Women are new demographic for outdoors sports
The Aspen Times
January 3, 2015
By Kirstie Pike, Special to The Aspen Times
Recent research shows that the number of female hunters is growing at a faster rate than that of male hunters. This increase positively affects our economy, wildlife-management funding and the future of our hunting heritage.
The most recent available data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the number of female hunters rose by 25 percent between 2006 and 2011. These statistics show that women currently comprise 11 percent of hunters in the United States compared with 9 percent in 2009.
According to data from Hunting Works for Colorado, the average hunter in the Centennial State spends $1,800 per year on the sport. Hunters impact our state and local economies every time we spend money at restaurants, hotels, resorts, convenience stores, trailer retailers, ATV dealers and more while on or preparing to go on hunting trips.
Hunters’ spending supports businesses and jobs, while the increase in female hunters affects the marketplace.
Five or six years ago, it was nearly impossible to find quality hunting equipment geared specifically for women hunters. But the next time you go into a sporting goods store or shop for equipment online, you will likely notice equipment ranging from apparel to firearms has been redesigned in an attempt to satisfy female consumers. This, in turn, has driven up equipment sales for women.
The trend in the growing number of female hunters also benefits wildlife-management program funding by providing additional revenues for wildlife management.
In 1937, at the urging of sportsmen, state wildlife agencies and the firearms and ammunition industries, Congress extended an existing 11 percent tax on ammunition and firearms used for sport hunting, and earmarked the proceeds for wildlife restoration.
In the 1970s, legislators further expanded the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act to include taxes from the sale of archery and handgun equipment while also authorizing states to spend up to half of those revenues on hunter education and shooting ranges.
Thanks to hunters and recreational shooters who provide these wildlife-management funds, non-hunters also enjoy the benefits. The success stories of this revenue stream can be demonstrated in the rebuilt populations of game species such as pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, deer, wood ducks, black bears, Canada geese, American elk, mountain lions the list goes on. The funding provided by hunters and utilized to rebuild game populations also benefits non-game species and non-hunters who enjoy the wildlife while hiking, camping or pursuing other outdoor activities.
The increase in women taking to the field also has impacts on our culture and heritage. As we continue to experience the increased role females play in our favorite outdoors and hunting shows, we are seeing an increase in role models for young females. Women such as Diana Rupp, the editor of Sports Afield, continue to gain exposure and notoriety for their expertise while also demonstrating to young female hunters the excitement and rewards of hunting and being outdoors.
As the number of female hunters continues to grow, these women’s influence over the next generations will be extraordinary. Studies show that when a mother hunts, it influences the rest of the family and makes them more likely to hunt. Adding new generations of hunters will benefit wildlife management program funding and our economy.
After all, these new hunters will help to create and support more jobs all across the state.
Kirstie Pike is co-chair of Hunting Works for Colorado, a registered nurse and the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women.