I don’t remember the first time I shot a gun, because I was very young. But I do recall on many occasions my dad bracing his rifle for me as I busted bottles or filled cans with holes. I just loved spending time outdoors with my dad, and I reveled in his praise and attention.
Although I didn’t realize it then, I was a lucky little girl. My father didn’t care that I wasn’t a boy. As his only child, I was his “runnin’ buddy,” so he’d take me along on all of his outdoor adventures. His hunting and fishing buddies understood if James Davis was coming, then most likely his little girl was coming too. Sadly, too few fathers (and mothers) spend time with their daughters in the outdoors teaching them how to shoot, hunt and fish like my dad did. In fact, throughout my childhood, I did not have one other female friend who knew how to do any of the above. It wasn’t until I entered the hunting industry that I met other women who possessed those skills.
Thankfully, women, who do not have family or friends to teach them about the outdoors, can learn about hunting and shooting sports through a number of programs that provide hands-on instruction. These programs have proven a great success at getting women involved in outdoor sports. For that reason, I am so excited to see the NRA is holding its first Women’s Outdoor Adventure, which will include eight days of shooting instruction and outdoor skills development. It will be held from April 30-May 7 at the Rockcastle Shooting Center in Park City, Ky.
During this event, women will learn how to shoot pistols, rifles and shotguns. They’ll also enjoy canoeing, horseback riding, zip-lining, a cave tour and other outdoors activities. For a woman who wants to learn more about the outdoors and firearms, but who doesn’t have a willing teacher, such an event is ideal.
Men, if you know of any woman who’d like to learn more about shooting and the outdoors, I encourage you to let them know about this event. Women, if you’re interested, check out the link and sign up. Reservations are being made on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the event is limited to only 40 guests.
If an eight-day event is a little too long (or expensive), then check out the other NRA women’s programs for opportunities to learn how to shoot or hunt. You can also check with your state NWTF chapter to see if there are any Women in the Outdoors events being held in your area. In addition, check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources to find out if it’s holding any Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) events. These programs offer shorter two- to three-day retreats designed to teach women about outdoor pursuits. I’ve attended Women in the Outdoors and BOW events and had a great time at both. I enjoyed the camaraderie of like-minded ladies, and I valued the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable instructors on various outdoor activities.
Have any of you ladies attended one of these events? If so, did you enjoy your experience? Would you recommend other women attend?
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Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.