Greetings from the 51st SCI Hunters’ Convention at Nashville’s Music City Center, Feb. 22-25, as we women of the NRA join Safari Club International in honoring the hunting community’s fastest-growing hunting demographic: women. SCI is celebrating “Women Go Hunting” throughout the annual four-day event, inviting attendees from across the country to share their hunting stories and special outdoor memories right from the convention hall floor by clicking here:
SCI Executive Director Laird Hamberlin says the move is great timing as increasing numbers of women are not just attending the SCI show but are coming into the hunting fold. While we know there are countless reasons for this, a 2022 survey by Responsive Management—an internationally recognized survey research firm specializing in attitudes toward natural resource and outdoor recreation issues—titled, “Exploring the R3 Needs and Opportunities of Female Hunters, Sport Shooters and Archers, specifically examined women’s participation in these traditional outdoor sports, reporting on women’s needs, interests, preferences and constraints. The top answers cited for why women in the study hunted were no big surprise: to spend time in nature and for food for ourselves and our families.
And in honor of our celebrated lifestyle choice, we certainly appreciate how firearm and archery manufacturers are making more guns and equipment tailored for women than ever. Many are here to visit with us on the show floor alongside a growing list of women’s hunting clothing companies. Major brands from Sitka Gear to Prois to, most recently, Kuiu in 2022, are offering not just options in base layers or outerwear but full lines of women’s performance apparel to cover us in all climates and all types of hunting. Make a point to stop by these booths, which are packed to the point I literally just bumped into Prois founder Kirstie Pike.
Meeting women’s needs is exactly why the NRA set aside major resources in 2020 to launch NRAWomen.com, America’s all-encompassing resource for women and their treasured Second Amendment pursuits. Whether your passion is hunting or your interests are personal protection, recreational or competitive shooting, gun collecting or fighting to promote our Second Amendment freedoms, America’s No. 1 women’s site has you covered, including when it comes to the latest guns, optics and gear.
As editor in chief of NRAWomen.com, my longtime friend and colleague Ann Y. Smith works 24/7 to cover women’s interests—from a woman’s perspective. Because there is no such thing as a typical gun owner, considering the Second Amendment offers us the freedom to pursue as much of the liberties afforded by the Second Amendment as our hearts desire, the site showcases a broad scope of topics. Material is updated 24/7 with news and general interest articles from contributors who share our passion for freedom and the great outdoors.
“Since our launch in April 2020, NRAWomen.com continues to provide the most current information available for women who shoot, hunt or who want to engage in Second Amendment advocacy,” said Smith. “As with all NRA programs, we strive to be a leader in showcasing industry trends, and also serve as the most credible resource for women who have joined our ranks—particularly those new to shooting and the great outdoors.”
And in typical NRA fashion, when it comes to working for the good of the group, the site has your back regardless of whether you’re an NRA member and is available free of charge. It is another testament to how the NRA presses on 24/7—from fighting for hunters in the political and legislative arena to showcasing the education and training programs that set us up for a lifetime of Second Amendment pursuits to offering national award-winning magazines and websites like NRA Women and the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website, NRAHLF.org. And speaking of NRA Publications, as more milestones go, did you know we’ve got two major birthdays this year as NRA’s American Hunter turns 50 years old and American Rifleman turns 100? Such anniversaries speak volumes when it comes to commitment to the gun-owning community.
Now back to the SCI show. I’m in good company this week as I keep an eye out for outdoorswoman and Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. As NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action shares, Hyde-Smith is one of us. She works to protect the future of hunting and wildlife conservation and to protect our Second Amendment freedoms. No wonder she was named SCI’s 2022 Federal Legislator of the Year. Also in attendance is Fox News Channel contributor Katie Pavlich, host of Fox Nation’s “Luxury Hunting Lodges of America.” Well, of course, she’s here too. What hunter wouldn’t make a point of attending the annual SCI Hunters’ Convention, which, by the way, is drawing exhibitors from 107 countries all under one roof?
While we women are here for personal reasons—to meet up with friends, to visit with a particular outfitter, to attend educational “how to” hunting seminars—we’re also here for the camaraderie. We’re here to experience one of America’s foremost celebrations of hunting, to be a part of something greater than ourselves as we embrace our leadership role in the hunting arena.
Talking with Ann Smith from the SCI show floor underscored exactly that: Women are a major part of protecting our Second Amendment freedoms and the drive to hunt, which happens to be my personal passion. Admittedly obsessed with booking my next hunting adventure, whether near my own backyard or half a world away, I attend events like the SCI, DSC and NRA conventions to immerse myself in all things hunting. I enjoy a reunion with people I’ve met through the years who are now my friends and have fun researching my next adventure. But I also attend for the camaraderie, to sit back and witness a gathering and be part of something greater than me.
Circling back to SCI’s “Women Go Hunting” celebration, we all have a story to share as hunters, whether we just experienced our very first adventure or we’ve hunted for years. Again, be sure to take a minute and share your story. It’s one more way of engaging with others who share our love of hunting and making sure freedom remains intact. And SCI just may select your story to share on its social media platforms or in its publications.
So, as we women step onto the red carpet that SCI rolled out for us, we know this group is right: Women are indeed the hunting community’s fastest-growing demographic, and our engagement is critical to protecting the future of hunting and the hunter-backed wildlife conservation programs that hunting ensures. Of course, we don’t need a special invitation to be part of the mix. We’ve been pursuing our outdoor dreams all along. We just happen to have more people than ever in our ranks, which SCI says is a nod to our love of adventure and the reason women are all over the SCI show floor.
Just don’t look for me at lunchtime Friday. I’ll be with NRA and SCI friends at the annual SCI Sables’ luncheon, the women’s arm of SCI that focuses on raising funds for the SCI Foundation’s conservation education programs. The success of that event alone demonstrates how we women are active in supporting what we love. No wonder so many women are here at the SCI show to celebrate “Women Go Hunting.” No wonder the NRA Women's Leadership Forum is the fastest growing community within the NRA. No wonder NRAWomen.com is so successful. If you look around the exhibit hall, one thing is a given: We women are indeed the key to the future of hunting and wildlife conservation.