No Boys Allowed

It has been more than 120 years since the little 5- foot- tall lady sharpshooter graced the stage in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.  The great Sioux Indian chief, Sitting Bull, called her "Little Sure Shot," and her remarkable shooting skills wowed audiences around the world.  That little lady was named Annie Oakley, and it was during the late 19th century that she single-handedly sought to introduce more ladies to the shooting sports. To be honest, she enjoyed only a limited success in bringing female shooters to shooting ranges around the country, but in recent years, increasingly more women have shown interest in the world of shooting, and today there are more female recreational shooters and hunters than ever before.  Many of these ladies are from the South, where the weather is warm for most of the year and recreational shooting and hunting are favored pastimes of tens of thousands of shooting sports enthusiasts.

Ladies Join the Shooting Ranks

Over the years, many ladies joined the shooting ranks because they wanted to learn how to defend themselves. You will find them at indoor and outdoor shooting ranges primarily learning how handle a handgun.  While learning to shoot for self -defense is important for those who choose to do so, one must admit that it isn't the most glamorous form of recreation available for the female shooter. Because the shooting sports are so popular with men, some women found themselves introduced to shooting stationary targets or clay pigeons with a shotgun by a father, boyfriend or husband.  In most instances, they simply wanted to try it to see if they would like it.  To no one's surprise, many did, and for the past decade or so, clay target sports have attracted the most attention.

Just how popular are the shooting sports in America?  A recent study indicates that there are more people who hunt or shoot for recreation in this country than the number who play golf and tennis combined. Today there are 35 million participants, and that number is growing. When it comes to shooting for recreation, many women have discovered that they enjoy shooting games such as trap, skeet or sporting clays.  The trap and skeet games have been around for decades, but the new kid on the block, sporting clays, has literally taken the recreational shooting world by storm, and thousands of lady shooters have embraced this wonderful sport.

For the complete article, pick up a copy of the April/May issue of South magazine

Story by Marty Fischer

Photography by Logan Crable and Chloe Cryan