One of our favorite times of year has to be spring, not only does the weather start to warm up, turkey season is upon us and it’s time for our annual BOW program. The BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) is put on through the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and can be found in your home state as well. Jim and I have been teaching archery and bow hunting for this program for years. And, of course we know that the North Carolina Chapter with coordinator B.B. Gillen is the best in all the states.
It seems as if winter just had it in mind to stay longer than normal this year. We left home on April the 11th with 40 degree weather and hoped for the best. When we arrived at the coast we had perfect weather all weekend, no rain and the highs were in the mid 70’s. No one complained about the weather.
This year there were 98 ladies in attendance and we had 40 in our classes. The event was held at the Eastern 4-H Education Center in Columbia North Carolina which is on the coast of North Carolina. It’s a 7 hour drive for us so it limits us to how many classes we can teach due to having to get back for work on Monday morning.
We always teach an introduction to archery class for those ladies who have never shot a bow and then we have an advanced 3-D archery class for ladies that have some experience and most bring their own equipment.
We teach the intro class with a long bow, recurve and Mathews Genesis compound bows and we also use a Excalibur Crossbow. We teach the ladies proper shooting form and we also teach them to shoot with their fingers. Jim and I have found over the years that instinctive shooting is the easiest way to teach, people learn quicker and using their fingers gives them a better feel for the string and it’s placement for anchor points.
Using three different types of archery equipment plus the crossbow lets the ladies decide which type bow they like the best. Everyone had different taste and most that take the class are interested in getting their family involved in archery and a lot of the ladies are very interested in bow hunting. The intro classes are always full and we are so thankful that we are able to introduce new people to archery, bow hunting and the importance of our shooting heritage.
The ladies in our intro class were eager to get started. We begin each class with a safety meeting, teaching them form, how to aim, stance, how to properly load the arrows and release, they were off and running.
There are several of the ladies that get a group together to come to BOW and you can always tell who they are, they like a little friendly competition with each other. We really get a kick out of the trash talking they do with each other, yet another reason we love this program. What makes it most special is when you have a lady that has never shot hit the target and better yet the bulls eye for the first time. You can see the fire within come to the surface. They always ask great questions and want to know where they can purchase equipment.
Our 3-D archery class is usually comprised of some of our “repeat offenders” as we call them and a nice mix of new ladies that have just got started in archery and want to either shoot 3-D tournaments, bow hunt or both. We set up a mini 3-D shoot with our Rinehart 3-D targets and the ladies love the competition. Another reason the ladies love this class is due the fact that we have some great prizes from our sponsors that they can win. We would like to congratulate Karen on winning the top prize package from Danner Boot which included a t-shirt, Danner socks and a new pair of women’s Danner High Ground Boot. Also in our list of winners was Donna who won a ThermaCELL unit and Jana and Jennifer who won a Wildlife Research Center Scent Killer Gold for HER kits. All the ladies that attend our classes go home with incredible products from our sponsors.
Jim and I have the greatest sponsors in the industry, they all send swag so all the ladies that attend our classes have something in their hands when they leave. We also make sure the ladies have a list of these companies and their websites so they can purchase product or ask questions when they return home.
The BOW program has an endless list of classes for the ladies. Just to name a few are archery, shotgun, bow fishing, outdoor cooking, ohhh outdoor cooking. The Outdoor Cooking class is always a huge hit thanks to the two ladies that teach it, Lois and Kimberly. They will teach you things about a cardboard box and aluminum foil that you didn’t even know existed and the table fair is better than anything you can get in a 5 star restaurant. They also have GPS reading, fly fishing, fly tying and the list goes on. The ladies take 4 classes over the 3 day period and Saturday night B.B. always has something fun lined up. There is always a silent auction on Saturday as well with a smorgasbord of goodies to be had. The funds from the silent auction go the Mel Porter Scholarship fund which gives scholarships to women that can not financially afford to come.
This years Saturday night event was a talent show with a panel of judges just waiting to see what the ladies would bring to the table. There was everything from stand up comedians to singers but there was only one clear winner. Samantha Baer brought down the house with her bagpipes, yes bagpipes. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. She was awesome! Samantha performs with a drum and fife band in her home town.
There is one thing for sure if you are allergic to having a good time and have no desire to learn a new skill and you surely don’t want to make friends for a lifetime BOW is not for you. If you are on the opposite end of the scale this is definitely the place for you and your friends.
If you are interested in attending a BOW program check with your state wildlife commission and see when the next event will be held. If you can volunteer and have a special talent get involved with this program. The rewards are boundless and when you can bring a person to the outdoors and give them skills to be successful you have assisted in preserving our great outdoor heritage.
A special Thank You to our Sponsors for your continued support of our programs:
Real Tree Camo Last Chance Archery
Wildlife Research Center Nikon Sport Optics
Outdoor Edge Knives Carbon Express Arrows
Muzzy Products Big Green Target
Danner Boot SportDog Brand
ThermaCELL Quality Archery Design
Mathews Solocam Sure-Loc Sights
Game Plan Gear Pine Ridge Archery Products
For more please go to: Lynn Frady