Ladies Hunting Camp: Inspire, Motivate & Empower


Candy Yow, founder of Ladies Hunting Camp, with a bighorn sheep harvested in New Mexico.

The percentage of female hunters almost doubled between 1980 and 1990 and has continued to increase steadily since. Today, 10–15% of all hunters are women. Helping to cultivate this growth and empower women to connect with nature and build confidence through hunting is Candy Yow, founder of Ladies Hunting Camp.

The Oregon-based Ladies Hunting Camp, a unique initiative founded with the vision of promoting women’s participation in hunting and outdoor activities, has thrived for over a decade due to the dedication of Yow and her husband, Randy, who host the annual camps on their ranch in Fort Rock, Ore.

The volunteer-managed and donation-driven organization provides expert instruction on a variety of techniques that include archery and rifle shooting; tracking, stalking and calling game; field dressing and processing meat; outdoor cooking; and more. Women (and girls) must have their hunter-ed card, but all ages and skill levels are welcome to attend.

“Over the years, we’ve had women from almost every state travel to attend our camps,” said Yow. “In the beginning, around 90% of participants were from the Northwest, but in recent years, we’ve had women fly in from as far as Florida and New Jersey. One year, we even had a whole group come from Alaska.”

The nonprofit organization has grown to host multiple camps in several states with the support of corporate sponsors and in-kind product donations. In April, they brought the Ladies Hunting Camp to the expansive Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Arizona.

They also host several advanced courses each year, including a long-range rifle course taught by Nicholas Kytlica from Leupold at Weatherby Ranch in Sheridan, Wyo., and a two-day concealed carry boot camp. Their newest offering is a three-day youth camp for boys and girls ages 9 to 18.

A Helping Hand

Nosler, also based in Oregon, began partnering with the organization two years ago. 

“When we sat down to define our five-year goals and took into account all the new hunters and shooters entering the market, we knew we specifically wanted to reach more women,” said Madi Woodward, brand marketing manager for Nosler. “Providing ammo is really small for us, but hugely impactful for the women participants and for Ladies Hunting Camp as an organization.”

Throughout the camp’s duration, attendees are able to use and engage with Nosler’s ammunition, receiving hands-on training and personalized guidance from the Ladies Hunting Camp team. Nosler’s ammunition is used to not only elevate participants’ shooting proficiency, but also to provide them with an understanding of the critical role ammunition plays in hunting performance.

“For many of the participants, we’re the first ammunition manufacturer they’re getting to have hands-on experience with,” Woodward added. “And when you consider how loyal women are as consumers, the partnership is a no-brainer for us.”

More importantly, a press release from Nosler stated, “The ripple effect of this sponsorship is expected to inspire more women to explore hunting as a rewarding and empowering pursuit.” 

As the campers return to their respective communities, they carry with them newfound skills and lasting memories.

Our supporters have realized that even if all they do is provide a giveaway item or discount code, not only do the women become loyal customers, but so do their husbands, fathers, children and other family and friends.

Expansion Into New Markets

Citing growing interest from those in Wyoming and Montana, Yow’s goal is to continue expanding Ladies Hunting Camp into new markets and teach as many women and youth the basic skills they need to be safe and successful in the outdoors, but they can’t do it alone.

“Our supporters have realized that even if all they do is provide a giveaway item or discount code, not only do the women become loyal customers, but so do their husbands, fathers, children and other family and friends,” shared Yow. “One company even said they’ve had 100% return on investment from their partnership with Ladies Hunting Camp.”

The increase in female hunting participation over the years can’t simply be attributed to the notion women are suddenly growing more interested in the outdoors. It’s also the result of an increase in educational opportunities and a slowly but surely growing list of manufacturers that are creating gear and apparel intentionally and thoughtfully designed for women.

Supporting organizations like Ladies Hunting Camp is just one way those in the industry can continue cultivating that growth. 

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