WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Numbers growing for women in outdoor sports

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Numbers growing for women in outdoor sports


This one is for the ladies. A very loud YES, you do belong in the great outdoors regardless of your chosen endeavor.

In this day and age, it may be hard for some women to realize that for many, outdoor sports like shooting, fishing and hunting were supposedly reserved for the men in the family but not anymore!

Regarding this, I received a press release stating that “Female Influencers “Changing the Face of the Outdoors.” You don’t have to look very far to see that this is fact, not fiction.

In my travels I have noticed many more women fishing. According to the release, women continue to the water in droves with female angler participation at 19.7 million in 2020, and all time high.

To continue evolving the fishing and boating community into more inclusive space, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)’s Take Me Fishing campaign partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods to host a group of influencers on a two-day outdoor excursion this past July 20-21. To say it was a resounding success would be an understatement.

In my trips around the state I have seen many more women taking up the sport of fishing. Some of this might be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to get out and do something, but many of the female anglers figure their time has come.

The report goes onto say that while American anglers are making great strides in the right direction, not all women feel they have a place on the water. RBFF launched its Women Making Waves imitative in 2018, a social media movement to increase female representation in fishing and boating.

At the time of the initiative launch, only about 19-percent of women saw themselves represented in the sport. Since then, participants continue to rise among women, youth, Hispanics, African Americans, and other key demographics, but in order to ensure the water is open to everyone, participation remains a focus.

The face of fishing and women participating in the sport of fishing is changing and anyone interested in learning more about Women Making Waves and other RBFF initiatives can do so by going to TakeMeFishing.org.

But is not only fishing that has seen a growth in female participation, hunting and the shooting sports has also seen an increase in female participation. Over the years I have seen some really great female marksmen come out of shooting programs at our own Blue Trail Range right here in Wallingford.

And over the years, female shooters in the Olympics made their mark when it came to bringing home the various medals to the U.S., but they never got the attention or headlines like those that participated in track and field as well as gymnastics, after all, they used firearms to win the awards.

When are we ever going to learn, it is not the firearm that is the villain, but the deranged human who has the firearm. But that’s another topic.

There is a program for women who would like to learn and participate more in our outdoors called Becoming an Outdoor Women (BOW). Because of the pandemic I have not seen any releases on it but it might be worth looking into for any of the ladies out there who would like to have some outdoor experiences like fishing, shooting and hunting.

A couple of years ago, there were some ladies who got together at the Harwinton Rod & Gun Club for just such an experience. The event featured handgun safety and shooting, clay pigeon shooting and this was one of the most remarkable events because the instructor had just about every participant busting clay targets on the fly.

But they also had classes on fly fishing, bait casting, foraging for wild edibles, running construction equipment and even axe throwing, a sport that seems to becoming more and more popular.

I had the privilege of doing a column on the event and came away quite impressed watching the ladies and their surprise at realizing that there were so many things in the outdoors they could do if they took the time to pursue them.

Over the years I have also seen some fantastic female target shooters come out of the programs offered by Blue Trail Rang in Wallingford. Of course with politicians banging the anti-firearms drums everywhere you look, many of these female firearms target shooters do not get the publicity they rightfully deserve.

Even clothing and equipment for the ladies who chose the outdoors for their recreation has done a complete turn-around. One of the complaints I used to get from the ladies was that there was not enough outdoor apparel for the ladies. Not anymore, just check out some of the outdoor sales catalogs.

Bottom-line? There is a whole new outdoor world out there for you ladies, your time to enjoy it has come and I hope to see more of you out there.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.

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