PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As owner of Virtual Assist USA, Danielle Cuomo keeps busy.
In her downtime, she works the social scene and volunteers for charity.
However, many weekends a year Cuomo trades in her little black dress and stilettos for hunting attire.
“I started getting into it because of my dad to spend more time with him,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo went hunting for the first time three years ago. After snagging her first pheasant, she was hooked.
“I just fell in love with it,” Cuomo said.
Now, she hunts regularly for deer, turkeys and squirrels.
“I love the adrenaline rush so it’s really calm and peaceful and all of a sudden something comes out of the brush and you have to act really fast. I love that part of it,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo is one of a growing number of women across the country that are hitting the woods.
According to the Census Bureau, women now make up 11 percent of the nearly 14 million hunters nationwide.
In Pennsylvania, women make up about 8.5 percent of the roughly one million hunters.
Over the last four years, the number of women with a hunting license has gone from more than 67,000 to over 79,000.
Even the Game Commission has noticed the sudden increase.
“We like being in woods. We like seeing things and seeing the animals and stuff and the experience of hunting is just fun,” Beth Fife with the Pennsylvania Game Commission said.
It’s even more fun when you’re good.
Fife said when it comes to hunting, a woman’s patience can be a virtue.
“I have seen that women are better shooters because they can take their time and they have the aim and things like that. Even the officers I shoot with say they noticed women are a better shooter than a man just because I think they can take the patience and the time,” Fife said.
The increase in women hunters is also being seen in hunter education classes. The Game Commission says the average class this fall had about 20 percent women.
Perhaps that’s why hints of pink are popping up in the hunting department.
“I would say that’s been in last five years where we’ve really started to get more apparel and gear that is specifically tailored for women,” Colleen Wilson with Dick’s Sporting Goods said.
At Dick’s Sporting Goods, women can get a pink bow with arrows.
They’ll also find gender specific jackets and pants, hats and gloves and even backpacks.
That’s nice for hunters like Cuomo, who don’t want to sacrifice style in order to bag a buck with the guys.