More Ohio women hunting for deer

1007775667 Oh Col Deergun 1

More Ohio women hunting for deer

More women are pulling on camouflage clothing, shouldering their guns and heading out to hunt in Ohio and across the country.

1007775667-oh-col-deergun-1

They will be among the hunters perched in tree stands and deer blinds as Ohio’s gun deer-hunting season opens today. The season runs through Sunday, with a bonus weekend Dec. 17-18.

Karen Norris will be one of those hunters. She grew up in a deer-hunting family but didn’t take up the sport until after she earned a wildlife-management degree at Ohio State University, went to work for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife and became friends with co-workers who hunt. She has been hunting for more than a decade and has gotten her sons, 11-year-old Jacob and 8-year-old Logan, interested.

“My husband does not hunt. It’s me passing it on to my sons,” said Norris, a 43-year-old Hilliard resident who accompanied Jacob on the recent youth-hunting weekend. He bagged a button buck, a young male deer. Young hunters checked 5,930 deer over the Nov. 19-20 youth-hunting season.

The family will dine on the meat.

“I’m more of a meat hunter than a trophy hunter,” Norris said. “I want to fill my freezer. You can’t eat antlers.”

Norris has taken deer with her muzzleloader and her compound bow, and she has had the meat processed into roasts and ground venison.

The appeal of providing free-range, organic, locally sourced meat for their families motivates many women to hunt.

“They like to know where their food is coming from. Deer meat is very healthy, very lean,” said Tisma Juett of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Many also love being outdoors and consider hunting a social outing to enjoy with their families, she said.

Men still are the vast majority of hunters, but the number of female hunters has been increasing. The Census Bureau’s most-recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation found that the number of female hunters increased 25 percent between 2006 and 2011. In 2011, women totaled about 1.5 million — 11 percent — of the 13.7 million hunters nationwide, the survey found.

More recent reports by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Sporting Goods Association estimate the female hunters in the country at more than 3 million.

Ohio’s numbers reflect the trend. Women bought 31,013 deer-hunting permits in 2015, compared with 25,924 in 2011 (men buy more than 300,000 deer-hunting permits annually), according to state figures. The recorded deer-hunter numbers are lower than the actual numbers because people who hunt on their own land aren’t required to buy state hunting licenses and permits.

Lauren Thomas isn’t interested in hunting deer (she doesn’t like venison), but said she might try turkey or duck hunting next. She began hunting pheasant and quail with her husband this year and found she loved it. She enjoys being outside and feeling the adrenaline rush of flushing out the birds, and she eats what she shoots.

“If you’re going to eat it, that’s fair,” said Thomas, 40, who lives on Columbus’ Northwest Side and runs an auto dealership in Logan County. “I’d love to see more women hunters.”

Val Cox, whose Pataskala spread borders deer-filled woods, has taken four of them in the past five years using her compound bow during deer archery season. She also plans to hunt during deer gun season. The meat from one deer lasts her a year, providing ground venison, summer sausages, roasts and fillets.

“It’s very therapeutic,” said Cox, 44, a boating-education coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who hunts as often as she can. “It’s getting away from the hustle and bustle of life and having it be quiet, listening to nature and the sound of leaves falling, snow falling. It’s very peaceful to me.”


Originally posted by Mary Beth Lane at The Columbus Dispatch
Monday November 28, 2016 5:48 AM
Photo ©Tyler Stabile | Dispatch

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