Glamorizing guns for girls?

Julio Claps, who owns Camillus Guns and Bows on Route 5, agrees. Since opening the store in 1982, he has seen a marked increase in women becoming interested in shooting and archery.

"There are a lot of Annie Oakley's in the world now," remarked Claps. He sees the majority of female newcomers take up the hobby after visiting the shop or the shooting range with their husbands or boyfriends, and wanting to try for themselves. At the archery range behind the shop, where Monday night leagues begin in January, Claps said about half the participants are women. He credits an overall opening of athletics to women with the increased interest.

So how does the newest ponytail in politics fit into the mix?

For Goffredo, Palin represents hope that the Republican ticket has a shot at winning the White House.

"It's very much a feeling throughout the outdoor industries," Goffredo said. "She seems to be a regular person, someone who's been there. As a shooter, as a hunter, I feel much more hopeful."

On the other end of the spectrum, Palin's high profile hunting background counts against her.

"There is no way Sarah Palin would inspire me to join her exploits," said Sue Freeman, an author and self-described outdoors woman. " If she is inspiring women to venture outdoors, then I feel our wild areas are doomed. We need role models who enjoy and appreciate the outdoors - not one who exploits it. I'm voting Democratic."

Freeman owns Footprint Press Recreation Guidebooks, Inc. and operates newyorkoutdoors.wordpress.com, a blog dedicated to the great New York outdoors.

Whether it is in the name of Sarah Palin or Mother Nature that more women are getting outdoors and picking up bows or taking their sons fishing for the first time, manufacturers want to make sure they feel welcome, and are willing to spend the design dollars to do so.

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