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Hide hunting

The number of women attending hunting courses has seen a steady increase. There has also been a continuing rise in many countries in the number of women involved in hunting. If we take a look at studies on this topic, they highlight that women prefer hide hunting and tend to focus on different key aspects of hunting to men.


In ancient times women were the ones responsible for hunting. Diana and Artemis were the goddesses of hunting in Roman and Greek mythology respectively. Artemis apparently even went hunting with golden arrows and a silver bow. These legends aside, women have firmly established their place in hunting activities, mainly in the last 20 years.


Women’s involvement in hunting is not something completely new. There were already records from the 14th century documenting the involvement of women in hunting. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of women managed to become famous internationally for their hunting prowess. The best-known example is Annie Oakley, who caused a sensation in the USA as a professional hunter, and later as a trick shooter. She was celebrated as one of the first female superstars. Her colorful life story inspired the musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” which was a great success on Broadway in the 1940s. In addition to this superstar, there were also numerous female hunters mainly from the start to the middle of the 20th century, who are relatively unknown nowadays, but were engaged, for instance, in big game hunting. Together, they all paved the way for today’s female hunters.


Germany, Austria, and Norway lead the way when it comes to female hunters. In Germany alone, women account for 10% of hunters, with the figure for women attending hunting courses even as high as 20%, with a continuing upward trend. Even in countries, such as Switzerland, where the proportion of women involved is relatively small, the figure is 5%, and the numbers are on the rise.

A study conducted by the University of Bremen into the psychology of hunting has attempted to find out more about the motivation of female hunters. According to the results, the overriding motivation for hunting among women is the need for game-keeping, which is just the same for their male colleagues. However, pure trophy hunting is more or less categorically rejected. Female hunters realize that hunting is also the complete opposite to their everyday life. There was a fairly equal balance among both genders for obtaining game for food as the motivation for hunting. There was only a negligible difference between women and men in this regard.


The paths that lead people to take up hunting are completely individual. Some go hunting with their partners, while others have signed up for hunting courses out of their own interest in and enjoyment of nature. However, what is interesting is that many women come across hunting through dog training. This was actually the case in Germany when in 2012 62% of the hunting license applications received from women came from this path. 

Female hunters can actually be found taking part in every type of hunting, with hide hunting being particularly popular. “In particular, spending long nights in a hide waiting for a boar to appear provides an excellent opportunity to take in the ambience of nature,” comments one woman, also confirming the affinity just mentioned of female hunters for hunting dogs. “Hunting with a dog is actually much more enjoyable. I can’t imagine hunting small game without a dog. Even when hunting hoofed game, it’s always more pleasant and helpful to have a companion.”


The preference for hide hunting corroborates the views expressed in psychological studies on hunting and the statements from some female hunters. According to the current view, women are regarded as being extremely conscientious during training and focus more in their activities on the enjoyment aspect rather than on the prey. But, it is not possible to make such a generalization as neither women nor men like to be stereotyped. Taking a closer look at the results, it quickly becomes evident that female hunters are quite happy to use their skill not only to “shoot down” prey, but also a few clichés.

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