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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

Watch a clip about Outdoors-Woman Program and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

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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.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman student practices archery
BOW student
practices archery

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!

View the photo gallery from past BOW workshops on DEC's Flickr page.


"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

2018 BOW Workshop

The next BOW workshop will be September 7-9, 2018 at Greek Peak Mountain Resort near Cortland, NY (Central NY). Registration materials will be available in June. The cost has not yet been determined, but should be around $325 per person (includes 2 nights lodging, 7 meals, instruction in 4 classes, most of the equipment needed for classes, and transportation to offsite locations).

To give you an idea of what our BOW workshops are like and what kind of classes we offer, take a look at the 2017 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Course Guide (PDF) (150 KB). The 2018 BOW workshop will be similar, but some classes may be different.

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.

Backcountry Navigation with GPS, Map, Compass, and Garmin BaseCamp Mapping Program
April 6-8, 2018 in Tupper Lake NY (Adirondacks)

This is a 2.5-day, mixed gender, introductory hands-on course focusing on navigation techniques using a GPS, USGS map, orienteering compass, and Garmin BaseCamp digital mapping program. Course options include a BUNDLE package or SOLO course plans.

A BUNDLE and SOLO course will also be offered on June 8-10, 2018 and a women-only program on October 19-21.

Per-person options include:

  • Complete BUNDLE (map and compass & GPS & BaseCamp Mapping Program) $275
  • Mini BUNDLE 1 (map and compass & GPS) $185
  • Mini BUNDLE 2 (GPS w/ BaseCamp Mapping Program) $200
  • SOLO 1 (map and compass) $85
  • SOLO 2 (GPS) $110

Register online (leaves DEC website) or contact or for more details on the April, June, or October courses.

Wilderness First Aid
Saturday, May 26, 2018 at Goff Nelson Memorial Library, 41 Lake Street, Tupper Lake (Adirondacks)

This is a one-day, 9-hour certification course for Wilderness First Aid accredited by the Wilderness Medical Society, the Emergency Care and Safety Institute, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

This certification, a balance of classroom and skills practice, is accepted as a prerequisite to becoming a NYS licensed outdoor guide. It is also recommended for any backcountry leader or traveler. Anyone age 16 and above may register.

Registration fee is $120 and includes instruction, materials, lunch and 2 breaks. Registration with payment is required by May 11, 2018. For more information and to register, please call Sonny Young at 518-359-8194.

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.