By Bre Bashford, Georgia R3 Coordinator
Artemis Georgia focuses on establishing strong community bonds among women to ensure continuation amongst our female hunters and anglers. Over the Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, six women gathered for adventure and to encourage one another in our outdoor pursuits.
The wildlife conservation community has seen a decrease in hunting participation over the last few decades. Programs have tried to recruit new participants into the activity, but long-term license buying behavior has not been demonstrated as desired. Within the last 10 years or so, new emphasis has been placed on the retention (increased participation) of existing or newer hunters. Efforts to take hunters from self-identification of being a new hunter to an intermediate hunter have become a priority. These efforts are especially essential for women hunters as women have a higher likelihood of reducing participation due to a variety of reasons an example being family obligations.
This weekend hunt camp was focused on duck hunting, but as duck hunting typically concludes by 9 AM, there was plenty of hog, rabbit and squirrel hunting to be had as well. Most importantly there was opportunity to sit around a campfire, chop wood, laugh, tell stories, eat game meat and develop friendships. Participant Olivia Menard told her fellow ladies she had every intention on developing a new hobby of backpacking this last year, but once she found Artemis Georgia and women who enjoyed hunting as much as she did, it was an easy decision to explore new species and empower other ladies who were interested in the activity.
Participant Jenni Durban lives temporarily in Georgia for a work assignment. She was really disappointed to be missing hunting season back home in Montana, but was pleasantly surprised to find Artemis Georgia and hunt with local women. She has attended two deer camps, a duck camp and multiple virtual Fireside Chats.
Hunting is hard to learn, it’s especially hard to keep at it. A social support network such as Artemis Georgia can make all of the difference.
This program was made possible by the Artemis Leadership Alliance volunteers; 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