By Bre Bashford, Georgia R3 Coordinator
Many women have only been hunting with their male counterparts. Many are searching for a fellow sportswoman to learn from, grow with or inspire. This was the narrative of seven women who attended Artemis Georgia’s, “Going Out with a Bang” Turkey Hunt the last weekend of the 2021 turkey season.
Artemis Georgia is a strategic initiative established and supported by Georgia Wildlife Federation in collaboration with Artemis National and the National Wildlife Federation. Ambassador Melissa Hulsey hosted the event jam-packed with hunting, eating, comradery, learning, and adventure. Women came together from all backgrounds and experience levels. Participants ranged in age from 27 to 62 and drove many hours to join the festivities. Some women had dabbled in hunting but longed for more guidance. A few women had been hunting for years, but not with other females. ALL women were thrilled to be enjoying nature supported by other ladies.
It is hard to put into words exactly why we want to hunt with other women. Perhaps it is because anyone learning anything feels a sense of insecurity and it is easier to overcome those feelings with people to whom you can more closely relate. Possibly it is because hunting is an extremely emotional experience filled with anticipation, fear, excitement, and immense gratitude; is it easier to embrace those feelings when not surrounded by the constructs of the masculine hunting culture? Maybe we want to hunt with other women because having a gal pal to share your beloved activity with is simply awesome. Regardless of why we crave for it, yearn for it, the time is now and we are ready.
The narrative for women across the state is morphing as Artemis Georgia grows. We aim to generate a network of women with varying stages of expertise; to identify and overcome barriers; to foster personal, mentoring relationships ultimately leading to a deepened sense of community and stewardship for the environment. Artemis Georgia hosts virtual Fireside Chats to gather sportswomen across the region. Each gathering has a lead speaker who shares her story, passions, interests, or trades. Conversations evolve and adapt to the audience as women ask questions and learn from one another. We provide opportunities for hands-on skill development and community bonding. This may take on the form of a scouting trip, a float down the river, a game of skeet, or an evening of wild game delicacies. Whatever the medium, Artemis Georgia seeks to engage, empower and encourage one another in conservation through hunting, fishing, and shooting sports.
The Georgia R3 Initiative is a cooperative effort between 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