The southwestern corner of the Texas Hill Country is beautiful, rugged and game-dense.
With crystal clear creeks cutting through limestone, roadsides covered with wildflowers and a horizon framed by towering hills it is beautiful.
It’s also a perfect place for native wildlife like whitetail deer and Rio grande turkey as well as exotics ranging from axis deer to Nubian ibex.
All of this comes together at the FTW Ranch near Barksdale, TX and it unified in spectacular fashion at the launch of Women Hunt™, a new program of The Wild Sheep Foundation.
Twelve women from throughout North America got an opportunity to go on their first big game hunt courtesy of WSF and its partners.
“We wanted this to be an experience they will never forget,” said Women Hunt™ chair Renee Thornton.
The participants got a chance to hunt whitetail and exotic does to help the ranch with their game management objectives.
But before that, they experienced the FTW Ranch’s SAAM New Hunter Program.
To call it comprehensive would be an understatement as the ladies learned everything from gun safety and wildlife identification to field dressing and venison preparation.
The heart of the course was learning to shoot accurately under different kinds of conditions with guidance by world-class shooters and instructors.
This was the first major public step of Women Hunt™ and it was a big one, helping to create an on-ramp for women with an interest in immersing themselves in the hunting lifestyle.
My interest in the project is two-fold.
For starters, I hate when limits are put on people and believe women who wish to hunt, especially those who don’t have easy access to mentors should be able to participate without being overlooked or marginalized.
The second reason is what women can bring to wildlife conservation.
As someone who runs a nonprofit for children and wildlife, I can tell you all but two of our volunteers are women. I have learned when women commit to something they give it their all and come into causes with a servant’s heart.
And statistics bear this out.
According to a 2014 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are 30 percent more likely to volunteer than men.
That’s a huge a gap and in my opinion as more women enter the world of hunting and wildlife conservation, women will take volunteerism in this world to new heights.
That translates to more wildlife and habitat impacted in a positive way and it also creates a more family-friendly environment amongst hunters.
And the more women who buy hunting and fishing licenses and join groups like the Wild Sheep Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Dallas Safari Club and others, the bigger voice we have in the halls of legislature and at the ballot box.
That’s all for the future but for now there are 12 new very empowered and outdoors-educated women coming out of the WSF’s Women Hunt™ at the FTW Ranch.
The state of the hunting and outdoors world doesn’t change overnight but having had the opportunity to meet these ladies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start making waves very soon.
Their determination to become the best, most conservation conscientious hunters possible is inspiring and their passion for the outdoors is contagious.
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