Sportswomen share values from across the aisle

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville), State Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland) and State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) discuss their experiences as sportswomen and opportunities to find common ground ahead of the 2022 legislative session.

Outdoor sports enthusiasts do more than just hunt and fish. Indiana is home to a rich outdoor culture that provides a perfect landscape to form connections to nature through a variety of activities. The public lands that serve as the backbone of our sporting traditions inspire adventures while providing a home to fish, wildlife and clean water and air we depend on.

The three legislators have been able to put politics aside to share common ground in their admiration for the beauty Indiana’s natural landscape has to offer.

“Pursuing hobbies rooted in nature teaches know-how, leadership skills and promotes shared experiences,” Fleming said. Her recent interest in taxidermy has allowed her to “join the growing number of women enjoying the valuable experiences the outdoors provides. I see my membership in this community of sportswomen as many things: a contribution to state conservation efforts, a way to show reverence for our Hoosier lands and a boost to rural tourism and economies. Sportswomen are some of our state's strongest environmentalists.”

“I enjoy hunting, especially my family’s annual hunting trip, and I think it's incredibly important to pass down the knowledge and traditions to the next generation,” Mayfield said. “Hunters already know that hunting is conservation. In addition to connecting with nature, hunting incorporates so many life skills like being respectful, compassionate and adaptable in our environment. We also know that it's a critical wildlife management tool by helping maintain sustainable animal populations now and into the future.”

“I enjoy spending time outside with my friends and family,” Davis said. “Our state is home to many forests and natural wonders, and it's great to get out and explore the far corners of Indiana. I've really had fun connecting with other legislators who share my love of the outdoors.”

Retired DNR Conservation Officer Mac Spainhour stated he is “…happy to see these women take on traditionally male-dominated hobbies. I'm glad to see the sport evolve and begin to be more inclusive. Women are key to preserving our outdoor sporting traditions for future generations. Growth in the sport will help fund research, support conservation efforts and trickle down to small businesses.”

Fleming, Mayfield and Davis look forward to continued bipartisan conversations that will strengthen Indiana through nature-based solutions. The legislators are dedicated to continuing to work across the aisle to promote and protect the environment that is vital to Hoosier values, healthy communities and our economic future. 

Indiana DNR hosts an annual 3-day Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshop for women of all ages interested in learning outdoor skills. The next workshop starts April 29, 2022 and includes a variety of programs like camping basics, geocaching and wildlife tracking to name a few. Visit for more information.

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