Though some may consider hunting a “man’s sport”, it’s not just boys enjoying the thrill.
From the rifles and bows to the early mornings, girls are doing it all, and proving they can hang with the guys.
For as long as she can remember, junior exercise sport science major Amber Sherman, along with her sister, has been hunting alongside all the men in her family.
“When we were born my dad had hunting knives made for us,” Sherman said.
At 7-years-old she began practicing with her first BB gun, shooting tin cans in the backyard and receiving the nickname “Amber Oakley” from one of her uncles.
It was with her father and uncles on an old rice field just outside of town that Sherman developed her love for the sport.
She said, “I always felt like I was a big girl going on an important hunt.”
Sherman describes a typical day of hunting as waking up early, grabbing some coffee and heading out.
“We’re in the stand before the sun comes up, and we stay until we get hungry; usually around noon,” she said.
Though she enjoys all of her hunts, the most memorable happened three years ago.
“It was my first time to shoot with a bow,” Sherman said. “It was a perfect shot.”
Sophomore social work major Kristen Kimmel recently experienced her first real hunt.
Though she has mixed feelings about the expedition, she gained a new appreciation for hunting and hunters alike.
“It’s more of a sport than I thought. I thought it was just people walking around, but there’s an art to it,” Kimmel said.
Growing up in a small town, Kimmel saw many of her female friends going on hunts with their dads and wanted to finally see what it was all about.
After hours of sitting in the stand in the cold, Kimmel walked away from her first hunt empty handed but happy to have had the time to bond with her father.
“I enjoyed going with my dad to see him do something he enjoys,” she said.
While hunting is something she has always enjoyed doing, Sherman does admit that as a female hunter she is often teased by the guys who participate in the sport and feel that girls cannot perform as well.
“I think they just want to be the ones to teach the girls how to do it,” Sherman said.
Kimmel has found that there is often the misconception that hunting is just for guys, but has seen this trend begin to change.
“Hunting is stereotyped with boys, but I think it’s cool to see more girls doing it. It’s becoming more acceptable,” she said.
Another avid hunter, sophomore cell biology major Megan Dromgoole, says that many people don’t know how to react when they find out that she hunts.
“It catches them off guard. I don’t know if they think more or less of me,” Dromgoole said.
Whatever others’ perceptions may be, Dromgoole enjoys the experience, especially the escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
She said, “I just like being away from the town in general.”
Sherman also appreciates this aspect of hunting.
“My favorite part is being outside in God’s creation,” she said.
And while many hunters these days have turned the sport into a competitive industry, Sherman has no interest in competing.
“I hate that they’re turning it into all about the trophies,” she said. “I don’t really do it for the horns. I just like it.”