Women, Guns, and Hunting; Far From a Recent Trend

Women Pheasant Hunters
Women Pheasant Hunters

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- If you listen to those on the left about women and guns, they will tell you that guns, since they were invented, have been solely for men, and that to see a woman holding a weapon of any kind was once taboo.

To see a woman out hunting was something that was historically impossible, and that women taking part in hunting is only a recent invention.

To be fair, men do make up more of gun owners and hunters, but that isn’t necessarily the fault of men, but of our culture. For decades, Hollywood and those when it came to portraying history always threw women into the role of the damsel in distress to be rescued, and that the “little woman” stayed home with the “youngins” while the men-folk went out to get the game animals and kept the family fed. This went back as far as the caveman who went out with his club, dragging his meal back to the cave.

Women Hunters: Nothing was further from the truth.

Lady Elk Hunters on Horseback
Lady Elk Hunters on Horseback

While there has long been this pretense that men were the hunters, going out into the wild while the women stayed back to do all the laborious work, history has proved otherwise. In a December 2006 article in Current Anthropology magazine, Neanderthal and early humans saw no distinctions when it came to who shared the chores. Those early ancestors were described in the following way:

“On a given day, almost anyone in any foraging society might take advantage of opportunities to bag a big animal or to pick berries, albeit within the limits of their physical capabilities. Among high-latitude hunter-gatherers, widowed women or daughters in families without sons could become successful and habitual hunters.”

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley

As history progressed, women did not give up hunting, in fact, in Greek mythology, Artemis, seen with her bow and quiver of arrows, was the goddess of the hunt, as was her Roman counterpart, Diana. Ancient Egyptians worshiped the goddess Neith, whose symbol was two crossed arrows over a shield. Pinga is the goddess of the hunt to the Inuit, in Finland, it’s the goddess Mielikki, in Georgian mythology it’s Dali, also armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows. Throughout the world and recorded history, women were associated with hunting. It was far from a “men’s only club” as the liberal left seem to portray it as. Here in America, the most famous example of a woman who knew how to provide for her family was Phoebe Ann Mosey, better known to all by her stage name, Annie Oakley.

While most people associate Annie Oakley with the Wild West, she was born in what is now Willowdell, Ohio in 1860. Her early life was hard after the death of her father, at ten years old she was bound out to another family to help care for their son and other menial labor for fifty cents a week. For two years Annie suffered horrible abuse at the hands the family she was essentially loaned out to, to the point she never mentioned their name, other than describing them as “the wolves.”

Annie Oakley learned how to trap and hunt at the young age of seven or eight, and sold the game to locals and shopkeepers to support her own family. She was so successful doing this that by the time she was fifteen, she had paid off the mortgage on her family farm.

It was when she was fifteen years old that Annie Oakley was in Cincinnati in 1875 and she encountered marksman Frank Butler who was putting on a show, and there was a bet that he could beat any local shooter that they could muster. A five-foot tall little girl stood before Butler and then proceeded to beat him in the contest. Instead of being upset that he was whipped by a female, Butler became Annie’s manager, and eventually, they fell in love and got married. For the next ten years, they toured together until they both joined up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It was there that Annie met and began a rivalry with another woman sharpshooter named Lillian Smith, who most historians seem to have ignored.

Lillian Smith’s life seemed to be the opposite of Annie Oakley’s, while they both began shooting at a young age, Smith was the flashy braggart to Oakley’s more conservative and quiet confidence. The two, while both were part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, were never on friendly terms and after a bad showing in a competition overseas where Annie Oakley did well, Smith’s chances for fame and fortune pretty much ended. After leaving Buffalo Bill’s show in 1889, not much was heard from Smith again until she surfaced in Oklahoma in 1907 as Princess Wenona with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show. Lillian Smith retired from competition in 1920 and died ten years later, never leaving the state of Oklahoma.

Despite her fall from grace and a tough run of it, it proved that Annie Oakley wasn’t an anomaly and that women shooters and hunters were welcomed in the world supposedly dominated by men.

Women Hunters : sharpshooter Lillian Frances Smith (L)
Women Hunters : sharp shooter Lillian Frances Smith (L)

Today the liberal left seem to regard women with any thought of using a firearm as few and far between, yet like throughout history, women have always been a part of hunting, being outdoors, and in our modern times, perfectly capable and willing to carry a gun to defend themselves. Outspoken gun owners like Dana Loesch and Tomi Lahren have proven that women can hold their own in the debate about gun ownership for the fairer sex.

Women Hunting Jack Rabbits with Shot Guns
Women Hunting Jack Rabbits with Shot Guns

Women and gun ownership are far from a recent trend even though those on the left would like you to think that it is. Women and hunting is not something that is has been left to the menfolk as Hollywood has been saying for decades.

Women Hunter with Shotgun Belt
Women Hunter with Shotgun Belt

Women of the past hunted alongside men because society was vastly different. If something happened to the man of the house, the woman had to know how to feed the family, not just sit around and wait for some tall stranger to ride in and save her, like in the movies. It was a hard and brutal life, and everyone, including the woman, had to know what to do.

So the next time you hear some liberal pontificate that guns and hunting are only for men, and that women weren't, and had never been, allowed to take part because they were never let out of the kitchen, remember that as long as mankind has been hunting, women have been right there alongside the man in their matching loincloths dragging that wooly mammoth leg back to the cave.

 


About David LaPell

 

David LaPell
David LaPell

David LaPell has been a Corrections Officer with the local Sheriff's Department for thirteen years. A collector of antique and vintage firearms for over twenty years and an avid hunter. David has been writing articles about firearms, hunting and western history for ten years. In addition to having a passion for vintage guns, he is also a fan of old trucks and has written articles on those as well.

 

 

  • 5 thoughts on “Women, Guns, and Hunting; Far From a Recent Trend

    1. Think I may have forgotten to hit the post button ,so forgive me if this shows up again . (I am getting old..er)
      Just where do you think we would be today if it weren’t for the frontier woman ?

    2. Good News, and yes it is true as I have helped many Ladies join The Sport in the last 52 years. Well maybe not 52 years ago as I was only 12 when the NRA attracted me into the sports. To Bad The NRA has lost their way and their roots. Next of my list are my 2 Grand Buddies, both Girls, ages 5 and 6, and I already have 3 firearms for each of them once they reach the age of majority. I taught their Mom, My Daughter how to shot and hunt, so I figure she will let me teach her Girls. Now I am guessing they will be ether right or left, but I don’t care as I have been party blind all these years, yet I have never missed in a vote in 49 years.

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