For those of you that have been a part of or participated in a BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) program you know that it is not only a fun weekend but a very informative one as well.
This year the BOW program for North Carolina was held at the Eastern 4-H Environmental Education and Conference Center in Columbia N.C. Each year it switches locations between the mountains and the coast. Jim and I have had the pleasure of working with the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission and this program for the past 17 years. Next year will mark its 20th anniversary and we can’t wait to celebrate with all the ladies, instructors, wildlife officers and the coordinator, BB Gillen, who in our humble opinion, is what makes this program such a success. She runs it seamlessly and you know from the first time you meet her that it is one of her passions.
The BOW program offers ladies an opportunity to learn outdoor and shooting skills. The ladies take 6 classes over the course of three days. BOW offers classes in archery, shotgun, crossbow, bow fishing and pistol classes to get their inner huntress and target shooting skills. They also offer fly fishing and fly tying, kayaking, outdoor cooking, identifying tracks, bird watching, intro to waterfowl hunting and the list goes on.
We not only have ladies from North Carolina but from neighboring states as well, this event fills up quickly every year and usually has a waiting list. We have ladies from all walks of life and ages. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate in the program.
Outdoor skills and hunting are growing in popularity because more people are going back to a more sustainable way of living. What better way to be introduced to these skills than through the BOW (becoming an outdoors woman) program. All the instructors are very knowledgeable and make sure that the ladies learn the skills in a professional, safe and fun environment.
Jim and I teach beginner and advanced 3-D archery.
In the intro to archery we teach the ladies how to shoot a compound, recurve, and long bow. This gives the ladies an opportunity to decided which bow they like and the shooting style that fits their needs. We teach them proper stance, aim and release. We had several ladies come this year that after taking our classes in the past they now own their own equipment. If needed we help them get their bows fine tuned in our mobile shop/hauler that is well equipped with our Last Chance Archery E-Z press.
We always have ladies tell us that they are indoor people but wanted to step outside the box and try something new. After class they tell us how much they loved archery and want to know where to purchase equipment and outdoor products. This is the reason we do this program and help insure our sports future. We had several of the ladies ask about getting their children involved in archery and what bow would suit their need. The Mathews Genesis is the way to go when you have multiple people shooting the same bow and they are tuff as nails which makes them great for children. We have been using the Mathews Genesis for years in our programs and they have had thousands of shots on them. They are perfect for our programs since they do not have a set draw length so they fit everyone and they are set on 25 lbs which is very comfortable for the ladies to draw.
At the end of each class we have swag bags for the ladies provided by our sponsors. The ladies go home with quality products and catalogs and information on contacting the companies for information on products or where to find products in their area.
Our advanced 3-D class is always a blast. These ladies bring their own equipment and compete on our Rinehart 3-D course that we set up. Some of the ladies have been shooting for years while others are just getting started. We have both traditional and compound shooters in this class so different stakes are set up for both classes of shooters.
Then the fun begins, the ladies are very competitive and love to talk a little trash as well. We don’t make it easy for the ladies, the shots are not over 25 yards but there are very few that are broadside, we love angled shots and we throw in several that are 5 yards or less. You never know what you will be presented with when your hunting but a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards is not usually what you get. So these crazy shots lets the ladies practice realistic shots and they have a great time learning shot placement on quartering toward and away animals. This class has prizes for placement so that adds to the excitement. Our sponsors are always very gracious in sending product to be given away and it also lets the ladies know which companies support them.
This year we also gave a seminar and demo on waterfowl conservation and retriever training. Wildlife conservation is very important and as hunter’s we do all we can to insure that the game we shoot is harvested. Working and hunting with dogs is not only a pleasure but a well trained dog will help in game recovery, from retrieving upland and waterfowl to trailing wounded animals and let’s not forget shed hunting.
Our new Labrador Retriever pup is 4 ½ months old her name is Sky. She is out of Bay Creek Kennel in Hartsville S.C. owned by Rhett Riddle. I have been training retrievers for over 30 years and love hunting and working with dogs. Most retriever seminars that you go to use finished dogs, but I like to show how to start your pup. How to whistle train, obedience work, the progression of collars from nylon to E-collars, how to introduce the SportDOG Brand e-collar to your pup, how to begin hand signals, etc. The ladies ask great questions and Sky loves showing her skills off for a crowd.
If you have a opportunity to volunteer or teach at a BOW we highly recommend that you do, getting more people involved in the outdoors should be all hunter’s and outdoor enthusiast mission.
We would like to thank all of our sponsors, without their continued support we would not be able to do our programs. We would also like to give a special thank you to B.B. Gillen and the N.C. Wildlife Commission Education Division for allowing us to come year after year and be part of this fantastic program.
For more please go to: Lynne Frady