A big obstacle for many new anglers and hunters is finding the right person to take you under their wing out in the field and teach you the ways. It’s no secret that women are showing an increased involvement in recreational hunting and angling; both these lifestyles revolve around some form of mentorship that has been generally taught to us by a grandparent, father, brother or friend. If these skills are not taught, how do you learn and evolve?
I had it easy from the start! One of my earliest memories I recall was my father bundling me up and strapping me in his blue and black Lowe Expedition frame pack, heading out by foot to pursue big game in Atlin, BC. Right from the start, he would teach me about animal sign and educate me about the sounds they made.
The skills evolved as I grew older, and we relocated to the beautiful Okanagan. He would continue to teach me critical survival skills (shelter, water, fire and food) and we would apply them. As soon as I was of age, I pursued the Core and at that time an FAC (PAL now.) The learning continued into outdoor ethics, conservation, fishing, shot placement, harvest, field dressing, game processing, table prep and so much more. I will value these essential skills until the day I die. It’s a never-ending learning experience out there, if you are willing to learn.
To sum it up, I breathe hunting and fishing. This is my life, this is what I know, this is how I was raised. It is some of the most rewarding aspects in life, embracing our heritage roots. Luckily for new outdoor people without those connections, there are many more ways to gain knowledge. Therefore, we can increase the number of female outdoor enthusiast by doing two things: providing encouragement and being a positive inspiration. Here are some great outdoor businesswomen that women can connect with:
Western Outdoors Women
In today’s world, I think it’s so refreshing to see positivity. At times, social media seems to be driven by negativity; but luckily, my experiences with other women in the outdoors on social media has been almost 100 per cent positive. The topic of conversation kept rising in our outdoors store, so I wanted to develop a Facebook group that was exclusive to women only. Western Outdoors Women is a dedicated to women that have an interest in hunting and fishing in western Canada and western parts of the US. I developed this group for outdoor women specifically to ask questions, educate on topics, product reviews and knowledge, share stories, photos, videos, upcoming events, tip and tricks on hunting and fishing topics. We have also raised funding for both the BCWF mule deer project and Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for youth. It’s a safe environment. If you are a woman looking for a great, positive group, please join our tribe of women on Facebook at Western Outdoors Women.
Candice and her daughter create handcrafted jewelry for the outdoors enthusiast. They make their jewelry from experienced rifle brass, shotgun hulls and create an assortment of other accessories to their customers’ style. Shootin’ Pretty has supported many other women’s groups and events, as she loves to inspire women in outdoor business. Check out Shootin’ Pretty on Etsy or Facebook.
Another excellent group of ladies on the rise is Girls Ignite. Melissa and her sister, Erin, had an idea of starting an all-women’s shooting experience for a while. In June 2021, they started Girls Ignite and partnered with the Salmon Arm Fish & Game Club to run clinics and start a women’s division in the club.
Their goal is to give women a chance to try shooting in a non-intimidating environment and spread awareness about guns and shooting sports. The clinics give ladies a chance to try shooting small-calibre rifles, shotguns and bows. Clinic participants range in age from 15 to 75. Most of the women that enroll have little to no experience, and they can have fun in a safe, controlled environment. To learn more about these amazing clinics, go to www.girlsignite.ca.
Hunters Union Beetle Skull Cleaning
Deanna was born and raised hunting and fishing in Salmon Arm, BC. She has three boys and spends her time with them in the outdoors. Deanna has perfected the dermestid beetle skull cleaning and turned it into an art. She provides quality service to all her customers across Canada and has cleaned everything from mature elk bulls to massive moose. If you are wanting to preserve and display your memories, please contact Deanna at Hunters Union Beetle Skull Cleaning and European Mounts, www.huntersunion.ca.
It is extremely refreshing to see increased women with experience branching into our hunting and fishing staff roles at the shop. These women come with firsthand experience, with product knowledge that they have personally tested out in the field with confidence. We offer a ladies’ night the first Friday in December every year, except for the last two. We are optimistic that this is the year it will return into full swing and get back to a fun-filled evening. The shop is shutdown and only open to women for the evening, where we go rogue on hot hunting and fishing topics, discounts and lots of giveaways.
When all is said and done, I hope that we can help fulfill the duties of providing encouragement and being a positive inspiration to women in the outdoors. I’m so grateful to those who have reached out to me with support, and I hope I provide others with the same as I have received. Being compassionate is simple, and it’s my goal to spread encouragement and support when I can. Will you take charge? Will you help guide women to the outdoors?