History of WomenHunters
The WomenHunters™ Organization is dedicated to the encouragement, education and promotion of women and youth in the hunting traditions. We strive to instill the importance of ethics, responsibility and sportsmanship in hunters. We will share our knowledge and experience while encouraging participation in the outdoors. Women hold the key to the future of hunting and WomenHunters™ will contribute to the positive growth of hunting for future generations.
We hope you will become a part of our rich heritage!
The history of any long-lived organization is truly based in its core start-up group, for it is the efforts of a dedicated team with a common goal that propels an organization to success. There must be a good idea and a driving force too.
The concept for WomenHunters was born from the combined inspiration of Sue Burch, Bowsite.com and Bowhunting.net. The undeniable driving force was Sue Burch. Sue began her internet career doing “Cookin’ with SusieQ” and then “Womenbowhunters” at Bowhunting.net. The launch of WomenHunters followed soon after.
Hunting Meets Computing
Sue Burch began hunting in 1995. Her love for hunting was immediate. She had earned a degree in computer technology in 1992. In 1996, she got her first home computer. From the start she used it to seek out other women who also loved to hunt. She started the Burch Family Website. There she invited people to submit wild game recipes. In 1997, she discovered the discussion forums at Buckmasters and Bowhunting.net (BHN), where she met Robert Hoague, the Bowhunting.net webmaster. Her background led to an invitation to write a column called “Cookin’ with SusieQ” at Bowhunting.net. She still writes this column today. Bowhunting.net also led Sue to Janice Baer and other women hunters who would prove key to the development of WomenHunters. In May, 1998, Sue registered on a Yahoo discussion group called “Women Hunters.” There she met Linda Burch among others.
Then, in fall of 2000, Sue got the opportunity through her growing connections in the hunting industry, to spearhead a standalone WomenHunters website. To say she took the ball and ran with it would be an understatement! Bowsite.com sent out an announcement in 2000 via the internet for any ladies interested in being involved in the first ever website for women hunters.
The WomenHunters website debuted January 31, 2001. Sue was able, through her magnetic, wise, and gentle personality, to rally a core group of loyal women from those she had met or who had volunteered. They included Linda Thompson, Linda Burch, Etta Pettijohn, Lisa Price, Noelle, and Lisa Merrick, as well as other writers who joined soon after. These women helped Sue organize the startup of the WomenHunters organization. In addition, Sue's professional contacts in the hunting industry served as advisors. Yet even with all this valuable assistance, it was the thousands of hours that Sue spent recruiting writers and volunteers that really got WomenHunters off the ground. From there, it grew because of her leadership and because of the many dedicated volunteers who also contributed thousands more hours of their time.
Encouragement, Education, and Promotion
WomenHunters (WH) began before there really were any significant organizations for women hunters – or female outdoor writers. From the very start, WomenHunters not only featured hunting and outdoor articles for and by women, but also to teach budding writers to write in the male-dominated worlds of hunting and outdoor writing. It was also a venue for experienced writers to both gain exposure and to share their expertise and knowledge.
Robyn Meadows was the first web editor, followed by Wanda Garner and later Angie Kjellberg. One of the goals of WomenHunters was to improve new writer’s skills and not just edit and correct their material. The object was to groom writers for potential future careers as outdoor writers.
There was a redesign of the website with the current logo later in 2001 and another web redesign again in 2009. As this is being written, WomenHunters is in the process of yet another website redesign to keep pace with technology and to better serve its membership as well as women hunters and writers in general.
The original ProStaff Coordinator was Linda Thompson. Sue Burch organized Disabled Hunts with Linda T’s help. Sue Burch became afflicted with disabling FMS in 1998 so she had a heart for those with disabilities. WomenHunters sponsored and was involved with two Disabled Hunts, in December 2001 and December of 2002.
In order to better fund its operations, mentor writers and start other programs, WomenHunters went forward with making application to the IRS to gain non profit recognition in early 2002. Application for non profit status was made for WomenHunters by Linda Burch (no relation) working with Sue Burch. Acceptance as a 501c non profit came in December that year.
The WomenHunters Newsletter, for Club Members only, was organized in late 2002 and debuted in spring 2003. The newsletter went electronic via the WomenHunters website starting in 2010.
The WomenHunters core group grew and they attended and had a booth at their first Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show in January 2003. Linda Thompson was integral in helping to organize that debut and went on to hand build the WomenHunters wood booth the next year. ATA was then known as AMO or the Archery Manufacturers Organization. WomenHunters went to the ATA shows in 2003 thru 2007 and in so doing, continued to grow the awareness and membership of the organization. In 2004 and 2005, WomenHunters, Inc. licensed their name and logo and began filming hunts for a television show called “WomenHunters Outdoors”, or WHO, produced by Tommy Garner of Steppin’ Wolf Productions. Tommy was and still is a newspaper columnist and outdoor radio show host for an and he and wife Wanda had also helped Brenda Valentine in the editing of her book “Hunting Misadventures with the First Lady of Hunting”. The first of 13 episodes of WHO aired April 4th 2005. WomenHunters ProStaff were filmed on various hunts and the 13 shows were aired primarily in the southeastern United States on the Sportsman’s Channel.
The WomenHunters ProStaff also went on group hunts in Wisconsin at Pine Ridge Farms for deer and pheasants in September 2004 and in Kansas for turkeys as guests of then WomenHunters Assistant Webmaster Angie Kjellberg and husband Troy in May 2004. Articles about those hunts are in various places on our website.
WomenHunters went on to sponsor two 3D shooting events, one at Cole Camp, Missouri in 2005, and the second also in Missouri in 2006. Both were well attended and those events are on our website as well. See links below.
In 2007, Sue Burch began her slow segue to retiring from WomenHunters and fully did so in January 2011. Several Presidents have been in and out of office and the organization is excited about going to the next stage with headquarters relocated to Minnesota and new president Kathleen Kalina spearheading the next generation of the WomenHunters organization and website.
We at WomenHunters respect the past, give thanks and honor those who worked hard over the years for organizational growth, and also for those who will carry us into the future, building on the foundation laid by those who came before us.
Working Together we will continue strong and provide benefits and information for women in outdoor writing, hunting and the outdoor sporting traditions. There is no other venue like WomenHunters where you can find such a vast repository of articles or women hunters and writers from all walks of life and all levels of experience. We would not be where we are today were it not for the selfless efforts of our dedicated founders, leaders and volunteers.
Core Organizers/Writers ~
Editors & Web Assistants - 2000 to present
Past Executive Directors ~
Sue Burch, Jan 2003-Dec 2006
Linda Burch, Jan 2007- Sep 2008
Beth Ann Amico, Sep 2008-May 2009
Position Eliminated in May 2009)
Past Presidents ~
Linda Thompson, Jan 2003 - Dec 2004
Linda Burch, Jan 2005 - Dec 2006
Alyssa Houkum, Jan 2007 - Dec 2008
Linda Burch, 2009 - Dec 2010
Kathleen Kalina, Jan 2011 – present
First Writers ~
(all writers were listed on one webpage – circa 2001)
~ Note ~
This WomenHunters history page is a work in progress.
~ Sources ~
Cooking With SusieQ
First Disabled Hunt
Second Disabled Hunt
3D Shoot 2003
3D Shoot 2004
WomenHunters Outdoors TV Show
2004 Pine Ridge Farms Wisconsin Hunt
2004 Kansas Turkey Hunt at Kjellberg Farm
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