With the locavore movement inspiring new hunters and anglers, camo suddenly becoming fashionable and increased visibility of the sportsmen community through shows like Duck Dynasty, you’d think the sportsmen community was multiplying at a rapid rate. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole truth. According to a 2012 report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of hunters and anglers increased for the first time since 2006 (9 and 11 percent respectively). And some of this increase is due to the small uptick of female hunters and anglers according to a July Responsive Management survey.
As women who hunt and fish, we are the silver-lining; we’re key to keeping our nation’s hunting and fishing heritage alive – Camo truly is the New Black. Society and gender roles are changing and it’s high time sportswomen band together to shatter misconceptions about the sports we love. We need to educate both the public at large and other women about what it means to be a sportswoman. Whether you’ve been hunting or fishing since birth or are just now getting into it, the future of hunters and anglers is here and it’s with us.
Growing up in Montana, all I wanted was a bear hug from my dad and hot chocolate. Sitting in the duck blind satisfied both these needs and I was in “training” right alongside our big black lab Duff. Many years have passed since those hours with dad and three years ago when I took down my first goose, I suddenly understood why my “training” was paramount. The quiet in the dark heightens every sense, the cold air sharply pierces your lungs and your ears perk for the faint fowl calls. As the light slowly begins to fill the sky and you hear the feathered beat of wings begin to circle overhead – you are in awe. Regardless if you come home with a limit or nothing you feel lucky to have been a part of this moment. Being quiet and learning to appreciate this gift was my “training” and this lesson sticks with me every day at the office or in the field.
Like many, getting outdoors feeds my soul and hunting and fishing provide a more intimate experience. Pulling in the fish, breasting out the duck or grilling the elk steak creates a food to table experience known to an increasingly small number in our urbanizing society. By handling each and every part of the process – from license to meal – you are getting to know the animal, yourself and world better – you are appreciating what has been given to you to the greatest extent.
Heather and I started Camo is the New Black to share our experiences and learn from yours. We want to connect fellow sportswomen and create a network that encourages more women to get outside and, in doing so; we hope the number of hunters and fishers increases overall as well. We want you to pass on the “training” and be a part of continuing the hunting and fishing traditions from generation to generation. Please share your stories, recipes, find information and read our stories here. Let’s strengthen the sportswomen movement – this is our time. We are the silver-lining.