Cori Engelhardt of Spearfish had a story to share recently that fellow hunter Maggie Speirs could well relate to. Each is an experienced and accomplished elk hunter with numerous animals taken through the years. Coriís latest archery bull was taken in the Black Hills with husband and hunting partner Dave. It was the second elk to fall to Coriís bow in the last two years. As she told Speirs, ĒI hit last yearís cow through both lungs and the shot put the animal down in 20 yards. This yearís bull dropped in his tracks.Ē A spine shot will do that.
It's the sort of conversation between two women that might have been rare years ago but is becoming more and more common as more and more women take up hunting. In fact. the rising tide of female hunters has become large enough that it is sending ripple effects throughout the firearms and hunting industry.
Twenty years ago female hunters might have been relegated to the boys section in the hunting wear department and asked to settle for equipment that was oversized and designed for men or find a limited selection in youth models. Today manufacturers and outdoor retailers are targeting the ladies market.
Women are the fastest growing segment of the outdoors and hunting population with 50 percent growth over the last 10 years. Over the last five years, NRA-trained female firearms instructors increased by 84 percent to nearly 8,000. Two states, Idaho and Alaska, have female hunting populations that near 20 percent of all hunters in the field. Women are such a powerful driving force in hunting that the number of hunters is actually expanding for the first time in generations. Economist Jerry Leonard noted in the 2006 U.S. National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife that a child was nine times more likely to hunt if his or her father hunted several days a year. If a childís mother was a hunter, the likelihood that he or she would carry on the tradition was exponentially higher. The survey also highlights a change in attitude that men are experiencing when hunting afield with female partners.
Dave Engelhardt has been taking daughters Olivia and Kenlee hunting with him since before they could walk. Cori fondly describes the look in her husbandís eyes when he tells the story of bugling for elk as an infant daughter looked up in awe from the carrier strapped to his chest. Men who hunt with their daughters do more to guarantee the future success of wildlife and wild places than those who reserve the gun and bow for their sons.
Coriís bull may well be the largest archery elk taken by a female South Dakota hunter in years. The six by six antlers will easily place it in the stateís Pope and Young record books after it goes through the 60-day mandatory drying period. It was the immense body size that left the strongest impression for the Engelhardt hunting team. The pack horses that eventually carried the load out of the forest were burdened by the weight of an estimated 900-pound bull. The cool wet summer has left lush meadows and abundant forage for wildlife and trail cam photos of this seasonís elk herds show healthy animals bulging with body fat. The abundant water has also dispersed the herd in small groups in many areas rather than having concentrations as occurs when moisture is in short supply.
Coriís bull came after three quiet days of fruitless pursuit when they didnít hear or see a bull in areas that they normally frequent. Husband Dave held back and cow called first a young rag horn bull within range, but when Cori saw the herd bull making his way in her direction she held her shot for the largest bull of her career. - See more at: http://southdakotahunting.com/article/wo...h.cUiLafsu.dpuf