Over the course of its seventy year history, Weatherby has been at the front of many developments in the shooting and hunting market. The company was among the first to add synthetic stocks to their rifles to improve durability and accuracy, and Weatherby's Mark V rifles were some of the first in the industry to be fitted with recoil-reducing muzzle brakes. Now, seven decades after Roy Weatherby opened his doors for business, his namesake brand is on the leading edge of yet another change in the firearms landscape. Today, women are the fastest growing subset in the hunting and shooting market, and Weatherby has taken note.
Enter the Women of Weatherby.
The Women of Weatherby consists of four ladies for whom shooting and hunting are anything but a trend. There's Rachel Ahtila, who began guiding in the Canadian Rockies at the age of nineteen. Karissa Pfantz, the youngest member of the team, is a veteran of several DIY elk and mule deer public land backcountry hunts. Haley Heath, host of two shows on the Sportsman Channel and ambassador for the Hunt, Fish, Feed outreach program, is also a member of the WOW. Jessie Duff, a competitive shooter with more than 40 national and world titles to her credit, will serve as an advisor. It's an impressive group, and all four understand the demands of hunting and shooting at the highest level. The women of Weatherby will serve as guides and ambassadors as the company begins launching a new line of rifles specifically for female shooters.
"This program has taken off because women are eager to have a resource where they can communicate, get advice, tell their story and be a part of creating products made especially for us, by us!" says Haley Heath. "For years companies have urged female hunters and shooters to buy youth models, then the rage was dipping the rifle in pink and calling it a 'women's product,' but none of that is what we as real hunters and shooters want. We want a gun that fits us, looks good and is just as functional, accurate and comfortable as a man's gun is to him!"
Adam Weatherby, Executive Vice President and COO, echoes Heath's sentiments.
"Women have traditionally been an afterthought in product development in our industry. Our hope with Women of Weatherby is that it can help put the ideas, thoughts and preferences of the woman hunter and shooter at the forefront of the conversation. Ultimately, we hope that the program will become a community of women who will share in their passion for the outdoors. I believe that the ultimate result of programs like Women of Weatherby will be a shift in the culture. We are already seeing things start to change, but we still have a long ways to go. It will be exciting to see what happens with Women of Weatherby and the inspiration and change that may come as a result throughout the hunting and shooting world."
Trends drive new product development, but that's not all that's behind the formation of this new team of women hunters and shooters. It's about a change in the landscape of the industry, one where female shooters aren't just a small portion of a vast market but rather a driving force behind new firearms design. It's also about creating a platform where shooters, both rookies and experienced rifle cranks, can share their experiences and learn from one another, and an online community of female gun enthusiasts. The Women of Weatherby website is designed as a resource for women shooters to ask questions, share their experiences, and take part in the building and design of the company's brand-new women's rifle, the first of its kind, with input from female shooters across the country.