Recognizing Women Who Hunt

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Pictured (left to right) Nikki Boxler, Katelyn Sheehan, Sydney Moore, Amanda Cipperly, Brianne Huot

Recognizing and Encouraging the Women Who Hunt in New York

Recent national surveys have found that women continue to be the fastest growing demographic of new hunters, and we see the same trend happening within New York State. The same surveys have found that, generally, women’s motivations for hunting are to:

  1. Spend time with family;
  2. Put organic, free range, locally sourced food on the table;
  3. Spend time in the outdoors.

NYS DEC is encouraging women to become hunters, supporting those who already hunt, and getting women back into the sport who may not be active anymore. The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is a 3-day workshop designed to teach adult women a variety of outdoor skills, including big game hunting, small game and turkey hunting, firearm proficiency and safety, archery, crossbow, trapping, and wild game cooking. Beyond BOW (BBOW) programs are smaller scale classes and workshops that build on the skills women learn at the BOW workshop. Some BBOW programs include rifle marksmanship, shotgun target shooting, Hunting 101, and much more. The Hunter Education Program along with BOW, is offering several women-only Hunter Education courses throughout the State. Women often face unique barriers to becoming hunters, such as a lack of mentors and female role models, lack of shooting experience, access to ranges, access to land, availability of gear, etc. and DEC and BOW are working to break down some of those barriers. By offering women the opportunity to meet a community of fellow hunters and learn in a supportive atmosphere, we hope to keep building on the growing number of sportswomen in NYS.

Last fall, DEC held the first ever WomenHuntFishNY photo contest to get real photos of real women hunting, for use in future publications and marketing. The bigger motivation of the photo contest was to provide women with the opportunity to share their experiences, and represent sportswomen in a realistic and positive light, in the hopes of encouraging other women to become hunters and conservationists. Over 1,800 women responded, submitting over 2,000 photos, many of which you can see in this guide! Hundreds of hunting stories and submissions expressed how excited women are to have the opportunity to support and encourage other fellow hunters. The DEC will continue efforts to Recruit, Retain and Reactivate (R3) women who hunt in New York.

To receive email updates for all BOW and BBOW events and workshops, please visit our webpage www.dec.ny.gov/education/68.html and sign up for DEC Delivers.

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

Before the Hunt

Photo Credit: Renata Canaday

Subject: Carey Killion & dog Sally

Location: Genesee County, NY

Home County: Erie County, NY

“Dog training for a NAVHDA Finger Lakes Chapter. Our Chapter does a lot to promote hunting and gun safety to our local youth hunters and we encourage and get good participation from a few young ladies! The Chapter is also looking to have Carey, the Chapter Secretary, (once she gets past surgery recovery) work on plans for a western New York hunting workshop geared specifically for women.”

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

Big Game Hunting

Subject: Rebecca Meigel

Location: Moose River Plains, Adirondacks

Home County: Oneida County, NY

“My first buck, taken in the Moose River Plains. He came in grunting at me and I was able to get a shot straight on at 20 yards. Tracked him for .6 miles where I found him down in a beaver fly. It took 6.5 hours and a canoe ride across the Moose River to get him out. Best day of my life!”

*Disclaimer*: This deer was taken in the Northern Zone, and while Rebecca did have a PFD in the canoe with her, DEC strongly recommends always wearing a PFD while aboard any vessel. It is required by law to wear a PFD while aboard any pleasure vessel less than 21 feet in length, while underway between Nov 1st and May 1st.

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

Group Hunting

Subjects: Michelle Sanford (daughter in-law) & Cathy Sanford (mother-in-law)

Location: Broome County, NY

Home County: Broome County, NY

“I am entering not because we shot the biggest deer around but to promote women hunting and to prove that anyone can do it along with having so much fun! I have been with my husband for 6 years now and I have always got along great with his family, but there is something special about hunting season that really brings us together as a family! I love to hunt but hunting with my mother-in-law is something really special to me! To be able to provide for my family as well as grow an amazing relationship with my other family is awesome! From freezing our butts off in the cold to vacuum sealing it in the kitchen we are always having fun and being safe!”

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

Small Game Hunting

Photo Credit: Meghan Marin

Subject: Susan Janowski & dog Pilot

Location: Monroe County, NY

Home County: Monroe County, NY

“Pilot is not only a great bird dog, he is an AKC Grand Champion in the show ring, and an AKC Senior Hunter! My go-to bird gun is a 20 ga Ithaca SKB. I’ve been bird hunting and competing with my Brittanys in AKC Hunt Tests and Field Trials for about 10 years. There’s
nothing better than a day in the field with my dogs!!!”

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

Youth Hunting

Photo Credit: Deanna Nikiel (Alexis’ mother)

Subjects: Alexis Nikiel (age 9) Aleah Brauen (age 9)

Location: Bennington, NY

Home County: Wyoming County, NY

“It was our girls’ night and this time we brought her best friend Aleah along. They signed and dated the wall of the house that day and still talk about it! This is a perfect addition to that day… they will never forget it.”

WomenHuntFishNY – Photo Contest Winner

After the Hunt

Subject: Nikki Boxler

Location: Western NY