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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. 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

2020 Winter BOW Workshop- BOW in the SNOW
February 7-9, 2020 at Allegany State Park.
Registration is now open!

Courses include: Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Fat Tire Biking, Winter Survival, Ice Fishing, K-9 First Aid, Food Preservation, Wild Game Cooking, and more!

Registration is open November 19th-December 3rd, 2019.

Cost: $240

Registration will be determined via lottery. Limited spaces available.
Registrations must be postmarked by December 3rd, 2019 to be entered into the lottery. You will be notified if your registration was chosen. If your envelope is not chosen, you will have the choice to be placed on a waitlist or have your registration and payment destroyed.

Coming with a friend? If you would like to attend with a friend(s), send both/all of your registration forms in the same envelope. This will ensure that if one of you gets chosen in the lottery, you all will get in.

Click here for Registration Form, course descriptions, and more information (PDF).

Partial Scholarships are available to those who demonstrate financial need. Please contact BOW for scholarship application.

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 event registrations.
If you have questions, please call (518) 402-8963 or e-mail us.

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.

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 or e-mail us.