Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

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Published on: May. 27, 2010

attend four courses chosen from about 28 different classes. A third of the courses offered are related to hunting or shooting sports. Another third relate to fishing. The remaining courses focus on activities like canoeing, birdwatching, backpacking and outdoor cooking.

As the number of women attending the introductory level BOW workshops grew, they started to ask for opportunities to take their newly acquired skills to the next level. In response to these requests, in 1997 the Conservation Department began offering Beyond BOW workshops. These programs focus on one skill or a small group of skills, such as birdwatching, sporting clays, fly fishing, backpacking, cave ecology or hunting. Designed for smaller groups, the hands-on instruction is more intense than what participants received at the introductory-level BOW workshop. BOW is an appetizer; Beyond BOW is the main course.

BOW alumni are given preference when applying for the Beyond BOW workshops, but others can attend as space allows. Some of the workshops require previous experience, but others are open to anyone interested.

For example, you can attend the sporting clays workshops if you have taken a firearms safety and shotgun course at a BOW workshop. You can also attend if you are certified in Missouri Hunter Education and have some experience shooting a shotgun, even if you haven't attended a BOW workshop.

If you'd like to join in the fun of an introductory fly fishing weekend, no prior experience is necessary. Just put on your waders, grab your fly rod (or one of ours) and come on out!

While our hunting and fishing programs are the most popular Beyond BOW workshops, we offer opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors in other ways, too. On an Ozark Trail backpacking trip, a group of trail-weary women enjoyed a pesto pasta dish under a full moon. Camped at the edge of a glade, they gazed at the beautiful scenery and talked about why they came on the trip. Several women said they came to learn about backpacking and camping so they could teach their husbands. Others said they wanted to learn so they could take their kids. Still others want to acquire skills so they could feel comfortable joining others already "in the know."

The Beyond BOW canoeing course on the Niangua River was also great fun. The paddling was enjoyable, but the highlight of the trip for me was the food. When I lifted the lid on a couple

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