You probably have many questions if you are 1) a female and 2) interested in bowhunting. Perhaps you are wondering:
- Do you know of any other women who bow hunt?
- Do you have any specific equipment or clothing that I require? Last but not least,
- How do I start all this?
There are many things to think about, and it can be overwhelming to start your bowhunting practice.
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This post will take you deep into bowhunting and address all your concerns. We’ll discuss changing demographics, women-only trips to bowhunting, and some women bowhunters who made it big. In the end, we’ll give you some bowhunting advice for women. While gender is not important in bowhunting at 90%, there are some things you might want to remember.
Is there a lot of women bowhunting?
That is why the answer is “Yes, they are.”
Although industry professionals only began collecting figures in the past two decades, we do know that there were approximately 395,000 female Bowhunters in 2001, which represents 8.4 to 8.5% of all bowhunters nationally. Researchers estimate that there were approximately 1,056,000 female bowhunters by 2014, an increase of 167%. Consider that the US has approximately 5.5 million bowhunters, which is a staggering 20% increase in female bowhunters. This is a remarkable shift in demographics.
Yes, bowhunting is a popular sport among women. Women are also taking an active interest in general hunting: In the early 1990s, there were approximately 1,000,000 female hunters. By 1995, that number had increased to 3.3 million. This is also a sign of a rapid increase in interest.
Even these numbers are small compared to the overall number of women involved in archery. In 2018, it is estimated that more than four million women picked up a bow to compete or for recreational purposes. This is partly due to the influence on female archers of fiction like Merida from the Pixar movie Brave or Katniss in The Hunger Games movies. Did you expect to read an article about female archers without hearing about Katniss? However, the truth is more complex. There has been an increase in archery in urban areas and a revival of interest at high school, which have both introduced women to the sport.
You might be curious about the many women involved with bowhunting and hunting.
It’s a Surprise That Women Hunt?
Well–it’s not! Women have been hunters since the beginning. This was long and long ago. A recent study found that Neanderthal women likely hunted large-game animals with men. There’s also a lot of cultural evidence that shows women hunted alongside (or sometimes without) men.
It’s also true for the past two decades. Jezebel posted a recent article about how fascinating it was for women to finally hunt. Several comments were very funny, with many women saying the same thing.
“I learned how to hunt from my mom. She learned from me.” What is this article about?
“I hunted with my brothers as a kid, and it was never something I considered a man thing.”
“I was raised in rural areas, and I was the odd girl because I did not hunt.”
While there has been a recent increase in female bowhunters and hunters, it is not surprising that there is a long history of women who have ventured into the woods to hunt some game.
So why do women bow hunt? What are the benefits?
While we have already written about some benefits of bowhunting, here are some reasons that our female friends, spouses, and other female hunting buddies gave us:
A boost in self-confidence / a feeling of power. Hunting can make you feel powerful (harvesting animals and providing food for your loved ones can feel incredibly empowering), but it also makes you feel small (many hunters will tell you being in nature makes them feel humbled and grateful). These feelings can lead to self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-reliance. It can be a great boost to self-esteem to know that you can go out into the wilderness and find a way for yourself to feed.
Respect for Nature/The Environment. To be a successful hunter you need to know about the game you are hunting, such as its behavior, mating habits, diet, and so forth. To “read” your game’s environment, you learn how to identify where it is, what it’s doing, and what it’s trying to communicate to other animals. You gain a deep understanding of the game’s natural habitat and all its amazing wonders. It’s amazing, fascinating, and astonishing. Simply being outside in the woods, savannah, mountains, or anywhere else can give insight into your life. You’ll be asked a lot by people (read: non-hunters) “How can you enjoy nature if you’re going outside to HUNT animals?” We’ll discuss that in the “Ignore the Haters” section.
A new community and group of people to share experiences with. Have you ever heard someone speak of their hunting buddies with such deep respect that it sounds almost like reverence? It’s not a coincidence. Hunting can be a very intense experience and can build bonds that will last a lifetime. Although there is a lot of talk about hunting and family, the power of hunting can also be very powerful. Nevertheless, it is important to remember…
A little bit of alone time. Every woman wants to hunt with her family and friends. But what if she wants to be by herself? A little bit of “gosh-darn alone” can make bowhunting a great reason.
New Experience in Food–and Harvesting your Food. Deer are a large species, so it is important to limit their numbers. For all you newbies, deer meat, also known as venison, is lean, high-protein meat. It is naturally hormone-free and additive-free when hunted in the wild. Many people feel better knowing where their food came from and that it was not processed at a factory farm.
Hunting = Conservation. Did You Know? The tax on hunting licenses, archery equipment, and other items is taxed. These tax dollars go directly towards the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the state wildlife agencies. Yep! It’s true. It’s true. The bowhunters, as well as the whole hunting and fishing community are very concerned about the natural environment. A decline in hunting numbers could affect how the United States pays to its conservation efforts.
It’s fun. What’s not to like?
Where can I learn bowhunting skills?
Okay, that’s great. Bowhunting is great for women and we all want more. Where can you find out more?
We’re sorry for the shameless plug but…we have a lot of great articles on bowhunting and we hope that you’ll take some time to look at them!
There’s also the Bowhunting.com page, “Bowhunting 101”, which has great posts and videos. The Bowhunting360.com page, “Bowhunting 101”, also has great intro articles. (Apparently bowhunting sites love the “101” title). There is plenty of online content, but these sites are the best. You’ll also find a lot of YouTube content and thousands of hours’ worth of live hunting footage. These can be extremely helpful. YouTube has a lot to offer, and there are some great videos.
There are many great options for hands-on lessons, but we recommend the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program (BOW). They’re fantastic. There are many BOW programs in the United States. While each program is different, they all teach women how to shoot safely, fish, hunt, marksmanship, and other skills. These programs are also a lot of fun and offer a chance to meet other like-minded women. This is an example from Arizona. Here’s another from Illinois. While some states have only a handful of weekend getaways per year, others have many.
The actual BOW organization does not have a website. However, they do have and a Facebook page. To find a BOW program near you, you will need to use your favorite search engine. Type in the name of your state with the words “become a woman outdoors”
You can also visit your local archery shop/range to inquire about any women’s groups in your area. Most archery shops and ranges have dedicated staff that can share their vast knowledge with new bowhunters.
Women-Only Hunt Trips
You can also learn new skills or improve your bowhunting abilities by going on female-only hunting trips. These trips are a great way to learn from experience and have a pro guide you through the process.
Most female-only hunting expeditions are location-based–here’s one in New York State and here’s another in Oregon–but there are a couple of female hunting groups that organize in multiple areas. The Sisterhood of the Outdoors organizes female-only hunting trips in many states. Girls’ Hunt Out (kind of “girls’ night on”) has a Facebook page where they post information about upcoming trips throughout the country. It’s nice to know that you have options!
You can also plan your trip yourself! This can be a lot of fun.
The Female Bowhunting World has some big names
You can find guidance from big-name female bowhunters online or on TV. There are also many up-and-coming bowhunting personalities. There are many semi-famous female bowhunters, but here are some to consider:
Melissa Bachman. Melissa is one of the most well-known female bowhunters. After studying TV production in college, she got her first show, Winchester Deadly Passion. She spends 250 days a year in the field, hunting, and trekking all over the globe. You can see loads of her videos on YouTube, and you can also find her on Facebook.
Jessica Taylor Byers. It is amazing to see that Jessica Taylor Byers has made a commitment to bowhunting in a way that few other hunters have. She also has a very active Facebook following and recently produced a stunning short film called “Grounded” which captures the joy of hunting with family.
Beka Gaarris. Beka has a huge Facebook following of over 120,000 people. This is quite respectable and it’s easy for anyone to see why. She’s a keen observer of trends in bowhunting and sparks great discussions on her social media platforms. Beka is also an inspiring Mama Bear. She has many photos of her hiking through hunting grounds with her traditional bow in her hand and her baby girl on her back. We all should be this tough!
These are just a few examples of women who have big. There are many husband-and-wife archery teams that you might be interested in:
Vicki Cianciarlo with Ralph, her husband. Vicki has been hosting shows on the Outdoor Channel almost for two decades. Their most recent show, Archer’s Choice (great title! Follow them as they hunt in hot-as heck Florida and cold-assize Newfoundland. They also have a large Facebook following, almost with nearly a quarter of a million people, and hundreds of videos on YouTube. They are a lot of fun and a great example of bowhunting/hunting being a weekend activity you can enjoy for a few weekends each year or a lifestyle that allows you to travel the world.
Tiffany Lakosky with her Husband Lee. Tiffany Lakosky is also featured on the Outdoor Channel. Their Facebook page has over 600,000. followers. Their story is quite interesting. They met at an archery shop, and have worked hard to develop their farms. You can view their calendar to see if they will be visiting your area.
Remember that many bowhunting women have TV shows or large online followings. You might want to look at Taylor Drury and Kathryn Brown. If you’re interested in learning more about female bowhunters, then you should check out Mia Anstine and Nikki Boxler. Randi Clark and Randi Caldwell are just a few of the others. They are skilled in many hunting disciplines, not just bowhunting. ).
Are There Many “Hot Babes of Bowhunting?” Sort of Thing?
Unfortunately, it is true. And there are many of them. That won’t change. This is not something we post here. We want our site to be welcoming and comfortable for everyone. However, many other videos show “babes on boat” and you can search YouTube for “bowfishing with bikini”. Good news! There’s a video of a female bowhunter with incredible skills and passion for the sport, which is one of many videos. There are many of these videos.
Special Advice for Women Bowhunters
Let’s get to the point! Our guidance is based on both the experience of new bowhunters and women bowhunters who we have spoken to. These tips are easy to remember if you already know them. This is the most important:
Find the right bow for your size
This is the most important tip we will share for beginners. It’s not a performance tip but a safety tip. Use a bow that suits you.
Here are the facts:
Draw length is the most important measurement for bow size. The draw length is simply how far the bowstring can be drawn back comfortably. Your draw length is simply your height divided by 2.5. If you are five-foot-six inches tall, your draw length would be
Height in inches: 5 feet = 60 inches plus 6 inches = 66 inches
Draw length: 66 inches / 2.5 = 26.4 inches.
You can round the draw length to 26.4 inches or 27 inches. Ask around to borrow a bow with a 26-inch or 27,-inch draw length or rent one from a shop.
There you have it! This is how you calculate your draw length. You can get a more precise draw length measurement from your archery shop or range.
Check that you meet your state’s weight requirements
Each state has its requirements regarding the draw weight of your bow. The draw weight is simply a measure of how resistant you feel when pulling your bowstring back. It’s measured in-lbs. So a bow weighing 20 pounds will be more difficult to pull back than a bow weighing 25 pounds.
Here are the reasons why it is important to draw weight:
Bows with lower draw weights will shoot arrows less forcefully, while bows with greater draw weights will shoot arrows more forcefully. Your bow must shoot arrows at the right force to penetrate your deer, turkey, or other game you are hunting. A bow with too little force will cause the arrows to miss the animal and wound it instead of hitting it. This is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Most states have regulations about how heavy your bow must draw. In most cases, this draw weight is 40 pounds. A draw weight of 40 lbs is sufficient to penetrate an animal and kill it. However, you will need to verify the requirements in your state to determine what the minimum draw weight is.
The thing is that for most bowhunters, male and female, 40 pounds seems like a lot. You may start with a 20-pound bow, then move up to a 25-pound bow, then a 30-pound bow, and so forth.
That being said…
Don’t Shoot “Overbowed”
If archers or bowhunters call you “overbowed”, it means that your draw weight is too heavy for your strength. A bow that is too heavy can cause problems because 1) it can strain your muscles and injure you; 2) you lose accuracy when you shoot above your comfortable draw weight; 3) it can be dangerous, as you are less likely to control the bow and let loose an arrow.
Overbowedness is a common problem that many people, regardless of their gender, face. It’s especially problematic for new bowhunters who might underestimate their strength. You may think you can lift 30 pounds with a bow, but if you pull the drawstring back you’ll be pulling 30 pounds. That can be very tiring after a while.
Check that your Camo is Fitting
Hunting can be dangerous and people often forget this. No matter if you are shooting from a tree stand or a blind, your body must move freely. Make sure you are comfortable in the clothes you wear.
Camo gear was not available for women in the past. Even though gear manufacturers realized that women enjoy hunting, they didn’t spend too much time trying to make the right shape. Many of the pants, jackets, and vests that were made for men were called “women’s hunting gear” and marked with pink labels. There are many apparel options for women today. Make sure you find the right fit for you.
Although you may have done some research, hunting clothes are still more accessible to women than men. However, there are many great outfitters available for women. Cabelas offers great gear for women. Sitka also has great gear, but Pro is a specialist in hunting gear for women.
You don’t have to be in peak-level condition…
It is important to be physically fit, especially for spot-and-stalk hunting. This involves spotting the game from a distance and then trekking towards it over a few hours.
Hunting can have high-impact or low impact. However, even low-impact hunting strategies such as sitting in a treestand for hours or hiding in a ground blind are easier if you’re healthy. Although you don’t require a lot of physical strength, cardio can make hunting easier. It’s amazing how much hunting is about “legs, lungs,”
If you’re alone, consider bringing self-protection…
You can even go with friends!
After years of living in cities, a friend decided that he wanted to get back into hiking. He began renting cars and going on weekends to hike along the Appalachian Trail. He said these words after his first trip:
“After a few miles on the trail, I came across another hiker. I nearly had a panic attack. I realized that I was miles from anyone who could hear my voice and there was nothing I could do to stop the other hiker from trying to hurt me.
We are willing to wager that most bowhunters and hunters will be good people who enjoy being outdoors with their families and friends. You are unlikely to be attacked by another person.
They’re not even zero.
Pepper spray or any other legal self-defense weapon can give you extra safety.
Speaking of people who might mean you harm…
Don’t listen to the haters
Hunting is becoming more controversial than ever. Many people are very vocal and aggressive about hunting. It does happen, and it most likely will happen to you if you are passionate about bowhunting and share your passion with others.
Try to be your best self if that happens. Be patient and polite and explain to wildlife populations the conservation benefits of hunting. Then…
Expect them to not hear it. It’s normal for people to have opinions. If they can change their minds, that’s great. It’s okay if they don’t agree with you. Live your passion and go about your day.
We’re also referring to “haters “…
Social Media: Be careful
While social media allows everyone to have a voice, that’s wonderful, many people bully or threaten others through their voices on social media. It’s a shame because social media can be a great tool for bringing people together, but many people use it to make a point. It happens.
It is important to note that the more bowhunting you post on social media, then the greater your chance of receiving negative feedback. You should be careful about what you post and where it is posted. If someone is being abusive, ban/delete/unfriend/save your anonymity and move on. Be careful with your friends and only reveal what you are comfortable sharing. Keep in mind, however, that social media is full of supportive, kind people who can make great friends.
These are some dumb guys you’re going to hear from
Looking at the bigger picture, it’s clear that we have all made huge strides over the past two decades. People have many more options than ever before, and many bridges have been built between different kinds of people.
There are still stone-age dummies, so there’s a chance you might hear from them. It could be a stupid comment about the range, a comment from a colleague, or something posted to a hunting or bowhunting forum. It doesn’t matter what it may be, try not to let it affect you. These comments are often borne out of ignorance.
YouTube is a great place to find vile and cretinous comments. The comments section for videos of bowhunting and female hunting can range from mildly misogynistic to outright hateful. YouTube allows anonymous comments, which is different from Facebook where people can see your comment and feel empowered to say horrible things anonymously. But whatever the reason, it’s important to be aware of what you read and not let it derail you. YouTube is an amazing resource for bowhunters. There’s some great stuff there. However, you will need to avoid a lot of the “unenlightened rhetoric.”
The vast majority of male hunters will agree that it’s awesome that you joined the bowhunting/hunting community. They’ll be gracious, kind, and helpful in helping you get started and teach you how to hunt. Keep that in mind, and don’t forget the good guys when you hear from the dummies.
Bowhunting can be difficult
This is something we feel we need to be open about: bowhunting can be hard! Multiple skills are required: archery, marksmanship, and gear selection. Animal tracking is just one of the many techniques you can’t fake. It takes time and confidence to master these skills.
It’s perfectly normal to feel slow in gaining proficiency. Rome was not built in one day. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to master the skill.
Speaking of emotions…
A wide range of emotions may be experienced
Hunting can be a primal and intense experience. It can also trigger a lot of emotions at once. It is not unusual to feel joy, sadness, and even a bit of despair when you finally harvest an animal. One of our writers said that his father is moved to tears when he harvests a Pronghorn. We’d bet there are many people like him.
It’s a good thing. It’s normal to expect it.
Oh, and frustration! This is a common feeling that you might experience. Bowhunting requires patience. We all have our moments. Sometimes your patience runs out, and you become frustrated. That’s okay.
We are grateful for your time!
We are delighted that you have chosen to bow hunt. We are glad you’re here. Bowhunting can be a lifelong passion and a skill. We hope that it will bring you many years of happiness, health, and joy. We are grateful again and wish you many happy hunting seasons!