DOBSON — A dense fog did little to quell the enthusiasm of the crowd that turned out to Fisher River Park Saturday for the fourth annual Tri-County Women in the Outdoors Struttin’ in the Foothills event.
The effort to get women involved in outdoor activities was sponsored by the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Walking into the park, the reports of shotguns, rifles and pistols mingled with the muffled “pfwwtt” as arrows were released from both compound bows and crossbows.
Organizer Una Freeman said all types of activities were available for women attending the event, ranging from a fishing contest to self defense demonstrations.
“We have a little bit of everything,” she said. “We are shooting skeet, airguns, rifles, and pistols. We have a crafts table, horseback riding and are even offering a silent auction.”
Freeman said the effort to increase women’s interest in outdoor activities is part of the new mission of the Federation.
Looking around the park, she pointed to the pistol range as s shotgun sounded in the distance.
“There are a lot of people here today who’ve never shot a gun,” she said. “Once they see they can do it, they find out they like it.”
It was a sentiment echoed by her husband Lee Freeman, who helped organize the event with the Federation.
“Getting women involved in outdoor activities is probably one of our biggest focuses today,” he said. “It’s about sharing and passing on heritage.”
Lee Freeman said women are probably one of the biggest growth sectors in the Federation.
“You go to a sporting goods store today and there is pink camouflage,” he said. “Ladies are truly a huge factor in the success of our organization.”
Saturday’s get-together was the fourth annual one for the group, and Lee Freeman said the local event has been in the biggest in the state for three years running.
It’s grown so much that other events targeting the fairer sex are planned.
“We’re having a women’s deer hunt for Dec. 8,” he said, noting that there is a limited amount of space. “It’s going to be on a first-come, first served basis.”
And targeting women seems to be working, at least for those at Saturday’s event.
After shooting a shotgun, Remington employee and skeet shooting instructor Robin Gray asked attendee Denise Hart of Mount Airy how she liked it.
“How long ago did you start shooting?” He asked.
“About five minutes ago,” she replied with a laugh.
As she left the skeet shooting range and wandered over to the crossbows, Hart seemed, well, into her new element.
“I’ve never done anything like what I’m doing here today,” she said as she sat down and placed the stock of a 300-pound-pull crossbow to her shoulder. “I’m loving it.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.