The Secret To Empowering (And Teaching) Women To Hunt & Shoot


Brittany Boddington provides instruction during a range session at a recent camp.
(Image: She Hunts Skills Camp)

Everything you knew about teaching women to hunt and/or shoot for the first time might be wrong. How do I know? Because I thought, as a woman, I knew how to teach other women the same skills I took for granted.

It wasn’t until I started attending She Hunts Skills Camp in Texas Hill Country with host Brittany Boddington I saw the magic needed to empower women to learn to shoot, and ultimately, learn to hunt.

Marketing & Learning

It’s one thing to know what is needed to market to women to attend these camps, such as a 5-star lodge, well-known instructors and a swag bag full of clothing from DSG Outerwear and binos from Leupold, to name a few. Those attributes draw women into a camp where they will be well-taken care of over a five-day period.

As Boddington, whose idea for these camps started five years ago said, “Women are often handicapped by chivalry in the early stages of learning to hunt. One of the main purposes of She Hunts is to equip all campers to shoot or hunt independently after attending our five-day camps.”

Marketing a camp is one skill. Learning why a woman wants to attend a camp with just other women is another. And this is the secret sauce no one talks about. Even Boddington shared it took having a few camps under her belt to fully see the effect her open and honest teaching was having on women who came through the doors.

“I’ve had women attend who are too timid to even hold a gun in their hands, and by the end of the camp, they confidently hunt a pig or other animal on the property,” she shared. “We never assume what any camper knows. We start with the basics and slowly work up from there. We spend a lot of time on the range. We sit with them and shoot as much as they like until they feel comfortable not only with pulling the trigger, but with gun handling and all the different shooting positions. With less than 15 campers each time, we have the luxury of being able to truly focus on each woman’s needs — and then meet them where they are.”

We knew what we needed to do at that moment to be safe and successful. This gave me the confidence I needed as a new hunter.”

Abigail hilderbrand
She Hunts Skills Camp Participant

“I didn’t even get to load my own gun.”

She Hunts alumni Joni Dryer had gone hunting several times before attending She Hunts camps, but everything was always done for her.

“I didn’t even get to load my own gun,” she explained. “At She Hunts, I learned how to mount a scope, load my gun and understand what I was doing and why — not just to point and shoot. I think any woman interested in hunting and shooting needs to give herself the gift of learning; it’s very empowering.”

Are there men in the camp? Yes, of course. They include guides at Record Buck Ranch, and Boddington’s dad, Craig, is an instructor. Her husband, Brad, teaches on the range and is the archery instructor. But Boddington encourages the women to hang out with each other and build lasting friendships, which is another key to a successful camp. 

“Some women bring a friend, which is great, but it’s better if they come alone. They’ll mingle with other campers more and learn from everyone,” she observes.

It isn’t always work at the camps. Since each session is five days, Boddington can build in plenty of downtime — or hunting time.

“After each camper is successful on the range and I feel they can be successful in the field, we allow them to head out hunting with a guide,” she noted. “I’ve seen women walk into the camp and state they hands-down refuse to hunt in the field. And then, magically, by day two, they’re in the Jeep with their guide, glassing the field with their newly curated binos, proudly sporting their hunting gear and taking selfies to send to family back home.”

What gives? Why do these women walk into camp with one idea in their head, but in less than 48 hours, have a complete turnaround?

It's All About Self-Confidence

My theory is that, for the first time, these women finally believe in themselves. The camp teaches a skill, yes, but it builds confidence no one can take away. This is one of the reasons Boddington started the camp.

She shares her story with the campers every session — about how she grew up with a famous dad in the hunting world but didn’t start hunting until she was in her late teens. And then, he or other men in the hunting camp would do everything for her. Her rifle would be set up, her scope mounted and dialed in; all the gear would be ready to go, much like Dryer’s testimony. It would get so bad, she shares, when she was out in the field, guides would stand behind her and whisper in her ear, “Shoot now!” 

Boddington didn’t want that. She wanted to know how to mount a scope on a gun (a skill the campers learn first); she wanted to learn how to sight in a rifle; she demanded to be able to hunt on her own and shoot when she felt she was ready – not when someone else whispered in her ear.

She is adamant about teaching these skills in her camp.

“Many men do these basic set-up tasks for their wives or girlfriends to get them ready to hunt with them, but they don’t realize they’re truly holding them back,” she conveyed. “Not allowing their partner to learn exactly what that rifle is, how to dial in the scope, how to pull the trigger and so on, sets them up for failure. It’s unsafe. They could wound an animal because they weren’t ready or wound themselves with scope bite or other typical field injuries.”

As She Hunts alumni camper Abigail Hilderbrand shared, “One thing I learned about myself was that I wasn’t afraid to try something new. Having never fired a gun or aimed a bow prior to attending She Hunts camp, I was quite nervous. Brittany and the instructors provided specific instructions for each task. We knew what we needed to do at that moment to be safe and successful. This gave me the confidence I needed as a new hunter, and I did go hunting with my husband shortly after the camp!”

Many campers are repeat customers, such as Hilderbrand, who has attended camp three times. Some have told me they learned much more from the second camp than from the first — even though the content is identical. Campers even demanded Boddington have an “advanced camp,” which she started this year and dubbed She Hunts 2.0.

On Equal Terms

Women are demanding to be heard in the hunting and shooting world. We want to be on equal terms in the field — and we certainly can be. We need to make our own mistakes, as frankly, it’s how we learn.

However, not every instructor can teach women. (I’ve seen that, too.) Not every person is equipped to see the layers of self-doubt, discouragement and fear hidden behind a smile. Some instructors glaze over it and plow through the seminar because they assume the women want to get out in the field. But the camp is where the finer details are presented, such as the shot placement seminar Craig Boddington gives campers. I’ve found the campers are just as attentive during this seminar as when they’re at the range with Craig helping them hit bullseyes. 

It’s all about building skills that stack upon one another so when the camper is ready to go hunting, they can draw upon when Craig, Brittany or Brad showed them how to do it. And then, by gosh, they do it.

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