Females who hunt and fish participate in rifle shooting activities more than any other shooting sport, according to a recent report by Southwick Associates entitled, “Women in the Outdoors 2012: A study of women’s activities, perceptions, purchases and related media consumption related to fishing, shooting and hunting.” The survey, conducted in 2012 by Southwick, incorporates the 2011 Fish and Wildlife Services’ National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, and shows there are 9.3 million outdoorswomen who purchased hunting and fishing licenses in 2011. Of the women surveyed who participate in the shooting sports, 65 percent enjoyed rifle shooting, 52 percent handgun shooting and 51 percent shotgun sports. Deer (71%) and turkey (33%) hunting were the most popular hunting activities enjoyed by women.
When women were asked why they spent their time on the shooting sports, 85 percent said they like to spend time outdoors, while “enjoying the challenge” ranked as the lowest reason.
The survey also showed that the number one purchase made by women is ammunition (71%), with hunting accessories (44%), shooting accessories (38%), hunting apparel and firearms (30%) being the next most purchased items.
Steve Dunn, owner of Dunn’s Sporting Goods in Pevely, Mo., said his store has an active deer hunting female clientele and during deer season the majority of them are buying ammunition and blaze orange gear. He also said rifles chambered in .243 from Savage, Marlin and Ruger sell well to women. Women have requested the Savage Lady Hunter rifle and Remington’s managed recoil ammunition, but a lack of availability has made it difficult to meet their needs, Dunn noted.
The future of the industry depends on not only introducing women to the shooting sports, but in encouraging women who already participate in them to try new shooting-related activities. Research shows women are more likely to shoot just one type of firearm than men. In the survey Southwick concludes, “Maintaining long-term involvement may hinge on diversifying their shooting activities, to keep it continually fresh and interesting.”
Luckily for firearm dealers, it has never been easier to introduce women to new shooting sports. Programs and organizations like NSSF’s First Shots, Becoming an Outdoorswoman, A Girl and a Gun Women’s Shooting League, the Well Armed Woman, Camo and Lace and many more offer women the opportunity to try a wide variety of outdoor activities in a supportive and social environment. Dealers can get the word out about these groups, host events in their stores or create their own educational opportunities.
The Southwick survey showed 50 percent of women get their hunting, shooting and fishing information from websites, making it inexpensive and easy for dealers to post about female-friendly events and products at their store.
New Safety And Scent Control Options
Odor elimination specialists Robinson Outdoor Products LLC., recently introduced a new line of women’s clothing called SOLA. The clothing is designed by women for women and incorporates Scentblocker S3 antimicrobial silver treatment to help reduce human odor. The line consists of base layers and outerwear that can be combined to keep women warm and odor free in any hunting situation.
The SOLA WindTec Jacket and pant are sure to be in high demand as they feature Thinsulate for serious warmth and a WindBlocker membrane that is bonded between fabric layers to hold in body warmth and keep the wind at bay. Finally, a soft, quiet micro denier Hyperfleece keeps ladies’ core warm and wicks away moisture.
The jacket sports a full front zipper and wind flap, two lower snap pockets, side elastic waist and an adjustable visor hood. The pants have similar features plus two giant bellow pockets and 14-inch leg zippers so the pants can be easily taken on and off. The SOLA WindTec jacket and pant are available in Mossy Oak BreakUp Infinity and Realtree Xtra in sizes S-XL.
Another reason the SOLA WindTec jacket will be popular is it snaps easily to Robinson Outdoors’ Tree Spider Micro Harness for women. The Micro Harness weighs in at just 2.2 pounds and is engineered specifically to fit and adjust to a woman’s contours. Like all Tree Spider safety harnesses, it has a bungee tether and vertical climbing loops for a linesmen’s climbing belt. Hot pink accents, a carabineer, tree strap and suspension relief strap round out the Micro Harness package. The Micro Harness is available in two sizes.
Shoot Like A Girl
Another new way to introduce women to a variety of shooting sports is Shoot Like a Girl’s Test Shots mobile training trailer. Shoot Like A Girl has been successfully running an archery-based program called Test Flights that allows women to try appropriately sized equipment in a safe and controlled environment since 2009. This year, Shoot Like a Girl is adding firearms to their educational repertoire by giving women the opportunity to shoot a pistol and a rifle using a military-grade firearm simulator. The high-tech simulator is able to reproduce the sound, recoil and impact of shooting without using projectiles. The Test Flights program has introduced over 3,700 women to archery and, using the same model, they hope to create a similar number of new shooters and consumers.
Test Shots also incorporates an archery range and is designed to travel to events like hunting expos where there are a large number of women spectators who do not necessarily participate in the shooting sports.
Leopard Shooting Glove
Sweet Shot Fashion
If your female customers are looking for a fun and different way to express their femininity while shooting, try stocking products from Sweet Shot USA. Founded by Judy Gavin in Wayzata, Minn., Sweet Shot grew out of Gavin’s need for cool and hip shooting accessories. The line, designed so women will “Look cute while they shoot,” consists mainly of ear-and-eye protection, gloves and cases in animal prints. There is also shooting themed jewelry for all types of shooting enthusiasts.
Sweet Shot offers dealer pricing, and these products are sure to make a statement and grab the attention of women shooters.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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