More Saskatchewan women participating in gun activities
REGINA – Their motivations to pick up a firearm are pretty universal.
“You hit a target, and you can see that you’ve hit it, so it’s like, ‘Yes! I did something. I accomplished something,’” said Karen Hanson.
But Friday’s crowd at the Wascana Pistol Club in Regina wasn’t typical, as the club hosted its first ever women-only night.
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“They didn’t really want to be with their boyfriends, didn’t want to be with their husbands, they didn’t want to feel out of place. They just wanted to come out by themselves and have a good time. So we decided, well, let’s create a ladies’ night and see what happens,” said club president Kelly Moens, who has been with the club for 25 years.
The goal is to make it a monthly affair.
And there is demand – between 10 to 25 per cent more have joined the club in the past three years.
Provincially, the numbers are going up, too. In 2012, 27 per cent of students in the Saskatchewan Hunter Education program were female. In 2013, that number jumped to 35 per cent.
“We see the numbers creeping up to where you honestly should believe that they, at some point, would hit that 50-50 mark,” said Darrell Crabbe, executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation on Friday.
“That’s just the greatest news we could ever have.”
The new customer base also has store shelves looking a little different.
“Five-six years ago, you’d never see a pink firearm on the rack, or anything related to this kind of a colour. And, now, we bring in a variety of different colours – pinks like this – and we can’t keep them in stock,” said Darryl Schemenauer, TnT Gunworks owner.
Many women at the inaugural ladies’ night liked the idea of a gender-specific night.
“Being in an environment with just women, it seems to be a little more friendly, a little less intimidating, I find,” said Alicia Hutfloetz.
Brandy Blayone attended because she wanted to experience the rush of pulling the trigger for the first time.
“It seemed like a good opportunity without guys watching and making fun of us,” she said.
But there may not be much to make fun of.
“To tell you the truth, I’d say the ladies are better shooters than the men. They’re more steady, they listen, they come out to have a good time, and they do very well,” said Moens.
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