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Annie, get your gun!

Notes from the North Woods

Although the overall number of licensed hunters in the United State has been on a steady decline, from over 14.1 million participants in 1996 to less than 12.5 million today, there has been one promising trend with the potential to save the shooting sports industry.

Currently, the fastest growing demographic in the industry are women, who currently account for about 15 percent of the shooting, hunting, and firearms marketplace.

According to a survey conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), women’s participation in hunting has increased by over 75 percent is just the last five years. It is estimated 3 million women currently hunt, and as many as 5 million regularly shoot. Hunting and shooting are not gender specific sports, and it appears Barbie may soon replace Bubba in the both field, and at the range.

As the overall number of licensed hunters in the United States has dropped steadily, from 14.1 million in 1996 to 12.5 million today, women have become the fastest growing demographic in the industry. Overall women’s hunting has jumped by 75 percent.

According to researchers, there are 72 percent more women hunting with firearms today than just five years ago. Additionally, there are 50 percent more women regularly participating in target shooting, up from 1.8 million to 3.6 million during the same time span.

Data also indicates women outpace men among net newcomers to target shooting with a rifle, where female participation has grown by 4.1 percent. However hunting with a rifle remains primarily a male pursuit, where men still outnumber women 9 to 1.

In 2011, a Gallup Poll revealed that nearly one quarter of all current gun owners are female. Women now account for nearly 15 percent of the shooting, hunting, and firearms marketplace. Female participation in target shooting increased about 50 percent or from 3.3 million to 5 million nationally from 2001 to 2011, and female participation in hunting increased from 1.8 million to 2.6 million during the same time span.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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