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New opportunities for women who want to hunt

It’s no secret that the outdoors world can be an old boy’s club at times, and at least one female hunter is working hard to change that. To inspire more women to get into hunting, longtime hunter, shooter and outdoor media personality Amanda Lynn Mayhew (pictured, at left) has recently started two new initiatives: Women of the Outdoors and Targeting the Huntress.

The former is a series of hands-on instructional workshops designed to give women the chance to get acquainted with firearms and archery equipment in a safe setting. While they’ve primarily been held at the Elmira Rod and Gun Club, this year, events have also taken place at the Guelph Rod and Gun Club. And Mayhew says that she would host the event at any club that wanted to have it.

“The program was created due to the volume of messages I would receive from girls who wanted to start shooting but didn’t know where to go,” she says. “I’ve taken friends out to the range now and then in the past 15 years, but as I became more popular in the outdoors world, the questions became more frequent.” Therefore, she decided to make the hunting introduction sessions more official, and open them up to the public.

Meanwhile, Targeting the Huntress is a panel discussion that takes place at the Toronto Sportmen’s Show every year, showcasing the experiences of female hunters. The goal is to “encourage, empower and educate women about hunting.”

With both programs, Mayhew says she wants to inspire others to join in, and help to preserve and maintain the longstanding tradition of hunting in Canada. She is also planning another project, the Ontario Women’s Hunting Association, to provide an avenue for women to gain more experience with hunting gear and to connect with mentors. “After their licensing, women can come to us and utilize our group for guided hunts to learn what to look for, how to dress, prepare, etc.,” she says.

While the Women of the Outdoors event this Sunday at the Elmira Rod and Gun Club is sold out, stay tuned for future editions. Check the Facebook page for more information.

The next Targetting the Huntress event will take place at 2015 Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, but applications to participate in the panel are being accepted now. For more information, go to the Targetting the Huntress Facebook page.

Bob Sexton

Bob Sexton

Growing up in Gander, Newfoundland, and Peterborough, Ontario, Outdoor Canada's managing editor Bob Sexton jumped at every chance to wet a line and head afield. After spending half of the 1990s working as a tour guide in Latin America, he completed a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in 2001 and was hired on as Outdoor Canada's assistant editor. Since joining the magazine, he has won two Outdoor Writers of Canada awards, in 2008 and 2011, and contributed to numerous National Magazine Award winning or nominated stories. Sexton is the past president of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.