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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 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."

"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."

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshop Participants

"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

2019 BOW Workshop

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

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 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) 402-8963, e-mail us, or write to: NY 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, and you can also follow us on social media.

Women's Hunting 101
Cost: $110 (covers food and lodging)
May 4-5, 2019, Deposit NY (Catskills).
Registration NOW OPEN
This is an all women's hunting workshop where you will earn your NYS Hunter Education Certification with other women, taught by women. You will learn firearm safety, cleaning, and techniques; handle and shoot shotguns, rifles, and crossbows; discuss hunting gear and use tree stands; track a blood trail and field dress game animals; learn methods of game meat preparation; and much more!

Please note: you must complete the required homework prior to the workshop, attend all sessions of the weekend, demonstrate proper attitude and safety, and pass a final written exam to receive your Hunter Education Certificate, which is required for purchasing a first-time hunting license in NYS.

Please call (518) 402-8963, or e-mail us for more information, and to register.

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