Kaylee Jackson is the executive director for the state of AR NWTF “WITO” program. She is also a mentor for AR Game and Fish, a certified archery instructor and an NRA long Range instructor. She is a multi state coordinator for Prois Hunting Apparel https://www.proishunting.com/, and on TaKDriverTV Team along with Steady Form Elite Shooters http://www.steadyform.com/takdriver-tv/.
Prior to the implementation of Women in the Outdoors, NWTF https://www.nwtf.org/about/hunting-heritage/wito supported female-focused outdoor skills training programs through various organizations. Seeing the demand for such activities for women, the NWTF expanded its outreach efforts to include a formal Women in the Outdoors program in 1998.
“In the past decade, the number of women owning firearms and participating in target shooting and hunting has soared. See the “Girl Power” graphic below, provided with permission from the National Shooting Sports Foundation published in their 2014 Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation article.
According to Southwick Associates, women now make up more than a quarter of all anglers and represent the fastest growing segment within the hunting and shooting communities.”
Women who seek outdoor adventures or more quality time with family and friends will find that connection through hundreds of Women in the Outdoors events hosted by NWTF chapters around the United States. Events are affordable and offer outdoor activities such as archery, shotgunning and various introduction to hunting classes. Women in the Outdoor members receive a one year subscription to Turkey Country magazine and special discounts.
Women Rock the Outdoors – NWTF “WITO” – Kaylee Jackson
In 1951 Joan Wulff won the National Fisherman’s Distance Casting event against an all-male field by casting a fly 131 feet. Brenda Valentine was shooting 10-rings with a compound bow in the ’80s. It was more than 25 years ago that Christine Thomas founded Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, and Melissa Bachman launched Deadly Passion Productions back in 2010. In short, highly skilled women excelling at hunting and fishing are nothing new.
But let’s face it: Historically, women have been underrepresented in the outdoor sports, and too often marginalized. That’s all changing. Thanks to the aforementioned pioneers and others like them, the number of outdoorswomen is now exploding—to the point that increased female participation is the biggest trend in our sports today. Just as important, women are carving their own space in the outdoors.
You already know some of the most prominent female faces, but a legion of women are making a difference on the grassroots level. Here are 11 hardcore hunters, anglers, and shooters, who by example and by outreach are making the outdoors a place where more women want to be.
The Mountain Mom: Mia Anstine
Big-game guide and co-owner of Wolf Creek Outfitters Inc., Anstine writes a blog called Mia & the Little Gal, about raising her daughter in the outdoors.
• When my daughter, Lea, was 4, I’d take her grouse hunting, and my mom would come along as a babysitter. We’d bring the birds home for dinner. Later that year, Lea caught and kept a rainbow trout. At dinner she said, “Mama, you got a bird, and I got a fish!” Right then, I knew she felt a part of it all.
• When I met my husband, Hank, a big-game outfitter, I became a guide and we immersed Lea in the outdoors.
• If you have a little girl, try taking her on a hike and making it into an adventure. Lea used to be afraid of bugs and getting dirty, so we started by just looking for bear scratches and collecting aspen leaves. I’ve loved watching her grow into a phenomenal outdoorswoman—and sharing that with others.
• There’s a lot of pressure with kids and social media, especially to tag an animal and post a photo or video. We’ve taught her that this isn’t what hunting is about, and she speaks up about it on her own social-media outlets. It’s great to see other kids following her lead.
• Years ago, on an elk hunt, Lea was so tired she didn’t want to keep going. I kept singing to her as we hiked, and she eventually got her elk. Last year in New Zealand I hit that wall, with leg cramps after 18 days of hunting. She said, “Come on, Mom. You can do it!” We’ve come full circle, and it makes me so proud. —As told to Barbara Baird