that women's interest in shooting sports and hunting will continue to grow. One reason is the issue of personal safety. Ms Brooks, who narrowly escaped a vicious attack in 1990, clips a Keltec 32-calibre semiautomatic under her jeans and holsters a Model 19 Glock. She now teaches other women how to shoot (her logo is a dove with a shield). “Women hunt just as well as men and the scarier the world gets, the more women are going to take protection in their hands.”

The broader reason why women may be flocking to hunting and shooting (and you might want to stop reading here if you live in Islington or on the Upper West Side) is, well, it can be fun. Your unbloodthirsty correspondent, having undergone a crash-course in firing a LadySmith and a 9mm Glock, actually managed to hit an (inanimate) target after just 12 rounds and must confess to an adrenalin rush that lasted for hours. This year, she's hunting dove.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 2:00:43 AM EDT
yay for women shooters, now we need to get more of them on AR15.com...
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 4:29:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gunchyck:
yay for women shooters, now we need to get more of them on AR15.com...


Good luck , what with all the female bashing that goes on outside of the womens forum. Notice how much of a response a positive thread on women got.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 4:34:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:15:11 AM EDT
My daughter and I are avid hunters.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:19:11 AM EDT
Good, maybe I'll be able to find a wife that likes to hunt.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:25:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:27:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:

Originally Posted By gunchyck:
yay for women shooters, now we need to get more of them on AR15.com...


Good luck , what with all the female bashing that goes on outside of the womens forum. Notice how much of a response a positive thread on women got.



if only all the other posters were like mr. phil donohue here, women would flock here in droves
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 7:18:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By tc556guy:

Originally Posted By gunchyck:
yay for women shooters, now we need to get more of them on AR15.com...


Good luck , what with all the female bashing that goes on outside of the womens forum. Notice how much of a response a positive thread on women got.



if only all the other posters were like mr. phil donohue here, women would flock here in droves


I think they would be more willing to stick around in GD.
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