A new ‘Garb & Gear’ section of women’s hunting apparel and related hunting products (hunting clothing, thermal clothing, firearms, bows, gloves, boots and accessories) designed for female hunters’ physical needs will be an exhibit floor highlight at the 2011 deer and turkey hunting expos produced by Target Communications in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. Female hunters are the only growing segment of the hunting community. Manufacturers are paying attention with new products designed for the female form and preferences.
“We have emphasized family participation for years. Now we’re stepping up our efforts with this new focused area to better serve the female segment of our audience,” said Glenn Helgeland, president of Target Communications. “Nearly 25 percent of our expo attendees, year after year, are female, and they are outdoor participants.”
“Women want to have clothes designed for them, and that are warm and comfortable. They need hunting boots that are warm, light and strong. They want gloves designed for the female hand. Women don’t see any particular need to suffer while they are deer hunting, unlike men,” Helgeland noted. “Men tend to think you need an icicle hanging from your nose to know you’re enjoying your hunt.
“Women usually need rifles of lighter mass weight, shorter stocks and smaller calibers with less recoil, and bows with shorter draw lengths and lighter draw weights so they can handle the equipment confidently, skillfully and without fear.”
“Expos are a perfect fit for this specialized product category, because it is 100% hands-on, try-before-you-buy,” Helgeland added. “Things either fit or they don’t. The customer needs to know that; women demand fit, quality, price.
“We tell manufacturers, ‘Here’s where your product becomes real, where the rubber meets the road’,” Helgeland said. “They and attendees benefit from this contact. It’s personal, live and in color, offering instant question-answering opportunities and instant feedback. The product can be examined and tried on; the manufacturer can explain and show the product’s benefits. Purchases can be made. It should be a win-win.”
There will be nearly a dozen designated booths for women’s hunting clothing manufacturers at each expo; each clothing booth will have its own fitting room for privacy and security. Exhibitors with related products and accessories, and related women’s hunting organizations, will be located near the clothing center for maximum availability and visibility.
The WOMAN HUNTER magazine Women’s Information Center will anchor this area with topical information handouts, a hunting quiz and lists of women’s hunting information and equipment sources.
Noted outdoor writer and firearms expert Ron Spomer will present a seminar — “The Shocking Truth About Women and Firearms” — to clear up mispercptions and counter the poor advice female hunters often get from male advisors. “Women don’t need and don’t want cannons,’ he says, “and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The 2011 event dates:
• February 18-20 Michigan Deer & Turkey Spectacular (25th), Lansing, MI
• March 18-20 Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo (19th), Columbus, OH
• March 25-27 Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic (21st), Peoria, IL
• April 1-3 Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo (27th), Madison, WI
Other new activities at the expo: Puppies & Kids Sunday, Firearms Answer Man and Turkey Answer Man added to the Tech Info Center (to complement firearms, archery, slug guns, clothing/footwear and food plots topics), DVD Theater, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance raffles, sweepstakes and Sentry program, and Tradeshow Sunday with sporting goods dealers as special guests.
For attending and/or exhibiting details on the deer and turkey expos, visit the events’ web-site — www.deerinfo.com — and click on the state event of interest, or call 1-800-324-3337.