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Women’s Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Pavloff, V-P Women of the ISRPA   
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 09:14

Hello women readers/shooters. Last magazine you got to read about Sarah Gillard's adventure at a Shooting Sports weekend for 4H leaders. This magazine you get to read about my time at Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW) weekend. I do need to start by letting you know that I had just gotten home from 5 days in a 4 star hotel at Clearwater Beach, FL. So it was kind of difficult for me to get used to the accommodations, but I did finally get used to them. And just so you know, this article isn't in a timeline. I kind of jump around a little bit especially at the beginning.

I arrived on a Friday afternoon; fortunately early enough to snag a foam mattress pad that the camp had available on a first come first take basis, and after registration was directed to either the early riser bunkhouse or the late riser bunkhouse. I don't think it really mattered which one you chose because everyone had to be up for breakfast and the first classes. I chose the early riser and got my stuff set up and then just walked around checking everything out. If you have never been to Ross camp there is a dormitory with plywood bunk beds lining each of the 2 long walls with a walkway down the center. The showers and facilities were in the basement under each bunkhouse and that probably helped contribute to the musty smell.

First thing for you to know is that they feed you very well. Friday evening dinner was simple, sloppy joes, chips, salads and of course, dessert. Come Saturday morning, full breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, gravy, biscuits etc. etc… Saturday lunch was hamburgers and hotdogs with all the trimmings and of course dessert. Saturday evening was the best, prime rib, baked potatoes and all the trimmings. Sunday morning breakfast was pancakes and pretty much a repeat of Saturday morning. And to top it off, instead of sending us home after the morning classes they fed us lunch Sunday afternoon before leaving. So the day went: get up, go to breakfast (and hear a little speech and give away some door prizes), go to first class (about 3 hours long), come back, eat lunch (and hear a little speech and give away some door prizes), go to afternoon class, come back eat dinner and then on Saturday evening they had entertainment for us.

My first class on Friday evening was basket weaving. You might wonder what basket weaving has to do with the outdoors but you do need something to carry all your wild edibles in. I really did like this class and made quite a nice little basket also. They supply all the items needed and explained each step to us and why we needed to do different steps. Since this was a beginner class, needless to say quite a few of us got our weaving going wrong and would need to pull out some of the weaving to fix our mistakes but the teachers were extremely helpful. Very informative and a class I wouldn't mind taking again. After this class we met back in the main meeting for some more speeches and a recap of events for the following day and then we were released to mingle, go to bed or do whatever we wanted. Most of us chose to call it day.

Saturday morning came bright and early and after an awesome breakfast it was time for basic handgun and riflery. They showed us the guns we would be shooting and how to load them and the different ways the various firearms shot, were loaded, or how to unload. We started off with .22's. There were .22 handguns and .22 rifles that we all got a chance to shoot. I liked shooting these. They weren't loud, there wasn't a lot of recoil, and they were easy to control (plus I hit the target with all but one shot). Next we moved to the bigger guns and they were harder to control and not all of us did as well. We shot .45's, 357 Magnum, semi-automatics, and there was a full automatic A-4. We had to limit the amount we shot on the larger caliber guns because they didn't bring enough ammunition. With the A-4 we shot 2 single shots then he had us hold the trigger to shoot a 3 round burst. WOW. He didn't hit the target and I don't think anyone else did either. Like this class also and may take the advanced class next year.

After lunch my class was basic canoeing…another fun class. We got on a bus and rode for about 30 minutes to the lake where we were having the class. Unfortunately, you and your partner have to drag the canoe down to the lake. Not too bad unless you are an old, out of shape woman. But we made it. Then we had to sit for what seemed like forever listening to the instructors tell us how to stroke and the different strokes and what to do in various situations. That part wasn't bad but the stories got a little boring and I was hot and sitting in the sun and by that point all I wanted was to get in the water. Finally we put the canoes in and my partner and I did very well. We didn't sink, we didn't flip the canoe, and we didn't run it into the shoreline so we did very well. They also told us how to steer and that was neat. We could row a straight line or row to a distant point without going in circles. As a side note, the instructor was prepared for at least one of us to tip our canoes or get dunked but he was the only one to get wet.

After canoeing, it was back to camp for a shower and then for dinner of prime rib…very good. After dinner, as I noted above they had entertainment for us. First before we went out to the cowboy shoot, the ladies that were in the Trapping and Fur Craft class modeled the thing they had made. Some were quite inventive. It was a lot of fun to see what they had come up with. Next it was a couple of cowboy shooters from Warsaw showing off there shooting skills and showing how much fun cowboy shooting can be. A lot of the women went to watch but by that time I was tired and just sat my chair in the shade and talked and visited with a few other women. Then we called it lights out and went to bed.

Sunday morning, I'm finally getting used to this place and the showers and everything. Got up, got dressed and got some coffee and sat outside for a little bit before going to breakfast. After an awesome breakfast the last class I chose was tree identification. A lot of the trees I already knew but the background and some of the other information given were very useful in identifying different types of trees. It was also nice just to stroll around the camp and guess the different trees she had tagged. After this it was lunch and then our parting speech. (I just call them speeches because I don't remember what all they talked about). Then we went out by the flagpole and had our group picture taken. A great weekend and many new friendships made.

It was amazing how many women came by themselves. I asked them and many said they thought it would be good to get away and try something different. Some had a specific reason in mind for coming and that is why they were there. I was also surprised to see people from where I live and close to where I live there also. And believe it or not I'm actually looking forward to going next year and am already picking out the classes I would like to take.

The classes we had to choose from are as follows:

Basket Weaving for Beginners
Fly Tying
Firearms Safety
From Stick to Staff
Fish & Game Cleaning
Wild Habitat & Tracking
Personal Safety
Basic Archery
Basic Fishing
Basic Shotgun
Outdoor Cooking
Survival 101
Fly Fishing
Basic Riflery & Handgun
Intro to Small Game Hunting
Tree ID
Basic Canoeing
Advanced Shotgun
Trapping & Fur Craft
Intro to Turkey Hunting
Outdoor Photography
Gun Care & Cleaning
Intro to Wood Carving
Orient Yourself Outdoors
Trailer Handling
Wild Edibles & Wildflowers

As you can see there is something for just about anyone. Next year they may be adding even more classes. If you are interested in registering you would go to Registering starts March 1 and you need to do it right away. I registered on about March 3 and by March 9 all slots were filled. We had around 125 women there learning the different crafts. For many it was there first time there but for many others it was a return trip for them. Some 5 times and there was this one elderly lady that had been coming for 19 years. They ranged in age from 18 to 70 something plus. So keep an eye on the website, and come join me next year.

Also, if you have an outdoor adventure or a shooting sports story I would be glad to hear it and share it with the IN State Rifle and Pistol magazine. Email me your story at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I will try to get it in the following issue. Remember, though, this is a quarterly magazine and it will be a first come first served basis as far as getting your story in the following issue.