Parent Category: Miscellaneous
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
by Janice Baer, Staff Writer, Minnesota
Being cooped up in a small house with four young kids in the dead of a Minnesota winter can really be a catalyst for cabin fever. I spent many days alone with my "little people," while my husband went South to Florida on business. With blizzard after blizzard keeping us all inside, I was intrigued by what I read about a "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" (commonly referred to as BOW) field day event. It would be held in a nearby town and, even though the outing wouldn't take place for a couple months, I just had to sign up!
<--- My four "little people."
Looking at my calendar with the words written in all caps, "MOM'S DAY OUT," gave me something to look forward to.
By the time the field day event rolled around, the snow had all but disappeared. There was still a chill in the air, for spring was just beginning, but I dressed well and headed out with my family's blessing. There were many events to choose from, which went in twenty minute cycles. Attendees were allowed to choose as many events as we wanted for as long as the day went on. I chose events I had never participated in before, like, fly fish casting, map and compass (orienteering), introduction to falconry, clay pigeon shooting, archery, canoeing, campfire cooking, and survival camping. There were other courses, but not enough daylight to try them all.
Janice shoots a shotgun --->
Each course was instructed by a woman (or women) or a very patient and encouraging male who showered a lot of praise on each and every participant. Many women had husbands who hunted, but didn't know how to teach their wives properly (impatient and condescending language) to shoot a gun or bow. Some had fathers who hunted, but the daughters never got to go out with "the guys". A couple older women had husbands who died and who had loved hunting, and so they wanted to now see what it was all about. Others that already loved the outdoors, wanted to learn new things.
My personal favorites were the shooting sports. I had never fired a shotgun before and found I was an okay shooter. I also tried archery for the very first time. I didn't do so well with a bow, as I was using a right-handed bow when I am left eye dominant. I don't recall if I ever even hit the hay bale target, but I did enjoy it none the less!
I had always loved camping up North with my family, where we we went ATVing and OHV-ing (off-highway motorcycling on trails), cooked over a campfire, and slept in tents. But now, with this event, I was certainly Becoming an Outdoors Woman.
I went home that evening so full of pride (and black and blue marks on my arm from bowstring slap) and couldn't wait to tell my husband of all the fun I had. That event really helped me through my S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and gave me something to look forward too, for as a Mother's Day gift, my husband told me to pick out a gun or a bow. I chose a bow from a local archery pro shop, had it set up for my draw length and weight, shot it often, and quickly became "Dead Eye Jan." Even a city gal like me can go wild!
Shooting at the archery shop --->
Most states hold weekend-long events in the Spring, Fall and Winter. Winter events can include snowshoeing, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, beaver trapping, and more. Springtime events might include classes on flora and fauna, canoeing, birding and rock climbing. Fall you can find rifle, shotgun, orienteering, archery, dutch oven cookery, and more.
<--- Janice climbing a rock wall
A favorite at the Winter BOW: dog-sledding --->
For those who have been to several BOW events and become proficient in one sport or hobby in particular, BOW events also offer Beyond BOW courses, where women can gather and fly fish for the whole day, canoe and then camp out overnight, or perhaps deer hunt over a weekend. Horseback riding your thing? They have that too! There are so many individual sports to home in on that there is bound to be something of interest to you.
My daughter Sarah and I, geared up for a game of Paint Ball Hide and Seek --->
To think that because I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance at the BOW back in 1996, I am now a hard core "bow gal," teaching archery and bow hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors while doing so.
Won't you step out of your comfort zone and become an outdoors woman too?
For more information on Becoming an Outdoors Woman, with links to each state, go to: