Montana BOW Program Introduces Women To The Outdoors
September 1, 2021 | View PDF
Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) has been introducing women from all backgrounds to the outdoors by exposing them to fishing, hunting, shooting, archery, and much more. BOW is a non-profit, educational program offering hands-on workshops to adult women.
"The program is all about like-minded women coming together to try something new. It can be scary to try something like shotgun shooting or fly fishing for the first time, but everyone is always so supportive of their fellow participants," said Sara Smith, Montana BOW Coordinator.
The "Original BOW" workshop is a 3-day, multi-course event with more than 20 classes to choose from including fly fishing, bird watching, archery, shotgun and rifle shooting, wildlife habitat, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, nature photography, basic fishing, boat and trailer, and more. Several states also offer "Beyond BOW" opportunities which include 1–3-day events with a single activity such as kayaking on a local lake, a weekend camping trip, or an archery clinic. "BOW Destinations" are specialty trips to special destinations offered in partnership with Green Edventures. The program even has an upcoming trip planned to Iceland.
Montana's BOW program offers activities unique to Montana. More recently Montana BOW members practiced using bear spray on a charging bear target. The event offered bear encounter safety talks and learned how to prevent conflict with bears.
"Classes are for beginners so everyone attending is starting at the same level. We also usually provide the gear to learn these new skills, as cost of gear can be a barrier to trying something new. This way participants can "try before they buy" and decide if it's something they love and want to invest in. The volunteers who teach these classes are experts in their fields and many have taught with the BOW program for over 20 years," said Smith.
Montana BOW also offers partial scholarships for women aged 18 years and older who are full-time residents of Montana and who have not previously attended a BOW event. These scholarships enable women to participate in BOW who otherwise may not be able to afford the full registration fee.
To join BOW, no experience is necessary - it is for women of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. For more information on the Montana program visit https://fwp.mt.gov/education/becoming-an-outdoors-woman.