Becoming an Outdoors Woman

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

but as for me finding the right spot on my own, forget it. I had no clue.

And lures? Those mysterious doodads always caught my eye--and sometimes even my pocketbook--but somehow they'd never managed to catch fish.

At the BOW workshop, I found I was not alone. Most of the women had similar tales to tell. We had the interest and a few skills, but not enough knowledge to make our fishing and hunting excursions successful.

Darlene Faerber of Kansas is a perfect example of how BOW changes all that, empowering women so they can plan and enjoy the outdoor experiences of a lifetime.

"I had never even touched a gun before BOW, much less fired one," Faerber said. At the urging of her husband, she signed up for BOW and has been a regular ever since.

Now she is planning her next outdoor adventure, a hunting trip with her husband. There is a glow on her face as she tells of her latest triumph--three arrows shot into the heart of a deer target.

"Three," she says, holding up her fingers. The pride in her accomplishment is hard to hide.

BOW workshops began in 1991 following a conference in Wisconsin on breaking down barriers to the participation of women in outdoor sports.

Women know when they venture into the outdoors that they step on ground that is traditionally the territory of men. They cannot help but feel like trespassers in enemy territory--often wearing bright hunter orange, at that.

"The equipment is often sized for men," said Zoe Caywood, who shares her muzzleloading expertise wearing authentic American Indian dress of the fur-trading era. "That means it is often too big or too long for a woman to handle."

Husbands and boyfriends, though well-meaning, aren't always the best teachers when it comes to the outdoors. They're impatient with fumbling fingers and puzzled looks. They take their knowledge for granted and often expect a woman to know more than she does. After all, they learned this stuff when they were just kids.

"All too often women are thrown into a boat on their first trip, where they're expected to learn a whole new set of skills, all while contending with the unfamiliar motions of the water," Sanders said. "These are not ideal learning conditions."

At BOW workshops, on the other hand, you can make all the mistakes you need to make and practice as many times as you want before attempting the real thing, using

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