Updated: 10/24/2013 10:48 PM
Created: 10/24/2013 10:25 PM KSTP.com
By: Bill Lunn
Minnesota women are taking to the woods, fields and marshes around the state like never before.
The number of women buying hunting licenses in Minnesota is quickly growing. While the number of men buying licenses is slightly declining.
Wednesday night at Metro Gun Club in Blaine is 'Ladies Night.' The women work on their technique with their mentor, Kara Wattunen.
Wattunen is an avid hunter and former Miss Minnesota U.S. International. She hunts everything from ducks to pheasants and even deer. She says she loves volunteering her time to mentor other women. "Get them out and show them that the safe way, the right way isn't going to hurt them and it's fun. That's the most important thing. It's fun," she said.
When KSTP caught up with Wattunen she was working with Heather Johnson.
Johnson says she's never been hunting, but is interested. "Growing up in Minnesota you hear about the guys going hunting and it's such a traditional thing and it always seems like it's such a good time that it might be fun to join them."
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources numbers back Johnson's enthusiasm. In 2005, 43,470 women bought hunting licenses in the state. By 2010 that number jumped to 55,011 which is an increase of 21 percent in just five years.
The DNR says lately 35 percent of the participants of their Firearms Safety Classes are girls and women.
While many women are just learning the basics, the most prolific hunter in Minnesota these days might be Melissa Bachman. She is the host of her own national hunting show.
Bachman has hunted all over the world and holds the world record for the largest red stag ever shot with a bow by a woman.
She says her determination sets her apart, sometimes spending 13 straight hours in a deer stand. She began hunting as a child growing up in Paynesville. "So literally every weekend that's what we did as a family. We went out duck hunting, deer hunting."
Bachman says being a woman in the hunting world has its challenges. She gets plenty of threats and hate mail.
Despite her critics she says she wouldn't trade what she does for anything, and she loves to encourage young girls to pick up hunting.
"I love going out and seeing little girls. Seeing people and getting them involved. Showing them it's completely normal. You can be a girl... you can go hunt."
Click here for resources from the DNR on hunting.