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Women's Participation in Outdoor Sports on the Rise

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Commentary by Mike Roberts 3/12/06

“Hi, is the lady of the house in?” At one time, when asked that, the answer would probably have been in the affirmative, but not any more Bunkie, not any more. Participation by women in hunting and shooting sports has jumped in recent years according to my friends at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and may jump even higher in the coming years. I for one say welcome aboard ladies, what took you so long?

Christine Godleski, vice president and genera manager of ESPN Outdoors, predicts that growth will continue thanks to the television shows, magazines, grassroots programs and especially the many new products that appeal to women.

Godleski made her prediction during the keynote address to a capacity crowd a couple of weeks ago at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show’s annual Women in Industry luncheon at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“Participation among women in hunting and target shooting rose from 4.2 million to 6.3 million between 1999 and 2004,” Godleski said. “It’s the grassroots initiatives and volunteers that encourage women to go out and try it and from positive exposure by the television media and all the women’s publications that are out there.”

Godleski said programs like the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s STEP OUTSIDE, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors, the National Rifle Association’s Women on Target, and becoming a an Outdoors Women are just some of the initiatives that are helping women become involved in the outdoors.

Television programming like ESPN Great Outdoor Games, ESPN’s Get Wild with Cindy Garrison and other ESPN Outdoor shows seen by millions, shine a spotlight on women who enjoy hunting and shooting, Godleski said.

Godleski went on to say that, “The numbers are up, participation is up and we have plenty of opportunities to take that six million to a much higher number.” Garrison who travels the country and the world on hunting, shooting and fishing pursuits on her show each week, said a lot of women are intimidated by shooting and hunting but they shouldn’t be.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not just about killing something or shooting a gun, it’s about conservation and it’s about getting out there, getting out of the house and enjoying the outdoors,” Garrison said.

I couldn’t have said it better, and if you are a long time reader of Woods ‘N’ Water, you know I have championed the cause of getting more women and children into our great outdoors over the years. Ladies, there is so much for you out there if you just take a little time to seek it out. Not only in the shooting sport, but hiking, camping and even fishing.

Hey guys, I don’t want you coming looking for me if the little lady is at a trap shoot or out tracking down a deer while you are home doing your own cooking. They deserve their time in the great outdoors as much as you and I. And if that lady in your life is simply happy being at home, well that’s all right too, right Edna?

Mrs. Richard loves it!
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Mrs. Richard generally burns more than me! I sit around and jaw-bone too much.
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