By Bre Bashford, Georgia R3 Coordinator
Remaining true to its’ 1936 Bylaws, Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) promotes hunting and fishing as essential tools of wildlife management through its’ woman’s initiative-Artemis Georgia. In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and support from the Georgia R3 Initiative, 11 women traveled to a South Georgia farm for a doe and hog hunt October 22nd-24th, 2021. Lodging and board was provided by a generous landowner and the event was sponsored by Badlands Gear.
The community building event strived to empower women to bring home their own protein for the family table and contribute to wildlife conservation. Women arrived Friday mid-day for target practice, a safety briefing and hunting commenced with less experienced paired with more experienced woman for guidance. The first harvest was an invasive feral hog. Feral hogs are opportunistic omnivores eating any available plant or animal matter. They cause tens of millions of dollars in agricultural damage annually and negatively impact native wildlife and vegetation.
GWF recognizes that hunting is greater than just a harvest, but about conservation as a whole. In addition to population management, hunting, angling and the shooting sports fund the majority of conservation efforts in North America. Participants were reminded that their dollars spent on licenses and firearms is used to scientifically monitor and manage species, preserve native landscapes from development, increase access to public land, protect wildlife from poaching, and educate the public on their local wildlife and outdoor pursuits.
The weekend event culminated with quartering and butchering demonstrations further developing the participant’s skillsets. Women are the fastest growing demographic of new hunters nation-wide. GWF believes providing social support networks will encourage continued participation.
Artemis Georgia’s Ambassador and Alliance Chair Melissa Hulsey expressed her gratitude, “I am so pleased with the success of the Artemis South Georgia deer hunt. All 11 ladies that participated agreed the event provided a safe space to learn and hunt. Making lifelong memories and new friends was a bonus. This hunt helped to fulfill the mission of Artemis to engage, encourage and empower women in their outdoor pursuits.”
This program was made possible by the landowner, the staff and guides on the property; support from Artemis Sportswomen of National Wildlife Federation; and the members of the Georgia R3 Initiative: Georgia Wildlife Federation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Deer Association, and Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International