You can feel it in the air. The physical attributes of the fall season not withstanding, Iʼm referring to the energy that hunters across the country are buzzing about. Be it walking down grocery store aisle, perusing social media sites or simply filling up the gas tank, the energy is palpable. Bowhunting season is upon us and thereʼs a shift of collective enthusiasm and a sparkle in our eyes that every bowhunter can recognize. As the clotheslines fill with camouflage and the kids head back to school, the smell of changing leaves fill the air, triggering our instincts to head for the woods.
For over twenty years Iʼve experienced the same excitement and anticipation for the fall thatʼs inherent with being a bowhunter …but thereʼs been a change. A BIG change. A change thatʼs been a long time coming. One that has a dramatic impact on hunting as a whole. No longer are women, wives, girlfriends or daughters wishing their men ʻgood luck out there!ʼ from the doorway. Theyʼre saying it from the field… on the way to their stands.
Itʼs no surprise that the number of woman purchasing hunting licenses is increasing every year. Not only because of social change and the traditional roles of men and women are evolving, but manufactures are now catering to the needs of female hunters. Itʼs refreshing to see marketing campaigns and gear specifically engineered for women hunters, creating a sense of equality in what used to be a ʻmanʼs arenaʼ. Considering that hunters contribute over $1 billion every year to wildlife conservation through license purchases and excise taxes, itʼs a beautiful thing for both wildlife preservation and land management not to mention the bond families create when sharing their passion together for hunting and the great outdoors. Studies show that if Mom hunts, the kids will follow suit more so than if just Dad were bringing home the literal bacon. Our countryʼs hunting heritage depends on creating awareness of the benefits of wildlife management and conservation through hunting and fishing and getting the woman and youth involved is critical.
So kudos to the women whoʼve joined the ranks of tree(stand) huggers and the men whoʼve encouraged them to find the pure excitement and innate peace that only comes from bowhunting. Whether stalking elk in the lodgepoles of the West or pulling back on a strutting gobbler from a blind, what we experience through bowhunting isnʼt about the kill. Taken from a poem I wrote years back entitle The Bowhunterʼs Creed, “Youʼll discover your senses. Youʼll discover yourSELF. Up high in a treestand with nobody else.”