VOHRINGER: The future of hunting is in good hands

By on September 28, 2017
For Nikita Dalke hunting and the outdoor experience is a family tradition that includes her children. As a hunting and outdoor ambassador Nikita has become a role model for other women and youth wanting to become hunters. (Photo courtesy of Nikita Dalke).


During the mid-eighties and into the early nineties hunter numbers plummeted to an all-time low. It got eventually so bad that some insiders started to predict that if this decline continues for much longer it could spell the end of the hunting heritage as we know it in the very near future unless a miracle happens.

Luckily the miracle came sooner than most expected. It began with a few influential hunters and industry leaders who thought that perhaps it would be about time that the up-until-then mainly male dominated hunting sport be marketed towards women too.

Among these visionaries was John Sloan, a well-known and respected outdoor writer and bowhunting personality from Tennessee. Together with Robert Pitman, owner of White Oak Plantations in Alabama, John organized one of the first women-only hunting camps, appropriately named “Does and Bows.” The very first year they had nine women in camp and the following year the event reached its capacity with 33 women plus many more on a waiting list.

The success of “Does and Bows” encouraged followers and soon “huntress” only events sprang up all over America and Canada with an unprecedented success rate. The ice was broken and women became over the years a common site in hunting camps.

In British Columbia alone the number of hunters rebounded from the lowest number of 80,000 in 2003 to close to 85,000 in 2016 and is estimated to reach 90,000 in 2018. It didn’t take the industry long to latch on to this new hunter popularity trend by introducing products and garments targeted towards women.

How did women save hunting from an almost certain demise? Experts are still not sure but they do agree that two factors may have played an important role. One being that most huntresses are mothers and bring their children up as future hunters as well, the other aspect is that with the inclusion of women, hunting has truly become a family interest that holds a lot of appeal to many. To this day we see in hunter education courses more women attending with their children. Personally I also believe that women are much more dedicated and better ambassadors for hunting.

To illustrate the impact women had on hunting let me introduce you to a huntresses who makes an impact every day on many people by promoting hunting as a women, mother, and educator.

Nikita Dalke lives with her husband Kyle and their two children in the East Kootenays. As a family they enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Although Nikita’s parents were not hunters her uncles and grandparents were, and she immersed herself into the hunting tradition whenever opportunity arose. To her, hunting is an integral part of her life that she passes on to her children as they grow up.

In 2014 Nikita competed for the title of “Extreme Huntress” of the year. After a long and very tough competition she made it as the first Canadian participant to second place.

This achievement brought Nikita Dalke into the public where she uses her experience as a huntress to promote the ethical hunting and the importance of wildlife conservation to other women and youth. Through her membership and activities in the Wild Sheep Foundation, BC Wildlife Federation and as a director for the BC Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Association, she takes an active part in wildlife and nature conservation. Nikita is also a proud pro-staff member of the all-women hunting apparel company Próis, an accomplished outdoor writer, ambassador for Carbon Skin Products and Modern Spartan Systems and is a Wilderness Athlete representative. Currently Nikita is a co-host on the new hunting TV show “Days Off TV” on G7 Outdoors.

With dedicated and publicly engaged huntresses like Nikita Dalke and many others like her across North America the future of hunting is in good hands.


Othmar Vohringer lives in the Nicola Valley. He is an animal behaviourist and outdoor writer for hunting magazines in Canada and the U.S.

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