Twelve first-time women hunters were feeling anything but sheepish in the south Texas Hill Country recently as they took part in the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) Women Hunt program. The event, in which each woman had the opportunity to harvest a whitetail doe, kicked off at the FTW Ranch near Barksdale, Texas, as part of its FTW/SAAM New Hunter Course.
"We've learned a lot from the recent surge in women wanting to get into hunting," said Gray N. Thornton. president and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. "A lot has come from the past three years of engaging seminars hosted by the WSF Women in Hunting Initiative, now titled Women Hunt. The most reoccurring thing we've learned is that the barriers to entry for women are much higher than those for men. We wanted to do something about that."
Participants were selected from nearly 50 applicants from across WSF's network of chapters and affiliates. The four-day course included principles of rifle marksmanship, shot placement, in-field shooting positions, hunting techniques, etiquette, and ethics, big-game biology, trailing, and wild-game field preparation and cooking.
"These women are sharp, very engaged, and highly motivated," said Thornton. "We had a comprehensive presentation on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, including a video on the Model and women's role in the early 1900s conservation movement.”
Thornton said it was inspiring to see the discovery and journey of these women. “They may not have hunted before, but they came with all the qualities of a hunter; keen awareness of what was going on around them and the ability to apply what they learned."
"We had a lot of support for this first event," Thornton concluded. "Thank you to SITKA, YETI, Weatherby, Boyt Harness, Kenetrek, Leica, and of course the FTW Ranch and their SAAM New Hunter Course.” Sponsors of the course was provided by auction donations from Allterra Arms, Two Lazy Two Custom Rifle Maker, Pursue the Wild, Alaska Wilderness Enterprises, and Linda Demmer.
WSF Women Hunt will host another 12 aspiring female hunters in October 2022 at the FTW Ranch. What’s more, those who participated in this year’s event will volunteer at the January 2022 Sheep Week in Reno, Nevada.
For more, visit WildSheepFoundation.org.