Sisterhood Outdoors

Where There’s Room For Everyone

Amy Ray (far right) with a group of women out in the field. Under Ray’s tutelage,
Sisterhood Outdoors takes more than 400 women a year to the outdoors.

Amy Ray is the founder of Sisterhood Outdoors, a program that encourages and works with women in the outdoor areas of hunting, fishing and shooting. Their tagline is “Becoming the Sportswoman You Always Wanted to Be.” Ray shared insights on how this intriguing program came to be.


Ray got into the hunting space in 2010 when her husband taught her how to hunt — and she thoroughly enjoyed it. 

“I hunted with him for a few years, and then I started thinking about a way to find girlfriends to go out with, which is also the same reason many women reach out to us today,” she said.

Later, Ray’s husband bought her a shotgun and taught her how to shoot it and then bought her a duck hunt as a Christmas gift. While on the hunt, Ray met amazing women in Tennessee, who became future business partners.

“I then proceeded to book the turkey hunt and then booked the summer trip and went to Wyoming with them and then I went on an archery hunt for antelope. We became fast friends, and I joined their team and helped them grow the business,” she recalled.

She later purchased the business and rebranded it to Sisterhood Outdoors.

“I knew they had something special back in 2010. Their first year they took 35 women on guided trips and doubled it in the second year,” Ray shared. “Now we take over 400 women a year into the outdoors.”

Ray took what was special and helped it evolve into something meaningful for women.

“What’s really beautiful about what we do is it’s nothing different than what guys have enjoyed in camp or at the lodge for years,” she stated. “My dad was a big hunter. He went to his hunting camps and his lodges and had seasonal dates with his friends. What those guys were sharing was fellowship in the outdoors. We’ve just created those opportunities for women to do it now.”

Surprises & Challenges

Ray acknowledged the most challenging aspect of getting started on the business side of Sisterhood Outdoors was doing the work on the back end — such as running a booking site.

“I’ve had to invest heavily in the back-office system so we can have an easy way for women to book a trip and have all the information they need,” she said. “It’s amazing how far we’ve come; from a phone call and a black book where we wrote everything down to all of the customer records management systems in place today.”

Through her experiences helping others, Ray knows the gratification that comes with assisting women on their journey as sportswomen.

“If you’ve never worked or volunteered to help someone else, I very much encourage you to do it,” she advocates. “It’s nice women get to learn to hunt or shoot or fish, but the fact that I get to witness the journey has enriched my life so much.”

When it comes to mentorship, one of the surprises Ray has experienced is having more confidence in the women than they have in themselves.

“Sometimes when I’m teaching, I tell my mentees that I’ll sit the first night of a hunt and show them how to get in and out of the stand safely, what to do with their firearm, what the game behavior is going to be like and just get familiar with it all,” she explained. “The second night I’ll tell them they’re on their own.”

She continued, “They panic right away and say they need me. But I tell them, ‘You don’t need me, you’ve learned everything you need to learn. I have more confidence in you than you do in yourself.’”

Taking a “cut the apron strings” approach, she sends them out to their stands.

“I let them know I’m always close by and they can text me, and I’ll run out to their stand if they need me,” she said. “But I give them space because they need to learn when they leave my event they can go home and do it on their own.”

Mentorship Program

Earlier this year, Sisterhood Outdoors introduced a membership community.

“Once you’re in, we’re able to share webinars, PDF files and go live on the network and talk directly to the members. There are all kinds of knowledgeable women on there from my team so just about every question you have, someone on there can answer it,” she informed. 

Further facilitating a sense of community, members can find other members of Sisterhood Outdoors who live in their area.

“A lot of women are looking to find other women who like to shoot, hunt or fish, and now they’ll be able to connect,” Ray said. “It’s going to be a great way for women to find local women; we just need to get more to join so they can build the networks in communities.”

Sisterhood Outdoors has a diverse team of field and pro staff (Ray calls them “ambassadors for our sports”) — with over 30 women across the U.S. who serve in this capacity.

“I get asked a lot about how someone can join our team, but we usually find them instead of them finding us,” she said. “We look for expertise and for someone who has the values we share and the professionalism we require. What we’re doing is not only affecting other people’s lives, but we also have to be safe and take care of our guests in a very professional way. We do it so we can set a standard for other women in the industry, too.”

Final Thoughts

In Ray’s view, the future for women in the hunting community is bright.

“We’re just really excited about the future of hunting for women because the opportunities are tenfold from what they were when I started,” she said. 

Of course, there’s always room for improvement.

“We’re glad everybody is embracing women in the outdoors, even though we have a long way to go in some aspects,” Ray said. “I’ve been asked at a lodge if I was the kitchen help, but I don’t let any of those kinds of comments bother me. We just need to be kind and change the narrative and not carry a chip on our shoulders.”

The surge in products designed for women is also representative of how far the industry has come in welcoming them as a buying force.

“I look at how far we’ve come since 2010 when the clothes were terrible and the gear was awful,” Ray recalled. “Many times, we were the first all-girls group to show up at hunting lodges. Today, we’re going to these same lodges and they look forward to our group every year.”

Ray concluded, “I think it all says a lot about what women have achieved in our industry and our sport. There’s so much room for everyone.” 

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