A recent article in Petersen’sHunting online stated that the percentage of women who are hunting rose from 11% in 2011 to 19% in 2013. Almost doubling in two years! Here in Maine, more women are taking to the fields, woods and streams. It is exciting as an outdoors woman to see this happening and watch as more women feel comfortable going out on an early morning turkey hunt or sitting in that bear blind by themselves. Yet, there is more that can be done to help women get outside and learn these new skills.
In an effort to help more women and girls get outside and continue the growing trend here in Maine, a group of women have come together to create Women of the Maine Outdoors, a non-profit organization that will help to provide information on educational opportunities and funding possibilities for all fellow Maine women who want to try their hand at any outdoor activity. Any woman or girl who is interested in camping, ATVing, fishing, trapping, hunting etc. is eligible to apply for a scholarship to cover the cost of these classes. Women of the Maine Outdoors’ goal is to help provide scholarships to classes like those offered by Women and our Woods, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman and the National Turkey Foundation. But, it goes beyond introductory classes to courses like Wilderness First Aid, Hand gun safety and Conservation camp for young girls. Perhaps one of the coolest opportunities is for women to go for their Maine Guide’s License with a scholarship from the group.
Along with this new group comes a fantastic partnership! Women of the Maine Outdoors has partnered with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to become the go-to resource for women interested in the outdoors. This state-wide partnership will allow women to get connected with the programs, events and learning opportunities offered through SAM and their partners while having the funding support of Women of the Maine Outdoors. Cathy DeMerchant, chair of the SAM board couldn’t be more excited, "The SAM Board is incredibly pleased to be partnering with Women of the Maine Outdoors! This is a natural fit for our organization, and will enable us to further strengthen our core mission by providing educational opportunities to what is now the fastest growing segment of our membership. In addition, the new partnership will allow us to strengthen the American heritage and tradition of hunting, trapping and fishing. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership!”
Businesses like Langtown Outfitters (www.langtownoutfitters.com) are also stepping up to help Women in the Maine Outdoors get started and work to get more women comfortable with any and all activities in the outdoors.
Here is how you can help: As a non-profit organization, Women of the Maine Outdoors will rely on funding from outfitters, rod & gun clubs, businesses and individuals to offer scholarships from $5 - $500. If you would like to help, please contact the board at www.womenofthemeoutdoors.com. Beginning in January scholarships will be available to all interested women and girls so please spread the word to anyone that you know who may benefit from a scholarship!
It is the goal of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Women of the Maine Outdoors, to allow any girl or woman the opportunity to join that 19% and feel comfortable in the great Maine outdoors. Please join us!