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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) and Beyond BOW are programs designed to teach women outdoor skills. These programs provide women with information, encouragement and hands-on instruction in outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, trapping, outdoor photography, map and compass, survival, camping, canoeing and outdoor cooking. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are designed primarily for women who have little or no experience with outdoor activities. These are three-day workshops that offer many different classes over the course of a weekend.

Beyond BOW workshops are another opportunity for women to learn outdoor skills and are anything we offer that is not the traditional three-day BOW workshop. They may be "next step" classes for women who have completed a beginner class at a BOW workshop. They may be one day, one subject classes. They may even be an actual hunt, canoe trip or camp-out.

BOW and Beyond BOW workshops are open to anyone aged 18 and over - past participants have ranged in age from late teens to the mid-eighties!

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman student practices archery


"This and previous workshops have really changed my life. I participate in so many activities that I never would have tried otherwise. My husband doesn't hunt or fish, so when I go out to do these things I'm alone, and the education I got here gave me the start I needed to get going and continue enjoying these activities."

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshop Participants

"I came here feeling a little out of place and intimidated and am leaving feeling very comfortable and excited about trying some of my new found fishing and hiking skills."

"This program fulfilled a lifelong yearning I have had. Thank you."

"Great instructors, every single one was high quality: knowledgeable, practical & kind."

"I had a great time, I learned a lot and really enjoyed myself. I would highly recommend this program to any woman interested in learning more about our great outdoors. I'm looking forward to going again next year, there are so many other things I would love to try. Without these workshops I would never be able to try out so many new things. I also really enjoyed being with other women that would like to fish & hunt."

"It is a life changing experience! I wanted to learn skills that my husband, brother and father never had a chance to teach me. And to challenge myself without the guys around, I felt this was my chance."

"This is an extremely wonderful program that brings women together - all ages, all walks of life, with similar interests. It empowers women to take on a challenge that they may have been intimidated to take on their own."

Upcoming BOW Workshops:

The next BOW workshop will be September 15-17, 2017 at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George in the Adirondacks.

Registration will open in June 2017. If you want to get an idea of what our BOW workshops are like and what courses are offered, check out the 2016 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Course Guide (PDF) (156 kB) The 2017 workshop will be similar, but some of the courses at the 2016 workshop will not be offered and some new courses may be on the agenda.

BOW workshops fill very quickly. Sign up for our BOW email notification listserve (blue DEC Delivers box at the top of the page) to find out about new BOW offerings and when registration opens. If you have questions, please call (518) 402-8862, e-mail us, or write to: NYS Outdoors-Woman, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

Beyond BOW Workshops:

Beyond BOW workshops are any event other than the 3-day, 30+ courses BOW workshop listed above. To get the most updated information on all Beyond BOW events, enter your email address in the blue DEC Delivers box at the top of this page.

Women's Turkey Hunting Skills Workshop - Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm at Great Swamp Conservancy, 8375 North Main St., Canastota NY

Turkey hunting expert Lin Menninger will share her knowledge and techniques to help you bag your first turkey this year. You will learn how to choose the right equipment for taking New York's largest game bird. Try different types of calls and learn how to use decoys, look at clothing choices, go over the special regulations and, most importantly, learn how to hunt turkeys safely! Minimum age - 12 years. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Space is Limited. $35.00 per person. Register by April 8. For more info & to register contact Julie at 315-697-2950 or Provide full name, email and postal addresses and best phone number to reach you. Class will take place rain or shine. Bring snack, water bottle and waterproof footwear.

Women's Kayaking Tours and Skills Sessions with Seabirds International

Saturday Tours 10 am - 12 pm
June 18 - Buffalo River
July 16 - 18 Mile Creek and Lake Erie
August 27 - Sunset Bay, Irving

Wednesday Skills Sessions 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Beginners - June 22, Sunset Bay, Irving
Advanced Beginner - July 20, 18 Mile Creek and Lake Erie
Intermediate - August 3, Gallagher Beach, Buffalo

Cost: $60 for two hours ($120 value) Space limited, book early! For information or to register contact Andrea at

Two classes offered Saturday, September 3 near Olean

Strokes and Maneuvers Refinement, 11am-1pm
Kayak Safety and Rescue, 2pm-4pm

Take one or both classes. Cost: $80 (BOW rate a $150 value). Spaces limited to four per session, book early to avoid disappointment, Participants will receive an ACA participation card which can be shown for kayak activities requiring these skills.

Outdoor Guided Adirondack Events

Stalking the Adirondack Ostrich: Ferns, Flowers & Trees of the Adirondacks
Saturday, May 14, 2016 $45*

Become Skilled with Map & Compass
Saturday, June 25, 2016 $45*
Saturday, October 29, 2016 $45*

The Complete Hiker - Fun and Safety in the Wildlands
Saturday, July 23, 2016 $45*

Adirondack Byway: A Raquette Falls Hike & Paddle
Saturday, August 20, 2016 $45* (plus option of canoe/kayak rental)

Wilderness First Aid, 9-hour Certification Program
Sunday, September 11, 2016 $110

High Peak Jaunt: Views from the Summit
Friday, September 30, 2016 $45*

Winter Survival - Fire building, Sheltering and More
Saturday January 17, 2017 $45*

Snowshoe Round Pond Esker and Fens
Saturday, February 11, 2017 $30*
Weather permitting (plus optional snowshoe rental)

Registration required. Cost does not include meals or lodging. To register or for more information contact Sonny and Sheila Young at Adirondack Foothills Guide Service, LLC

Women's Guided Fishing Trips on Lake Ontario

Enjoy a 6 hour guided fishing trip for King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and/or Steelhead with Captain Dave Wilson aboard his 28' Baha Cruiser. All fishing equipment is provided. No fishing experience necessary. The boat has an enclosed bathroom with plumbing! Open to women age 18 or over.

July 9, 2016 at 5:30 am or 1:30 pm
July 10, 2016 at 5:30 am or 1:30 pm
July 17, 2016 at 5:30 am or 1:30 pm
August 6, 2016 5:30 am or 1:30 pm
August 22 at 5:30 am or 1:30 pm
August 28 at 5:30 am
September 4 at 5:30 am or 1:30 pm

All depart from Oswego Marina, Oswego, NY

Fee: $125 - $150 per person depending on the number of women on the boat.

Pre-registration is required.
Contact Captain Dave Wilson at 315-481-5716 or

For More Information

The best way to get up to date information about BOW and Beyond BOW events, when BOW registration opens and other programs of interest to outdoors women, is to sign up for the BOW email notification listserve. To sign up, look for the blue "DEC Delivers" box in the upper right of this page. Enter your email address to get started.

To contact us, please call (518) 402-8862, e-mail us, or write to: NYS Outdoors-Woman, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

More about Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: