Posted 10/27/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Hunting season isn’t just for men. More and more women in the Tioga area are participating in the sport.
Erin Lalim Einarson recently returned from an elk hunting trip in Colorado. It was her second time out hunting elk.
“It was awesome. It was amazing -- beautiful country,” she said.
During her first trip, she managed to tag a cow. The most recent adventure wasn’t as successful. She said she hit one, but it got away.
“We searched a long time, but that’s hunting. It’s part of the game,” Einarson said.
She went with several other people, including her husband, and they were all men. And most often, it’s just the boys.
“They said I was the first woman they had out there,” she said.
Einarson is among a growing sector in the hunting sport -- women.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation showed a 25 percent increase in the number of female hunters from 2006 to 2011. In 2006, there were 1.2 million women hunters and by 2011, another 300,000 women had taken up the sport, according to the survey.
Courtney Wilhelm, who is originally from Hunter, is another hunting female in the area.
The 26-year-old said she hunts “a little bit of everything.”
She does mostly rifle hunting but started on the bow about three years ago.
“My dad was really into hunting. He got me hooked on it,” Wilhelm said.
The first time she tagged along with her dad on a hunt, she was very young.
“I was sitting in a car seat,” she said.
As an indication of the growing interest in hunting by women, Wilhelm said there’s a lot more women’s gear in the sporting departments.
They have women’s hunting clothes and even bows, which are smaller and adjustable for women’s arms.
She said she also watches famous female hunters like Eva Shockey and Tiffany Lakosky, who co-host shows on the Outdoor Channel.
“It’s not just a guy thing anymore,” Wilhelm said.
Einarson said the growing availability of clothing is especially nice, as the clothes designed for men just don’t fit women very well.
Lot in area
Trista Vandermark, 31, is another hunter in the area. She’s been hunting for about 12 years now. She hunts geese, ducks, pheasants, deer, beaver and just about everything.
“We have lots of good hunting” in North Dakota, she said.
Vandermark is a rifle hunter, but she wants to get into bow hunting. She said it takes some time to learn.
“That’s a whole new dedication,” she said.
She said it’s becoming a common thing in the area for women to go out hunting with the men, and she has a lot of former classmates who are into it.
“There’s a lot in the area. You’d be surprised,” she said.
She’s teaching her daughter to hunt. She said her daughter likes to go gopher hunting.
“My daughter has been shooting a .22 since she was 5,” Vandermark said.
Families that hunt tend to hunt together, and many women get into hunting as girls, learning it from their moms and dads.
“It’s always been a family activity growing up,” said Bridgette Odegaard.
Her mom is a hunter, and her father taught her to hunt, along with her brothers. Her geneder didn’t make much of a difference when it came to pursuing the family sport.
“He was real supportive,” she said.
Einarson’s dad also got her into the sport.
“He’s a big hunter, as are my two brothers,” she said.
While more women are getting into it, hunting remains a primarily male-oriented sport. The national survey noted 12.2 million hunters in 2011 were male.
But that is changing.
As families pass down the sport to their sons as much as daughters, the trend of women hunters will likely continue well into the future.
“It seems like a common thing to me,” said Odegaard.