In recent years, however, women have gotten in on the outdoor activity. More and more women every year are doing some form of hunting. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau, a total of 1.2 million out of the 12.5 million hunters ages 16 and up recorded in 2006 were women, which is nine percent. In the 2011, 1.5 million out of the recorded 13.7 millions hunters in the United States were women, which is 11 percent. In short the increase of women hunters in the United States has increased by 25 percent over the five year period.
In the Bolivar County area, hunting is one activity many women enjoy.
Beth Peeples said one the thing that she likes about hunting is it’s a time to relax.
“I just like the calmness and peacefulness of the woods,” Peeples said. “I’m enjoying God’s creation. When I hunt with Jeff or one of my sons, it’s time spent with them.”
Peeples, 49, has become a more avid hunter over the past two years as she mainly hunts deer. Her husband Jeff and her sons Cody and Clay, along with deer, also hunt ducks turkeys, doves, etc. Peeples killed her first deer last year, and she had never shot a gun before the day she killed her first deer in Sallis, which is located close to Kosciusko.
Peeples said her son was a big help to her on that day.
“Cody was there with me,” Peeples said. “I used his gun and we were laying on the ditch bank. He helped me line it up and told me when to pull the trigger.”
Many hunters like to get up early in the morning, but Peeples is not an early riser.
“I’m a late afternoon hunter,” Peeples said. “I’m not going to get up at the crack of dawn.”
Peeples said she’s learned the value of being quiet and patient when hunting.
One aspect that is special about hunting for her is quality time with the family.
“It’s a lot of fun to be together as a family and enjoy each other,” Peeples said.
Robyn Dye, 23, has hunted for most of her life. Her father, Malcolm Dye, exposed her to hunting at around age eight and it’s been a hobby of hers ever since. Dye has hunted for animals such as deer, turkeys, doves, squirrels and raccoons to name a few.
“It’s like a sport and you look forward to every year,” Dye said. “It’s something about the time of the year. You can be somewhere and either be with somebody you enjoy hunting with or be by yourself. It’s fun.”
Dye loves the excitement hunting can bring.
“Whenever a deer is in your sights, your heart starts racing and you see it through the scope,” Dye said. “You’re looking for just the right moment, and you have to hit in the right spot. When you kill a deer that’s like nothing else you can explain. I guess people that really don’t understand hunting just hadn’t been in the moment right there in time.”
Dye said the feeling she gets when she eats something she kills is a unique experience.
“You kill something that day and then you clean it, you have the meat and you go home and cook it,” Dye said. “The only reason you’re eating that is what you did earlier. There’s nothing like it.”
Dye said her family is the main reason why she developed an interest in hunting.
“If it wasn’t for members of the family, I probably wouldn’t have any interest in it if I hadn’t been exposed to it,” Dye said.
Melissa Harris, 36, has been hunting most of her life as she started when she was age 10. She has a husband named Shawn, and they have two children, a daughter named Lindsay, 5, and a son named Dylan, 10, and the whole family loves to hunt. The family does most of of its hunting in Arkansas.
Hunting has always been a huge part of Harris’ life.
“I have always enjoyed hunting for as long as I can remember,” Harris said. “My whole family enjoys going to the woods. Lindsay and Dylan enjoy being outdoors any time they get a chance. Our favorite hunting experiences have come from deer hunting and hog hunting.“
Harris said there are elements about the outdoors and being on a hunt that she embraces.
“My favorite part about hunting is sitting in the stand in the peace and quiet just watching listening to the birds and wind rustling through the trees just hoping that a big buck will make an appearance,” Harris said. “It doesn't matter if a trophy buck shows his face or not, just being out there in nature is a really good feeling. I have gotten a few good ones over the years but never the monster that all hunters hope to see step out every time they go to the woods.”
Meg Tuttle, 50, has spent most of her life with hunting as a hobby. She was exposed to it at age 12 by her father Leland Speakes.
Tuttle said the time with her father has played a big role in her enjoying hunting.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors, and I’ve always had a love for hunting because my daddy enjoyed it so much and I really enjoyed being with him doing that.”
Tuttle recently killed her first big buck, as it was an 8-point.
“It was so thrilling,” Tuttle said. “My heart was racing, and I was sure hoping I did get it. I didn’t have a lot of time to think on this one, and I think that’s what helped me. It just appeared, and I just got him. In the past, I’ve wanted it so bad that my gun was shaking and I'd miss them. It was a thrill.”
Tuttle enjoys deer and dove hunting the most and loves hunting in the afternoon. She’s also been turkey hunting and hog hunting. Her family is also big in hunting as her daughters, Shelby, 18 and Sarah Beth, 10, and son Austin, 11 also hunt. Her husband Mike enjoys hunting, and they hunt at the Merigold Hunting Club.
“My oldest daughter, Shelby, one day she got the grand slam as we call it,” Tuttle said. “She got a buck, a doe and a hog all in the same day. Austin would rather hunt than anything. He’s killed a good bit to. He’s killed some bucks, some does and some hogs. He loves being out there. My youngest went hunting for the first time. Her first deer to kill, she got a buck.”
Tuttle said the hunting experiences create a family bonding time.
“We enjoy telling each other the stories,” Tuttle said. “If Mike goes hunting with Austin, my daughters are racing up saying tell us the stories. My husband takes each child one at a time, so he can have time to spend with each child. I actually went hunting with my son for the first time this year, and we both got in the stand together. That was some bonding time with my son, and my husband was in another stand with my youngest. We enjoyed getting together at the end of the day and talking about what we saw.”
Monica Pence, 29, hunts with her fiancé Josh Warrington. She recently killed her first deer over Thanksgiving in Duncan.
Pence said killing that first deer was a great experience.
“It was overwhelming, but at the same time I was glad I could prove to Josh that I can do it own my own,” Pence said.
Pence was exposed to hunting at a young age by her late grandfather Elgyn “Jake” Smith.
“I used to hunt with my grandfather when I was a child and then my grandfather passed away,” Pence said. “I hadn’t been since my grandfather passed away until last year with Josh. Last year was the first time I got to go hunting in nine years.”
Monica and Zack hunt with their three kids, Raegan Beach, 9, Zack Warrington, 7 and Marlee Pence, 4. Zack recently killed his first deer on Tuesday, and Raegan enjoys dove hunting.
Pence said hunting is a special time for the family.
“We make family events out of it,” Pence said. “We go by ourselves or with the kids. When most people are planning their weekend, we’re planning our hunting.”