We have more female hunters in New Zealand and the NZDA than ever before. –Courtney Pellow

By Tony Orman

Hey guys. gals can hunt too

Any chauvinistic male hunters needs to note — women are taking up hunting and entering the once macho-male world of hunting in increasing numbers.

A recent issue of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association’s magazine New Zealand Hunting and Wildlife features several articles by women hunters. One was Courtney Pellow telling of three women on an alpine hunt for tahr and chamois in the Mt Cook area of the Southern Alps.

Guided by a hunting guide, Courtney’s photo with a chamois trophy was on the cover of the magazine. “We have more female hunters in New Zealand and the NZDA than ever before,” she says.

And it’s not just in New Zealand. The number of registered female hunters in the US has grown over the last couple of decades. Today, around 20% of women in the US are hunters.

But then women hunters have been around for decades.

Famous women hunters

For example there were some notable women hunters in the last century, such as Ethne Herrick, wife of legendary deerstalker Major Eddie Herrick. Around the 1930s, Eddie was prominent in Fiordland taking two bull moose from a herd that was never numerically strong. Ethne successfully hunted in Fiordland and shot a bull wapiti. She also stalked the Otago deer herds and selectively shot some big red deer stags.

Today women are not just into deer hunting but accompanied by three or four dogs are into pig hunting. 

One notable woman pig hunter is grand-mother Kim Swan of Marlborough. Kim has been around for a few decades and during that time has written four hunting magazines and has authored several books.

Born for outdoor adventures

 In her tenth book just published Hog, Dogs and a Rifle, Kim Swan has written 60 chapter accounts of her hunting adventures. She is unashamedly addicted to the outdoors and loves taking to the hills with her faithful dogs and rifle and just reveling in being there.

Kim has developed her own distinctive style of writing which blends self-mockery with humour. The “kill” is not nearly as important as being in those Marlborough hills, with her dogs and mountains and seeing game. It’s an entertaining read.

Kim was as a youngster introduced to the outdoors and hunting by her mother. “I was born into a family of outdoors adventurers,” she says. “I learned to embrace Nature and the natural world. The fact that I am a woman, a mother and grandmother, sporting grey hair and a limp makes no difference.”


 Hog, Dogs and a Rifle by Kim Swan is published by Bateman Books, RRP $39.99