By Brittany Boddington
The She Hunts Skills Camp was created to help give women a safe space to develop skills and build confidence in their abilities in the outdoors. We try to give the ladies everything they need to get out there and get hunting. We not only give them knowledge and personalized training but we also provide them with a swag bag filled with all the essentials to get out in the field. Our goal is to help educate women about hunting so they can be strong and independent hunters and hopefully pass their knowledge on to the next generation.
Hunting has been a traditionally male dominated sport but the tide is turning. There are more new female hunters getting tags yearly than new males which make females the fastest growing demographic in the hunting industry. What we have observed is that not all these new hunters have a solid mentor to give them the basic knowledge they need. Many ladies had a father or brother that hunted and they have fond memories of going with them but as adults they lack the confidence to take their kids out hunting without that mentor. We aim to give these ladies the tools to create those memories for their children. We have also had a high number of ladies attend the camp that have lost their hunting partner, some to divorce and others to death. These ladies still want to go hunting but their partner had always done the work for them by sighting in their gun or mounting their scopes or even gutting the animals they hunted together. The She Hunts Skills Camp is a perfect place to come and learn. It doesn’t matter if it is a refresher course or if it is the first exposure to hunting, everyone learns something.
I came up with this idea a few years ago but struggled to get it off the ground on my own. It wasn’t until I confided in my friend and now partner Shannon Lansdowne about my idea that we really decided to go for it. Shannon and I share a common history in the fact that both of our fathers got us into the hunting industry and both of them forced us to learn by experience and taught us the basics so that we would not have to rely on them for help. What set us apart was that Shannon was brought up in the outfitting business and trained as a guide in British Columbia while my dad brought me up as a hunter and journalist. We both have skills in hunting but from opposite ends of the industry which was perfect for us to develop the She Hunts program. We each brought skills that we saw as essential to the table and we worked out a curriculum that we believe is comprehensive enough to give ladies what they need.
What we did not anticipate in building the camps is the impact that the camp would have on the ladies that attended. We figured it would be fun and educational. We hoped they would leave with a new or renewed passion for the outdoors but it actually became so much more. We have had ladies join us that had gun trauma in their past that they were trying to work to overcome. We have had recent widows that lost their hunting buddies that needed to find a way to back into the outdoors on their own. We have had divorcee’s that want to continue to share the outdoors with their kids but must now be the leader when they take them out. We had no idea that creating a safe space for women to learn about the outdoors would open the door to so many ladies with the desire to heal wounds and get out hunting again.
“The She Hunts Skills Camp not only taught me amazing outdoor and hunting skills, it allowed me to be a part of a sisterhood where friendships have been built that will last a lifetime.”-Marissa Poole, She Hunts Alumni
She Hunts is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done in the outdoor industry or actually in my life. The friendships and bonds that are formed at the camp are incredible and truly special. After the first camp I thought we had just gotten lucky with an amazing group of ladies but after several more equally amazing groups have passed through the camp I can say for certain that we are lucky to attract an incredible type of woman. These ladies are strong and independent, they are quick learners and they take each lesson to heart. The future is bright for She Hunts because as each group goes through the camp our family just gets bigger.