03/04/2011 09:59 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'Palin Effect'? NRA Credits Ex-Governor's Rise For Growing Female Membership (VIDEO)

The National Rifle Association has experienced a sizable jump in female membership over the past few years, a trend that some of the group's leaders are suggesting is a result of what they're calling the "Palin effect."

According to a report from the Daily Mail, the NRA has seen a growth of around 20 percent in its female ranks.

Diane Danielson, an instructor for NRA's Women On Target program, told the Daily Mail that the so-called "Palin effect" had helped draw 10,000 new women a year to the firearms programs and bring hunting into the mainstream scope of women's activities.

Palin has been an avid spokesperson for firearms rights and hunting, a role that she notoriously epitomized last year in an episode of her show "Sarah Palin's Alaska," when she shot and killed a caribou.

ABC News reports some interesting data on the surge of new women hunters:

More women than men took up hunting in the United States in 2009, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Total hunters in the United States decreased by .05 percent, but the number of female hunters increased 5.4 percent, which led to 163,000 new hunters.

And with the influx of female firearms enthusiasts, gun companies appear to be taking notice.

"Firearm manufacturers are gearing their products towards women. They're scaling down stocks, and shortening trigger pull lengths for our shorter fingers," Danielson told the Daily Mail.

But the Palin-NRA connection, whatever the real significance, is not a one-way street. Last year, the gun-rights organization booked the former Alaska governor to speak at their annual conference in Charlotte.

The Associated Press reported on her speech at the time:

"Don't doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," said Palin, a lifelong NRA member who once had a baby shower at a local gun range in Alaska. "It's the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop them in their tracks."

WATCH via ABC News: