Understanding women in the outdoors

Deer Hunt Cindy and Jack.jpgWomen are likely to make up a relatively high percentage of your program participants. Participation by women in both hunting and fishing has increased in recent years, and interest in these activities remains very high.

However, women also tend to have different motivations for participation, different learning styles and different concerns than their male counterparts. These differences may include:

  • Women are generally more interested in the social aspects of these activities, i.e., going out with family, spouses, and friends than male hunters and anglers.
  • They are more interested in obtaining high quality food than male hunters and anglers.
  • Women tend to prefer learning environments that promote cooperation rather than competition, and prefer explicit directions and guidelines. However, they also want opportunities to ask questions. Providing opportunities for participants to learn and experiment on their own will likely pay dividends.
  • Women are more likely to seek or get some advice on their own terms and apply what they learn through trial and error. However, while they may not mind going through a trial and error process in groups of other women they may be reluctant to do so in mixed-gender groups.
  • Female participants will especially appreciate a clearly established safe physical environment as well as a safe learning environment. Having these components specifically identified and articulated in class will create an environment that will help build confidence and encourage classroom participation.

In addition, a significant barrier to female participation in outdoor activities is having the right-sized equipment. Having firearms, packs, clothing and other gear sized for women, rather than using re-purposed men’s equipment, will likely make a difference in their overall enjoyment of the experience. 

Also, women prefer to fish with their families. Inviting families to participate in the fishing event is an important program decision. On one hand, this reinforces an important motivation for women; on the other hand, it may reduce the time an instructor has to instruct the class participant and dilute the focus of the event. A potential compromise is to hold two fishing events. The first would be a learning event for class participants, and the second a social event for families. The second event should be focused on assisting the class participants in becoming instructors for their respective families.

Instructors should be aware of, sensitive to, and embrace these differences.  Selecting instructors who are innovative, and who encourage cooperative activities and group learning is highly recommended.

We also recommend that women (and other members of your target population) be selected as instructors and included as part of your program planning team. A diverse instructor and planning team will strengthen your program and provide opportunities to discuss various program options.

Resources

Motivations of Female Black Hills Deer Hunters

State fish and wildlife agencies are particularly interested in attracting female participation because of the potential to offset declining participation in hunting. Understanding female hunters’ motivations will be critical for designing effective recruitment and retention programs for women hunters. Although female participation in hunting is increasing, males still outnumber females by about tenfold. Gender differences in deer hunters were explored by comparing ratings of eight motivations (social, nature, excitement, meat, challenge, trophy, extra hunting opportunity, and solitude).

Understanding Hunting Constraints and Negotiation Strategies: A Typology of Female Hunters

This article examined a typology of female hunters, factors constraining participation, and negotiation strategies females used to overcome constraints. A survey of Oregon hunters was conducted in the summer of 2010 to understand hunting characteristics using the 2008 big game license database (n = 392). We created a typology of female hunters using a cluster analysis of Recreation Experience Preference items. Four clusters were identified: less-engaged, family oriented, nature-sport, and all around enthusiast. Analysis of variance revealed differences among female hunter segments.

Women on Adventures

Thank you for checking out WoA! You will be challenged. You will laugh. You will make life long friends. Get out of your comfort zone and join us for some adventures. We do everything from Hike & Brunch and Adventure dinners, to indoor skydiving and rock climbing. Life is an adventure and we mean to squeeze out every fun moment we can.

Becoming an Outdoors-woman: Concept and Marketing

Women have not been a traditional clientele of resource management agencies. Their participation in hunting and angling has historically been at a rate much lower than their representation in the general population. While the overall number of hunters and anglers continues to decline, the number of women participation in these activities, though still small, continues to increase (Snepenger and Ditton 1985).

Women hunt and fish too

Many in society believe it is hard (if not impossible) to convince women to go out fishing or hunting. While many might assume that these two activities are merely male-dominated sports, it is a rising trend that has women participating in these activities. Even a survey released by the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Associated Recreation back in 2012 showed that female hunter participation has been on the rise since 1991, with an increase in girls aged 6-15.