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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/michigan/chi-ap-mi-exchange-huntingm,1,2999021.story
Woman aims to interest girls in hunting

By ELIZABETH SHAW
The Flint Journal

July 11, 2006, 12:04 PM CDT

DAVISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- It's Americana as classic as a Norman Rockwell painting: A camo-clad hunter and young protege sit side-by-side among the trees, the dawn sky slowly changing from gray to blue around them.

The student listens intently, shotgun poised, as a distant turkey answers the teacher's call.

But look closer: There's something slightly unusual about this familiar portrait. The mentor is a woman, Arlene Minto of Davison Township. And her student is a teenage girl, Genevieve Dent, 13, of Burton.

They're part of a growing trend, as sporting organizations and other hunting advocates turn to women and teens to bolster the future of hunting in Michigan.

The state Department of Natural Resources also is turning its sights on those demographics, with new programs, including training workshops, for female hunter-education instructors.

The reason is simple. According to a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, hunters spent an estimated $490 million in 2001, with license fees helping fund wildlife management and conservation programs across the state. But the percentage of Michigan's population that hunts has declined from about 10.1 percent in the 1960s to about 8.7 percent in 2002.

Women are a natural place to look to bolster those numbers, said Minto.

"I didn't hunt when my own girls were little, so I never got the chance to do this with them. It was all sewing, cooking -- the traditional stuff," Minto said of daughters Leah, 19, and Kate, 22.

That changed five years ago, thanks to husband David, an active member of Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation and other sporting organizations seeking to increase hunter numbers in Michigan.

After hearing for years about all the deer she spotted in the backyard while he was up north hunting, she said, her husband put a gun in her hands and taught her to shoot.

"This was something that wasn't offered to me when I was young. So I didn't think about offering it to the kids until David offered it to me and I found out how much fun it is," she said.

Genevieve caught the bug last August, when her family attended the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) event.

It only took a few broken balloons during the target shoot and she was hooked. Before long, she'd won an NWTF essay contest, completed a hunting safety course and went on her first outing with local NWTF president Jim Miller. The club later provided her with a shotgun and paired her with Minto for the spring turkey season.

"She showed us she could hit stuff that day. She's a natural. But to be honest, I didn't think she'd follow up like this," said her dad, Richard Dent, who hasn't hunted since he was a youth in Wisconsin. "Now it looks like I'll be getting a license this fall as the next avid hunter in the family."

He and wife Suzanne praised both the club and Minto for their impact on their daughter.

"Genevieve's become more confident and it's just opened up more things for her. Because of this, two of our kids are now in a 4-H competitive shooting club too," said Suzanne Dent, who has home schooled the couple's eight children, ages 7-27. "Arlene is very motherly and loving, so Genevieve is very comfortable with her. She's more like a friend than a teacher."

Genevieve agreed.

"I feel closer to my brothers because we all have a hobby now together. I never had a big hobby except reading, but this is my main thing now," she said.

For Minto, it's been a welcome opportunity to pass along her passion to a younger female.

"My girls think it's a riot their mom hunts, but it's not something we share. Leah has gone and sat in the woods for deer hunting with her boyfriend, but she hasn't done it with me yet. And Kate is more into backpacking and that kind of thing. So this is a real treat," she said.

"What's really nice is to see Genevieve so excited about it. It's so hard to find kids that want to do this kind of thing, and to have her parents so supportive when they don't hunt themselves."

So far, the pair has been out five times, usually in the woods behind Minto's home but also on a friend's farmland near Goodrich. They've had some curious gobbles in answer to the squawks from Minto's box call, and once a tom came within range but Genevieve was unable to get a clear shot.

"Every time she's here at the house before dawn, ready to go. And when we take her home, the whole family comes out of the house as soon as we pull in the driveway, wanting to know if she's got her bird," said Minto, laughing. "It's like she has her own cheering section. After all this, the day she finally gets it, they'll know long before we drive her home."

They might have to wait awhile yet. A long rainy spell thwarted their most recent attempt, as the birds moved to higher, drier ground far from their usual foray near the Mintos' blind.

"A turkey is not an easy animal to get. For her to have this kind of dedication is something else. She's a real trouper," said Minto. "Most kids at 13 lose interest pretty quick, but this girl has just been so patient. She really hangs with it and because she'll do that, I'll hang right in there with her."

Copyright © 2006, The Associated Press
 

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:cheers::cheers: I'm for anyone getting others into hunting, Thanks C!
 

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Thanks Crystal!!! Good post.

Having a 12 YO daughter that likes the outdoors and likes to shoot has been a lot of fun for me. Finding female role models that hunt and fish and that she can look up to has been very difficult, that is until I found MWT. MiniMarsh likes to lurk here and read the many posts, but her favorites are those posted by the ladies. She has said many times that now she knows it is okay and cool for girls to hunt and fish. Thanks to you and the other lady MWTers for doing a superb job as role models.:eek::cheers:
 

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Originally posted by Whitemarsh
Thanks Crystal!!! Good post.

Having a 12 YO daughter that likes the outdoors and likes to shoot has been a lot of fun for me. Finding female role models that hunt and fish and that she can look up to has been very difficult, that is until I found MWT. MiniMarsh likes to lurk here and read the many posts, but her favorites are those posted by the ladies. She has said many times that now she knows it is okay and cool for girls to hunt and fish. Thanks to you and the other lady MWTers for doing a superb job as role models.:eek::cheers:
Wonderful WM... hopefully my daughter will grow up for the love of the outdoors...

She already loves makin turkey sounds, using my duck calls, playin w/ the camo... sure cant wait until shes old enough to take her out in the woods for the first time.. will truly be memorable
 

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WM~ we have talked before about this........................I would really love to spend some time with her hunting this fall! If she ever wants to go hunting or fishing or camping or what ever you have that little gal call me!!! She is a great girl and I would enjoy spending the time with her!
 

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Great article C. The only thing I don't like about this one and some others like it, is that they make it seem like the only reason we want women involved is to get more money or "bolster" the hunters numbers. There's just so much more to it than that.
 

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Originally posted by JRNYRAVN
Great article C. The only thing I don't like about this one and some others like it, is that they make it seem like the only reason we want women involved is to get more money or "bolster" the hunters numbers. There's just so much more to it than that.
Man, you took the words right out of my mouth! Who cares about the numbers and such. Teach the boys and girls to hunt and fish because it is a great thing to get them hooked on. Our 5yr old baits her own hook already and loves to go frog diggin! (Giggin but she used to call it frog diggin!)
 

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While numbers are not that important, we need a more diverse section of people into hunting. Not the type of hunting they are doing on most of the TV shows but old fashion, good friends hunting together, having a great time hunting! If we lose too many people in hunting we may lose hunting all together!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Originally posted by JRNYRAVN
Great article C. The only thing I don't like about this one and some others like it, is that they make it seem like the only reason we want women involved is to get more money or "bolster" the hunters numbers. There's just so much more to it than that.
HELLO!!!! It is all about money to them!!! For us it is just great to get out there and do our thing. The thing we love to do, and appreciate it for what it is. But we are not the ones selling camo, other gear, guns, or tags!! So to everyone else in the world but us~it is about money!!!
 

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My daughter may not be into hunting, but she still wants a 20 gauge shotgun for her birthday. She enjoys shooting clay birds.

Good post Crystal!
 
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