Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

Watch a clip about Outdoors-Woman Program and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
becoming an outdoors woman logo
Sign up for DEC Delivers

Enter email address:

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. BOW 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 mid-eighties!

woman learning how to shoot a shotgun with the help of an instructor

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

Challenge Yourself

BOW and Beyond BOW Workshops are for you, if you:

  • have always wanted to try outdoor activities, but have never had the opportunity;
  • would like to learn new skills surrounded by supportive and enthusiastic instructors and students; or
  • would like to meet other women interested in the outdoors.

Upcoming BOW Workshops

2019 BOW Workshop - Registration Announced!

The next BOW workshop will be September 13-15, 2019 at the Silver Bay YMCA Retreat in Silver Bay, NY (Adirondacks).

Registration will open June 17, 2019 and will close July 1, 2019.

Registration form and course booklet will be available here and will be emailed to our DEC Delivers BOW listserv.

Courses that will be offered in fall may include: basic fishing, fly fishing, archery, crossbow, shotgun and rifle shooting, kayaking, hiking, camping, nature photography, wild edible plant identification, boat and trailer towing, hunter education, dutch oven cooking, wilderness survival, and much more!

New Courses being offered this year: K-9 First Aid, Hawk Watching, Intro to Hobby Farming, and Basic Self- Defense for Women!

BOW workshops fill very quickly. Sign up for our BOW email notification list (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) 402-8963, e-mail us, or write to: NY Outdoors-Women, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

Testimonials from BOW Students

"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."

"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."

"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."

woman learning to kayak woman on a high ropes course woman practicing archery with targets

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

women learning to paddleboard on river women learning rifle basics from female instructor woman learning how to shoot a rifle with the help of an instructor

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, and you can also follow us on social media.

Women's Guided Fishing Trip on Lake Ontario

July 6th, July 14th, or August 11th
Oswego Marina, Oswego, NY

woman holding a large fish on a boat

Cost: $150 per person

Enjoy a 6-hour guided fishing trip for king salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, and/or steelhead with Captain Dave Wilson aboard his 28-foot Baha Cruiser!

  • All fishing equipment is provided.
  • No fishing experience necessary.
  • Open to women age 18 and over.

Pre-registration is required. Max 4 women per trip.

Please contact Captain Dave Wilson at (315) 481-5716 or by email for more information, and to register.

Women's Adirondack Weekend

August 9-11, 2019
Adirondack Ecological Center, ESF Newcomb Campus

a group of women out on a hike

Workshop Times:
Arrive Friday Aug. 9th - First program begins at 2pm
Friday, August 9th: 2pm - 9pm (dorms available at 11am Friday, but no lunch service)
Saturday, August 10th: 8:30am - 9pm
Sunday, August 11th: 9am - 1pm

Cost: $190

Build confidence, have fun, and connect with the wilderness on this all women Adirondack adventure!

  • Learn the history, ecology, and wildlife of the Adirondacks.
  • Learn wilderness safety, ethics, and how to row a historic guide boat.
  • Hike to a fire tower (suitable for beginners).
  • Enjoy educational programs and much more!

Registration includes lodging and meals for the weekend. Lodging is dormitory style.
Limited space available, please register early. Minimum age 18. No experience needed.

Please email Ro Woodard of NY Outdoors-Women for registration and information.

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 list. 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) 402-8963, e-mail us, or write to: NY Outdoors-Women, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4754.