For the past 16 years, groups of Maine women have honed existing outdoor skills or learned new ones at a program called “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.”
This year’s introductory skills weekend will be held Sept. 17-19 at Camp Caribou on Pattee Pond in Winslow, and Emily Jones, the BOW coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, says there are still slots open.
Over the past 16 years, Jones estimated, more than 2,000 attendees have taken advantage of the program. Most, she said, come to the same conclusion.
“They often say that it’s like being at a summer camp for adults,” Jones said.
Some of the women who attend have no background in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and camping, while others are trying to enhance their outdoor experiences by learning new skills.
No matter what the reason for attendance, Jones said BOW volunteers and DIF&W staffers try to make sure the experience is a positive one.
“We do our best to make them feel comfortable, because this is stepping outside the comfort zone for some,” Jones said.
In all, 36 instructional courses are offered over the three days. Each camper chooses four sessions to attend. Among the choices: canoeing, outdoor survival, firearms use and safety, fishing, bow hunting, fly casting, archery, GPS, forest ecology and planting for wildlife.
The courses are set up to allow for a lot of discussion. Jones said that’s a key component of the BOW experience.
“One thing the instructors always say is when they’re teaching just women they have to devote more time to answering questions,” Jones said. “[Participants] want to understand every single part of what they’re learning.”
The BOW introductory skills workshop is open to women 18 years old and older. The course fee is $225, which covers meals, lodging and equipment.
Brochures and registration forms are available at www.mainebow.com, and you can reach Jones with any other questions at 287-8069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’ll accept registrations right up to [Sept. 16], but in order to get people into the classes that are their top picks, we urge people to register as soon as possible,” she said.
Any-deer lottery Friday
Each year, thousands of Maine hunters head into the woods for deer season with an advantage that can’t be overstated.
They have options.
According to the state’s hunting laws, when firearms season rolls around, those hunters who possess an any-deer permit are allowed to shoot a buck or a doe.
Those without are required to target only an antlered deer … if they can find one.
For the past several weeks people have been asking me a question that always crops up at this time of year: When are they going to draw the doe permits?
Wait no longer. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold its computerized lottery drawing Friday.
This year 48,825 any-deer permits will be handed out. In all, permits will be available in 13 of the state’s 29 Wildlife Management Districts. The deer population in the other 16 WMDs has been deemed to be too low to allow the harvest of does.
After two harsh winters in a row decimated portions of the state’s deer herd, wildlife biologists decreased any-deer permit numbers beginning in 2008.
This year’s total marks a modest increase from a year ago, when 45,385 permits were allotted. In 2008, 51,350 permits were handed out, while 66,275 hunters enjoyed the privilege in 2007.
Now, the important part: If you want to find out if you’ll receive an any-deer permit this year, you can do so by accessing the DIF&W website at www.mefishwildlife.com.
Years ago, full results were published in the BDN. Since the state moved to a WMD-specific system, that practice became untenable.
Today, instead of printing a short column of numbers that correspond to the last two digits of the lucky hunters’ license numbers, it would be necessary to print names, addresses and the WMD number of nearly 50,000 winners.
Clearly, that’s not feasible.
According to the DIF&W, the drawing will be held Friday afternoon, and the results will be posted as soon as possible after the winners have been chosen.