Hunting and shooting aren’t relegated to men only. More women are taking to the ranges and hunting grounds, but not all of them were raised around guns or have people in their lives from whom to learn. Below are resources for women to learn hunting and firearms skills in a comfortable atmosphere as well as suggestions to find outdoor gear.
Instruction in Firearms and Hunting
Here are a few of the local and national programs available in the USA for women to learn how to use firearms and hunt.
- Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: This program, also known as BOW for short, began in 1991 and was sponsored by the University of Wisconsin. BOW is dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills including hunting and shooting as well as camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing and survival training. They’re also a proponent of training women with disabilities. They hold workshops throughout North America and are spreading to other countries. To learn more and find a local workshop, visit the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman website.
- Department of Natural Resources by state: An often overlooked but valuable resource to learn about outdoor skills is the DNR. Each state has different programs, some of which include hunting with bows and guns along with firearms safety training. Information can be found on the internet by doing a search for the specific state’s DNR office.
- Local conservation clubs and parks: Many conservation organizations are dedicated to encouraging responsible hunting behavior including safe gun use and have a family atmosphere. These clubs will often have ranges for archery and firearms. State parks may also have ranges for practice. In fact, conservation clubs and parks are often the locations for events sponsored by the other organizations mentioned in this article.
- National Rifle Association’s Women On Target Program: According to the NRA website, the organization has over 4 million members and are the top firearms education sponsor in the world. This includes training for women through their Women on Target Program. They sponsor instructional shooting clinics that include training in pistol, shotgun, rifle and archery depending on the clinic. They also host women-only hunting trips. To learn more about times and locations of these events, visit the women’s programs page on the NRA website.
Outdoor Sports Outfitters That Provide Gear for Women
Before the advent of large sports outfitters, women often wore men’s clothing for their outdoor activities. Times have changed and there are many more options available for a better fit including those below.
- Two large, well-known outfitters are Cabela’s and Gander Mountain which both have retail locations as well as online and catalog shopping. Both sell firearms, bow hunting equipment and clothing, so women can make it their one-stop outfitting experience.
- The NRA’s website has a listing of their National Business Alliance partners and is another good resource to find outfitters and gun shops in the United States.
More Choices for Women Hunters
The popularity of the programs mentioned as well as the growing selection of outdoor gear for women is a sure sign that they don’t have to feel alone when it comes to learning how to use firearms. Women have more of a choice than ever to learn about hunting and shooting in an atmosphere that is encouraging to them
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