Not surprisingly the typical female angler, forty-four percent, who fish freshwater do so for largemouth or spotted bass. Like their male counterparts, seventy-two percent of them used artificial bait followed by some cross-over with 59 percent using live bait. For the saltwater angler fifty-six percent of females fish for anything that bites. A full 96 percent of female anglers fish with rod and reel, more than fly fishing, ice fishing, or bow fishing combined.
For the hunters, the vast majority, 60 percent, are in line with their male counterparts by hunting whitetail deer. Here is an interesting statistic. A lower percentage of women shoot rifles, 59 percent, than males at 76 percent. But they do shoot shotgun more than males at 47 versus 43 percent. Even more interesting, a higher percentage of women (28 percent) choose to archery hunt than the 23 percent of males.
This survey only covered women’s participation in hunting and fishing. I can tell you that women are also the fastest growing demographic in the target shooting sports. There have been several recent reports released that detail the benefits of the shooting sports for physical health. Many of the same things you gain from going to a gym (muscle tone, concentration, focus, etc.) can be gained through the shooting sports. Another recent report showed that the number of people participating in outdoor activities is increasing, primarily due to the shooting sports and the growth in gun sales. Maybe the women are on to something?
Representative Brian Turner of Buncombe County has introduced House Bill 1125. The bill essentially makes it illegal to hunt from a public right-of-way in Buncombe County. This legislation is long overdue. I’ve talked with several game enforcement officers that say it is a very valuable tool in helping them stop deer poaching. It may surprise you to know that all of the counties surrounding Buncombe already have such a law. Don’t ask me why it is not part of the state game laws and must be done county by county. Something to do with constitutional authority. Anyway, I fully support this bill and hope Representative Turner’s fellow legislators will help him get this through.
I’m always reminding folks that our hunting privileges are continually under assault. Most people shrug me off with that “it will never happen here” look. Then why is the following necessary? State Senators Brock, Newton, and Davis have filed Senate Bill 889, Act to Amend the North Carolina Constitution to Protect the Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife. This Constitutional Amendment reads: “The right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by use of traditional methods, shall not be infringed, subject to laws and regulations to promote wildlife conservation and management, to maintain natural resources in trust for public use, and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.”
These legislators recognize a perceived threat to those privileges. Believe me, there are animal rights groups that work insidiously to either restrict or prevent hunting. They are working through local environmental groups to reduce wildlife habitat thus reducing game populations. Less habitat = less game = fewer hunters. They know they cannot get a total ban on hunting. They just chip away at the edges until one day we look up and it is all gone.
That is why I encourage all hunters and anglers to join the conservation group of your choice. The NRA defends not only our 2nd Amendment rights but also our hunting privileges. An organization that is on the front line against the Humane Society (HSUS) and like groups is The Sportsmen’s Alliance (www.sportsmensalliance.org). Membership dues are minimal and they work at both the state and federal level to protect and defend our hunting heritage. We’ve been a member for several years and they are worthy of support by all people who hunt and fish.