If you’ve attended the ATA show, or a variety of public-facing events in the outdoor industry these past few years, you’ve probably seen this semi parked front and center, ready to welcome first-time shooters, or share with experienced folks what can be taught here. This trailer is equipped with a state-of-the-art, military-grade firearm simulator, plus Archery coaches are onsite to assist guests with shooting bows. The best part? No experience necessary; no assumptions are made; and safety is of upmost importance to Shoot Like A Girl. I thought it was high-time to sit-down (virtually, of course) with Karen Butler, Founder and president of Shoot Like A Girl and see where her head (and heart) are taking her into the next phase of this fabulous business. I also ask her opinions about the firearm training side of her business as that’s seen such an impact this year. All photos provided by Shoot Like a Girl. – Michelle Scheuermann, editor, Archery Wire.
Q1: Karen, you started Shoot Like A Girl in 2008 with a very specific goal in mind. Can you share more about how and why the company began? And the impact it has had, and continues to have, on women across the country?
I started Shoot Like A Girl for one primary reason. I felt that every woman should be able to feel the confidence that comes from shooting sports. My first-time shooting was as an adult at a very low point in my life, and the experience was life changing. Shooting restored my confidence, there was something so self-gratifying and so empowering about aiming at a target and hitting it. Years later, I started Shoot Like A Girl because I felt every woman needed to feel that same emotion of empowerment, self-satisfaction and confidence.
Q2: This year has been big for firearm sales, and studies are showing that women are making a lot of these purchases. Why now? And how can Shoot Like A Girl help new customers (especially women) in their journey to increase their knowledge of the shooting sports and become truly confident in their abilities?
The uncertainty that faces our Nation is unprecedented – We have a trifecta of a pandemic, civil unrest and a mistrust of government with a political division. These factors make people take pause, and think, “what if?” None of us want any harm to fall on ourselves or our families, but people are thinking “what if” it did? Women in particularly, are wanting a since of self-reliance for their own safety, and my belief is that what is leading to this surge in firearms sales. I would highly recommend they visit one of our Shoot Like A Girl events, with our semi-tractor trailer and shoot a pistol, rifle and bow. Our team of female instructors will guide them on a journey of information and introduction. We also have Facebook live sessions every week, and provide a lot of information on firearm safety, home safety plans, and recreational shooting. We talk about archery, too! One of my favorites was my Grandson talking about archery, he just had to show everyone his bow. As a side note, he and I spend a ton of quality time together, enjoying being outside and shooting at a target 10 feet away. He’s eight years old, and we have a blast! I recommend it for all families.
Q3: Obviously, you got your start in archery, and that’s a huge part of your business. Can you talk more about why archery and bowhunting is so important? And what are some of your takeaways from interactions with women who have attended Shoot Like A Girl events and shot a bow for the very first time?
Archery is my favorite sport. I mentioned that I started shooting at a very stressful time in my adult life. Shooting my bow, forces me to stop. From the moment I nock an arrow, to setting my stance, to the power of drawing back the bow, to set my site picture, to take a breath, and release the arrow…that’s all I’m thinking about. I feel better just talking about this. Then my arrow hits the x; and “Oh Yeah” I feel good about myself. We all need to take time away and do something that makes us feel good about ourselves. Bowhunting is my yoga studio. If you want that Zen feeling, get out to the woods, hours before the sun comes up, there is a chill in the air and an earie quietness that surrounds you. As the sun just peeks out, the woods you are sitting in slowly comes to life. You’ll hear a bird chirp, a rustle in the leaves, you’ll feel the wind on your face and the peace that comes from sitting in your families church pew. Your thoughts in your head whirl around with an anticipation that is like Christmas morning without disappointment. You’re probably wondering, “How can you not be disappointed, I know you don’t harvest an animal every time you go out.” Well, that’s correct, but every time I go out, I get an experience; and that is the real prize. If I’m lucky enough to harvest an animal, then I have added satisfaction and gratitude for the ability to feed my family with healthy organic meat.
The clients! Wow, I could talk about them for a day or two. So many come to mind, but overall what is the coolest thing to me is watching the women’s physical demeanor change when they release an arrow for the first time. Many of them start the experience with doubt in their mind, they think they “can’t” pull the bow back, we teach them some techniques and explain the draw cycle in terms of “yanking your kid or pet out of oncoming traffic” and that can’t turns into CAN! It is the most rewarding experience, and after introducing over 23,000 women since I started Shoot Like A Girl, validates why I started the company in the first place.
Q4: What piece of advice would you give to women who are interested in becoming involved in the shooting sports but are apprehensive or don’t think they have what it takes? What’s your message to women?
Ladies, we can do anything we want to do. Shooting sports is one sport that you don’t have to be an athlete to participate, but once you do it, you are an athlete! So, if you’re interested in trying it, go into a range, tell them, “I have never done this and am interested in trying it.” You’ll be surprised how many people will be ready to welcome you into the family, and that’s what shooting sports people are…we are one big, diverse family.