A National Shooting Sports Foundation study in 2015 highlighted an incredible increase in the number of women participating in the shooting sports.
Those results verified what shooting sports enthusiasts already knew: Women comprise the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports.
The number of women target shooters increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 5.4 million in 2013, an increase of 60 percent, according to the report. During that same period, the number of women hunters grew by 85 percent from 1.8 million to 3.3 million. And overall, the percentage of hunters who are women increased from 10 to 19 percent.
As impressive as those numbers were at the time, new research shows that women have continued to embrace the shooting sports at an amazing pace. So much so that results of this latest study could change things significantly for the shooting industry.
Conducted by Shoot Like A Girl, an organization founded by women to promote the shooting sports, the study found that participation by women in the shooting sports has increased by as much as 189 percent in some shooting disciplines since the NSSF report was released in 2015. The study focused on multiple shooting disciplines. Among them were pistol, rifle, shotgun and archery, as well as hunting.
“It is a known fact that women have been the fastest growing demographic for several years now, and we continue to grow,” said Karen Butler, president and founder of Shoot Like A Girl, in a release. “There is a chance that our data is a course correction for the industry, too, based on the responses received after our query of a sizable number of women.”
Butler’s purpose in conducting the survey was “to show the magnitude of the impact and importance of women participating in shooting sports.” She also “wanted to provide the industry with hard facts so manufacturers and businesses will continue to increase products and opportunities for female participation in the shooting sports industry.”
As noted in the NSSF report, women have three priorities concerning the shooting sports — personal and home protection, learning to hunt, and spending time at the range with friends and family. Specific shooting activities that attract their interest are practical pistol, clay target shooting, long-range shooting and plinking.
Along with making their presence known on the shooting range and on the hunt, women also account for an increasing percentage of American anglers. In its 2017 Special Report on Fishing, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation pointed out that women account for 35 percent of all anglers. Also, fishing saw an increase of 1.5 million participants during 2016, and those most likely to be in that group are young females. In fact, women account for 45 percent of new participants.
The only problem is they also are most likely to drop out of the sport, but the RBFF, whose mission is to increase participation in recreational boating and fishing, has plans to change that.
“New this year will be an effort to reach out to the female audience,” reads a post on the RBFF website. “Seeing trends in female fishing participation, we are taking aim and hoping to make female anglers feel more welcomed and empowered in the community.”
As the RBFF roles out its new marketing campaign, expect to see ads showing women and moms “that fishing is a cool and exciting activity that can be a liberating experience.” Accompanying these images will be taglines such as “I don’t wait for respect. I reel it in.” “I’m the captain of my own ship.” Or “I take what’s mine.”
Safety summer camp
The Nevada Firearms Coalition will host a Conservation and Firearms Safety Summer Camp for ages 14 to 19 from June 11 to 15 at the Clark County Shooting Park Education Center. The fee is $125. For more information, visit nfac.org.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.