NYTimes.com Article: A Woman's Place is in the Woods (This is laughable, check it out)
- This article from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by elf8000@....A Woman's Place Is in the WoodsSeptember 29, 2002By FRANCIS X. CLINES NEW CASTLE, Del., Sept. 25 - With the number of traditionalmale hunters dwindling across the nation, Dawn Fairling, astate wildlife educator, is tracking women, brandishing herwell-oiled Remington 1100 single-shot deer gun, her Benelli12-gauge bird gun and, of course, her tangy recipes forcooking what she calls "harvested critters." "There are more and more single-parent households thesedays, so we want women to discover the old male traditionsin which you and your kid can be together as hunters in thewoods," said Ms. Fairling, who is on the cutting edge of anational movement known as BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman)that has opened the deep-woods sanctuary of male hunters tothousands of women in the last 10 years. "And game has a lot less fat than other meats," added Ms.Fairling, a canny mix of pragmatist and feminist when itcomes to her job of hunting down women who might enjoyhunting down game. "Real Men Love Outdoors Women," reads the bumper sticker onher bulletin board here in a state education center busywith the pop and thwack of gun and archery hunterspracticing at the ranges. True, Ms. Fairling can point morefrequently to women showing up at the ranges with theirboyfriends. But her basic message to would-be hunters isthat the real romance is in escaping the madding world'sroutine for the pristine solitude of the hunt. "Hunting makes you take the time to smell the roses," saidMs. Fairling, who visits schools to enlist girls inparticular into the mystique of shooting and hunting. In the last five years of the BOW program, Delaware haslicensed 700 women to hunt the woods and water lands."Before, the number was zero," Ms. Fairling said. Beyond more divorce and its erosion of father-sontraditions, state officials cite the suburbanization ofrural woods and the explosion of new sports as factors thathave driven down the number of licensed hunters in Delawareby 22 percent in two decades. Nationally, the drop has been10 percent in the last generation, says the Fish andWildlife Service. Hunters make up 7 percent of the generalpopulation, according to 1996 data; female hunters alonemake up 1 percent. The data show women more involved aslicensed anglers; about one in four anglers are women. To invite the gatherer gender to become hunters, BOW wasconceived in 1991 by Dr. Christine L. Thomas, a naturalresources professor at the University of Wisconsin atStevens Point. Dr. Thomas found that lack of basicinformation more than ingrown squeamishness was why manywomen shunned the outdoors. "There are reasons like nonhunting families, and they onlytook your brothers hunting, or it's not ladylike, orthere's fear of guns or of being the only woman in ahunting camp," Dr. Thomas said. "But we find most of theperceived barriers boil down to: How do I do it?" That question is answered in 47 states by BOW educatorslike Ms. Fairling, who loves the woods and the range and iscompiling a book of recipes for venison, snow goose andmost "harvested critters" short of road kill. "We just got four new hunters, four gals, out of thenational scholastic clays program," the hunter-teacherproudly noted of a competition in which local teenagers shehelped train did well. Last weekend, she shepherded themfrom shooting clay pigeons to hunting live doves. Dr. Thomas came to hunting by default, she said, as theoldest daughter of a hunter-father with no sons. "I was theonly son my father ever had," she said, describing theself-esteem that hunting built, a significant factor in hercreating the BOW program. Twenty thousand women go through BOW's introductoryprograms nationwide each year, paying about $200 for aweekend's campground room, board and lessons in hunting,fishing and activities like canoeing and bird watching. "They get the opportunity to learn the terminology, try theequipment, begin to get a support base," Dr. Thomas said. The lessons here include the bonus of Ms. Fairling's tipson shooting only the game you can eat. "And I teach themthat these critters do not taste nasty," she said. "If youknow how to handle saut�ed apples, brown sugar andcinnamon, you've got yourself some tasty snow goose." Beyond initial motives like determination and curiosityabout the exotic, women who stay in hunting discover thejoy of a new kind of bonding, of finally belonging to aspecial, venturesome group, Dr. Thomas said. "And it's veryaddictive," she said. "I'm going elk hunting this weekend."http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/29/national/29HUNT.html?ex=1034341262&ei=1&en=73e15fab8d1d3c60For general information about NYTimes.com, write to help@.... Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
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