Number of Women Hunters Increasing, Male Hunters Declining

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Connie Snow grew up hunting, but at the age of 14 stopped. The reason: it was a male dominant sport and her brothers were tired of her tagging along. After waiting almost a decade Snow got back out there, pheasant hunting. This year is her second year back out in the field, and she loves it. Now women are a lot more accepted out there too. Hunter education classes are offered that are focused for women, instead of co-ed classes. These classes are usually full.

Some of the increase may be due to overbooked schedules, where it is a time for families to spend time together. Women go out to spend time with their children and husbands, or brothers and fathers. Another suggestion was that there are single mothers who are taking their sons or daughters out hunting.

While male licenses sales have been on the decline, women licenses sales are increasing, even youth female licenses are climbing where as youth male is not. An issue that worries some game and fish departments, that the youth is not involved with hunting anymore.

In South Dakota from 2008-2010 female licenses sales increased by 20%, males decreased by 2%. Youth small game license sales for females increased 18% and had the male youth decrease by 10%. "That's the growth in the industry. We are not recruiting youth anymore. I don't know why. It's kind of sad," said Lake Andes resident Terry Jacobson, who hunts and works in the industry. The average age of female hunters is younger than their male counterparts, usually by 10 years.

While the number of men who hunted with firearms in the nation dropped by more than 3 million from 1984 to 2010, during a time when the U.S. population increased by 77 million, the number of women remained relatively steady at about 2.5 million. Where have all the hunters gone? From


hunter25's picture

We hear about htis a lot over

We hear about htis a lot over the lasrt several years and it really confuses me. It's great that more women are hunting but I don't understand why the male part is going down. It would seem they would rise together. Even the youth part is rising faster. Maybe more guys have daughters these days than sons to throw of the balance?lol Any way it's great to geat more people in to the sport no matter what the gender and we all need to do as much as we can to promote what we do as often as we can.

COMeatHunter's picture

I think the increase in women

I think the increase in women hunters is a huge positive for the sport.  It will probably always be a male dominated sport, but a hefty increase in female participation will spur further developments in equipment and guns too.  

And I'd be willing to bet as the number of women involved in hunting continues to rise, the number of new male hunters won't be far behind them.  

GooseHunter Jr's picture

I do not know if that is a

I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  This past 2nd season elk hunting we ran into a camp that had three women and one guy hunting.  I thought it was prtetty to see all them women out elk hunting and in some rough country.  I am hoping when my little boy get as bit bigger that my wife will start elk hunting with us again.  It was always a good time to have her along and man would I love to see her shoot an elk.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, we've been hearing

Well, we've been hearing about this for the last few years.  It's both good and bad.  It's bad that numbers of male hunters is declining, but great that the numbers of females getting involed is rising.  I think it's good that the women learn to, and enjoy hunting.  That way, I think they could pass it on to theri kids, creating another generation of future hunters.

I know the dads can do this, and usually do if they are hunters themselves, but there are lots of single parent families out there.  If the dad is not in the childs life, and the Mom does not hunt, then there is a very strong possibility that the the child will never be exposed to hunting.

They do some hunts out here in california specifically geared towards women.  They have a pheasant shoot right down the road from me, and I have stopped by to watch them some times.  It's pretty cool ,they really enjoy themselves.

Retired2hunt's picture

  I am with you on several


I am with you on several points numbnutz.  I don't care what the percentage split is between male and female hunters and think the more in total numbers is the best scenario for hunters in general.  I also think the video games area a distraction and yes unplug them and get the kids outdoors.

All states can do more to get youth hunters out there - lower prices on licensing for the youth, offer more special youth only hunts on many different species, provide more prizes to the youth going through hunter certification, iyouth only hunter certification classes, etc....

I can only speak to my current situation.  I have two sons that enjoyed hunting with me in the past.  They are now working jobs while working their way through college.  This is taking up their time and focus right now.  So there are two less males out there with hunting licenses.  Now when their focus on education and full time employment is accomplished I fully intend to get them back into hunting.  

Bottom line I think it is great that more women are getting involved in the sport of hunting.  The states having the male and youth declines need to be investigating why and make some changes.



numbnutz's picture

Those are very interesting

Those are very interesting number they present there. After reading this I sat back to think about how many kids I see at local events whether it's a youth fishing or shooting event, and the number of female youths are about the same or a bit more than males. I also recruited my wife into hunting a couple years ago. Although she sat this year out due to school but plans on getting back out there with me next year. My oldest son really has no interest in hunting right now but my 10 year old daughter can't wait to hunt on her own tag. My youngest is the same he can't wait. In fact I took him bear hunting last weekend and he is only 4 and loved every minute of it. To me it doesn't bother me thats there more females in the field as long we keep recruiting people and kids to keep our sport and heritage alive. It could be an all female sport in 50 years and I wouldn't care as long as there was still hunting. I think one thing that would help is to unplug the darn video games and make the kids play outside.