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Becoming an Outdoors-Woman

The Arizona Wildlife Federation

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is a non-profit, educational program offering hands-on workshops to adult women. We encourage a supportive environment conducive to learning, making friends, and having fun. No experience is necessary and BOW is for women of all ages and fitness levels. Dr. Christine Thomas at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point held the first workshop in 1991. Today, there are over 80 workshops held in more than 40 states, several Canadian provinces and New Zealand.


In 2011 the Arizona BOW program will celebrate its 16th year. The venue is Friendly Pines Camp near Prescott. Dates are August 26-28th. We will begin Friday noon and end Sunday noon. Participants choose four classes from a field of 32. Subjects range from rappelling to fishing to geocaching. Lodging is in rustic cabins but they have full bathrooms and electricity. Meals are provided and cooked by the camp staff. The focus for the weekend is learning in a comfortable atmosphere.

In addition to learning new activities, BOW participants are also treated to a variety of evening entertainment. We will have a game and wine taste, featuring wild game dishes and samples of our now famous prickly pear margaritas. Saturday night is lots of fun with a fund raising raffle, silent auction and talent from the participants.


Many of the classes offered are basic outdoor knowledge. Arizona has life zones from desert to alpine, you can learn about them in Arizona Wildlife and Habitat. There is a basic land navigation class, a birding class and a tracking/animal identification class. A perennial favorite is Im Lost, Now What?

Shooting is also offered. Before going to the range to shoot, the student must take a firearms safety class. Then, she may take, handgun basics, shotgun or rifle marksmanship. All of these classes are taught one on one with AZGFD hunter education volunteers. But for many, BOW is more that just learning a new skill.

There are many reasons why women come to BOW. For some, it is just some ME time. A different take on a girlfriends weekend away. BOW is a great way to enjoy camaraderie with other women and maybe learn a new skill. Perhaps fly-fishing seems appealing but the cost prohibitive especially for recreation untested. At BOW, you can try it before you buy it. We provide equipment and expert instruction for fly-fishing, archery, canoeing, shooting and more.


Many BOW participants are looking for a little adventure, a baby step outside their comfort zone. They might choose to learn the hunting class or warm water fishing. Have a fear of heights? Want to conquer it? Take a rappelling class or the high ropes and jump from a 60 Ponderosa pine. The safe, supportive atmosphere of a BOW workshop is the ideal place to grow.

Still others are looking for like-minded women to network with. There is a growing group of BOW graduates that go turkey hunting together every spring. Single moms might want the skills to safely take their families camping or fishing or geocaching. At BOW she can learn those skills and find a friend to go with.

The Arizona Wildlife Federation sponsors the Arizona BOW program with lots of help from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Our instructors are volunteers and all are experts or professionals in their field. Cost is $245 and includes lodging, meals and most classroom materials. The registration is available online at or you can call 480-644-0077.

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