Over last weekend, I attended an event hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife called Becoming an Outdoors Woman or BOW, for short. I’d been looking for an introductory hunting course so that I could learn more about hunting, guns, and game, all in an effort to get closer to my food by hunting myself. The BOW event was 3 days of in-depth classes, and what I found very interesting is that many of the attendees came over and over again – that they enjoyed the camaraderie, courses and information so much that they keep signing up and coming back.
The women I met at BOW all had different reasons for attending – many wanted to learn more about camping, backpacking, survival, and so on. Others were hunters already, but wanted to be more knowledgeable. For some, it was a way to be able to enjoy outdoor activities with their spouses. No matter what the reason, the range of women was wide – from 18 to 60+ in age, and all levels of physical abilities. Texas Parks and Wildlife brought a wide range of skilled and interesting instructors, and kept us busy with activities and events. We stayed in dorm-style rooms with air conditioning, so the only real “roughing it” was a snoring roommate or an overly firm bed.
I took a great course on Outdoor Photography, then took a fascinating class on Hunting as Conservation – in that class I was the only woman who’d never hunted, so to me the ethics of hunting and conservation were all new. One of our instructors, Robert Ramirez, took us through a mock hunt and talked in great detail about the laws and the ethics of when to take a shot, and how to hunt with a conscience.
I also took an Introduction to Firearms course, where we got to handle training rifles, shotguns, and handguns, and were given a good overview of the benefits and limitations of each gun and an idea of what each gun could be used for. Several of the women in the class were interested in personal protection, while others (like me) were interested in a “starter” gun for hunting purposes.
The last class I took was Introduction to Bowhunting, and I have to say, I’m completely enthralled with this idea. I found out about Bowfishing, as well as bow hunting, and I can’t wait to work on archery skills to find out more about this method of hunting.
But it certainly wasn’t all about hunting – other courses focused on plant identification, fish biology, backpacking basics, camping basics, fly fishing, stand-up paddleboard instruction, and so on – no matter what your interest there seemed to be a class that fit! If you’re interested in getting outside and want to gain the confidence to try outdoor activities, I strongly recommend this event! And get outside – visit your state park!
Not in Texas? Check with your state about similar programs!