When do you know you’ve become an outdoors-woman? This question was posed to game and parks staff during the panel question and answer session at this year’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) weekend. Certified outdoors-woman Julie Geiser explained you’ve become an outdoors woman when you are comfortable outside and have a firm grasp on outdoor skills like hunting, fishing, shooting or cooking. It’s about being self-reliant in your outdoor pursuits and is a lifelong journey developed with new experiences. I’ve still got a ways to go before I’ll consider myself an outdoors-woman but I’m definitely on my way. Like many first timers in attendance my weekend was about trying new things and I left with a head full of reasons to spend some more time outside in Nebraska.
My first session covered game bird cleaning and cooking. The class was attended by multiple women who were done simply watching their husbands clean game; they were ready to do it themselves. After some hands on learning we all left with the skills to be able to process a bird and some delicious game recipes.
Saturday brought beautiful fall weather to Halsey and I was ready for my second session: dutch oven cooking. While other groups spent their morning burning calories ours was spent creating and consuming them. We all learned various strategies and helpful tips for cooking with a dutch oven. After a little team-work, experimentation and patience we produced some delicious 7-layer brownies. And with that, a dutch oven was added to my wish list.
Fast forward a couple hours and I’m helping put up a tree stand learning the basics of deer hunting. The wide variety of possible experiences all packed into one weekend are what make this program great. Other highlights include sampling delicious homemade deer jerky, looking up at night to a sky full of stars and hiking up to the look-out point to view the tree tops just starting to change color.
After Saturday’s sessions concluded I enjoyed talking with other women about what they spent their day doing. One mom and daughter duo spent it honing their archery skills. Another woman spent her morning at the ‘finding your way with a compass’ session. She signed up for BOW because her son recently joined boy scouts and she wants to be able to help him. This sentiment was shared by a grandmother who’s trying to keep up with the young bow-hunters in her life. The ladies who spent the day learning shooting skills talked about a sense of empowerment they felt after their session.
Hearing responses like these left me feeling proud to be a part of this program. BOW is a weekend away from reality and when it’s time to return home you get to take very real skills and experiences back with you. Registration is open now for next year’s BOW weekend at Fort Robinson State Park, see you out there!
Brynn Stewart, Outdoor Education Assistant