September 19, 2006

Women as hunters

The Battle Creek, Michigan, Enquirer offers this story on women hunters.

The anecdotes are interesting, but here is the meat of the story from the bureaucratic perspective:

The more women get involved with the outdoors, the more they get their families involved, said Susan Tabor, Women in the Outdoors regional coordinator and former state representative.

The state of Michigan is currently scrambling to recruit new hunters. Statewide hunting numbers are beginning to dip and statistics are showing that fewer and fewer children are taking part in the sport.

"What will the future hold?" Tabor asked of hunting numbers 20 years from now.

The state legislature addressed those concerns over the summer by passing two bills, later signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The first lowered the minimum age to hunt. The second established mentor hunts, wherein a child could temporary bypass the mandatory hunters' safety program as long as they're accompanied by a guardian.

While time will be needed to determine if these bills achieve the desired goals, Tabor believes recruiting more women hunters is the better solution.

"One good reason to get the women involved is that the kids will come along too," Tabor said.

Another good reason to get the women involved, she added, it's good business.

"Retailers love us," Tabor said.

Colorado's similar program, Women Afield, has also been popular.

More women hunting means more license sales, which fund state wildlife agencies. (Wildlife agencies can only preserve their independence from political pressure by receiving most of their money from license-buyers and from federal excise taxes.)

The leading American academic writer on women as hunters is Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women's studies and religion at Skidmore College.

Here she is in USA Today: "Guns, like abortion, are a matter of choice."

Blaze-orange hat tip: Zendo Deb.


Steve Bodio said...

Armed women= polite society

Chas S. Clifton said...

What, has Robert Heinlein become a feminist on the Other Side?


EcoRover said...

My daughter, who will not eat commercial beef or pork or chicken etc, decided to become morally and environmentally responsible for her own meat when she was in high school.

She became a deer hunter, and a good one: a careful & safe shot, and someone unafraid to express the feelings that come with taking another animal's life.

While it's common to see women hunting, they are still vastly outnumbered by men. Let's hope this changes--hunting, as an environmental activity and way of knowing nature, needs broader participation.

Pat Munday aka EcoRover