In early November I attended “Becoming and Outdoors Woman”(BOW), a weekend seminar put on by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It was my second time to go to one of these long weekend camps, and I can’t say enough good things about them! If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about being outdoors – no matter what your interest – you should look into these workshops, which are hosted in several states across the country. The seminar is set up so that you take 4 half-day courses, providing great hands-on, in-depth knowledge
Women of all ages and fitness levels get to work with outdoor experts and mentors in a wide range of courses, ranging from sports (horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, stand-up paddleboard, SCUBA, kayak and more) to camping (basic camping equipment, outdoor cooking, map and compass, geocaching, birdwatching, plant identification, outdoor survival and others) to living off the land (fishing, fly tying, home game processing, bowhunting, firearms training, and hunting certification). There are even peaceful pursuits like outdoor photography, nature journaling, and astronomy. These seminars are so popular that many women, like me, go back time and again to take more courses and reunite with friends we’ve made.
At the most recent BOW workshop, I started out with the camping class, where I got a full list of awesome equipment to make my next camping trip as comfy as I want. I also got lots of great tips and techniques on what to take, how to pack, how to plan meals, and even how to store my gear when it’s not in use. I definitely came away with some great ideas for things to put on my Christmas list!
After the camping class, I followed up on my goal of getting closer to my food by taking home game processing. We took quartered venison and created roasts, backstrap steaks, hams, and meat for chili, plus we made our own summer sausage! Processing a deer can be quite pricey, so if you’ve got the time and the inclination, doing it yourself is a great solution.
I also took a course on Bowfishing – yes, you can shoot fish with a bow, and it’s a blast! We took turns practicing with the bow, and it was addictive. While these fish aren’t much good for eating, they’re invasive species, so it’s not just fun to shoot them, it’s part of taking back our lakes for the natural species to be able to flourish.
Finally, I took the hunter’s certification course. Our instructors walked us through firearm safety, hunting ethics, tracking, and the rules of the hunt. I walked away with my very own hunting certification… ready to go on my first deer hunt!
But even if you have no interest in firearms or hunting, these workshops are a fantastic opportunity to learn from expert instructors. There’s no pressure – everyone is warm and helpful and truly dedicated to passing on their knowledge and sharing their love of the outdoors. I plan to keep going back – there’s so much more to enjoy!