BOW November Newsletter and Classes

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minnesota department of natural resources

Becoming An Outdoors Woman November Newsletter

November 1, 2020

Deer Day hunt

Minnesota Firearm Deer Opener

November 7th is the Minnesota Firearm Deer Opener. Whether you are new to deer hunting or are a seasoned hunter this newsletter will provide information on how to participate in this Minnesota tradition. Go to the new DNR Make a Plan webpage to learn more information on deer hunting.

Firearm Safety Certificate (FAS) is required to hunt in Minnesota if you were born after 1979. FAS is available through an in-person or on-line class. Alternatively, if you cannot complete FAS prior to the season, Minnesota does offer an apprentice validation that allows you to hunt without FAS for up to two seasons with a mentor and valid license.

Remember to purchase your license and follow all regulations. Information on licenses, regulations and more can be found on the DNR’s deer season question and answer page.

Share Your Photos

If you are going hunting, by firearm, archery or even camera, please share your photos on our BOW Volunteer Facebook page. Take a selfie while in your stand, of your hunting party, or of any critters you photograph and share them online at Becoming an Outdoors Woman - Minnesota. 

November 2 Webinar: Deer Hunting Q&A Session

DNR is offering a live webinar as a follow up to the recent Learn to Hunt Deer webinar series with the purpose of answering questions related to preparing for your hunt. Do you have questions about regulations? CWD sampling and transportation concerns? Which firearm is best for northern Minnesota deer? Bringing youth to camp? We will do our best to answer them!

Join us on November 2nd from Noon – 1:00 PM. The webinar is free, but registration is required. Register here for this webinar.

Online! Learn to Deer Hunt & Mentoring Your Kids Webinars

The DNR recently offered a webinar series on how to deer hunt. This 10 part webinar series is now available for viewing if you were unable to attend live webinar events, or are wanting to review the material covered. Also online is a deer field dressing video showing field dress using a knife and a zip tie. Additional information on deer hunting can be found on the MN DNR’s Learn to Hunt website.

Parents and guardians, want some advice on how to get your kids interested in fishing and hunting? Check out the recording of a recent webinar from the DNR on Mentoring your kids in fishing and hunting. Benji Kohn, MN DNR Mentor Coordinator and Jeff Ledermann, MN DNR Outreach Supervisor, talk about their experiences engaging their children in fishing and hunting. They discuss tips and tricks that worked for them, safety concerns, and some of the rules and regulations involving youth. In addition, their daughters join each of them with their thoughts and ideas also.

Upcoming Women Classes

Currently BOW is unable to offer classes but we continue to work with our cooperators to advertise their women only upcoming classes.  

Women's Winter Classes, Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

Snowshoeing: January 19 and March 4, 1 – 3 p.m., Fee $7/person/class (+tax)

Cross-Country Skiing: February 16, 1-3p.m., Fee $15/person(+tax)

Women Ages 18+ Looking for a new way to enjoy the great outdoors in the winter?These women-only classes are a great way to learn or practice your cross-country skiing and snowshoeing while meeting other women who love the outdoors. Workshops are co-sponsored by Spring Lake Park. Pre-registration required. Equipment is included.

Register with Anoka County Parks

Naomi Walker and Theresa with first buck

My Deer Hunting Journey

By Naomi Walker

I have been interested in learning to deer hunt since my early 20's. Like many people, I came from a non-hunting family and resources for adult onset hunters were not available in the early 2000s. In an effort to learn more about hunting, I purchased several hunting books and read as much as I could online about deer hunting. However, never felt like I had enough information to actually get out and hunt.

In 2008, I saw a class offered through the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program called Introduction to Deer Hunting. The biggest draw for me was that the hosts of the program, Betty and Dan Wilkens, were offering for new women hunters to be able to hunt their property. I was very excited to be chosen to be one of the women to hunt their property that October for an early antlerless season!

It was an amazing first hunting experience and I got to bunk with Linda in a camping trailer. I did not harvest a deer that weekend, or later that year, but that first hunt confirmed my interest in wanting to hunt deer.

Unfortunately, I did not have access to hunting land and was not sure where to look. I did not go deer hunting again until 2014. Through Linda, I heard that the DNR was starting a new class called Learning to Hunt Whitetails for Food. I went to the initial class to just observe what the class was going to be like, but again was lucky enough to be picked to be a participant in that class!

During the course of this program we had four classroom sessions where we learned about deer habitat, how to find hunting land, what deer sign to look for, how to track a downed deer and a firearms safety class. The experience was capped off by a two day mentored hunt in St. Croix State Park where I was paired up with Kraig Kiger. Prior the mentored hunt Kraig and I spent two days scouting various parts of the park where he showed me more of what to look for when deer hunting and where a few good spots would be to set up for the best opportunity to harvest a deer. While I saw a deer that weekend, it was not in a spot where I was able to get a shot on the deer. I learned quite a bit on that weekend and had a great time connecting with other new hunters.

I have been involved in the Learn to hunt program every year since then. Either as a program coordinator, mentor, or both. I learned so much from the program that I wanted to give back and help other adult onset hunters in my same situation learn more about hunting. The above photo is of me (without hat) with my mentee Theresa and her first buck during my first BOW program during a women’s only mentored hunt.

I am still mostly hunting public land and value all the experiences I have out there. It's a great way to get away from the hectic pace of work life and just give myself permission to enjoy nature for a couple of days. As one of the participants in the Learn to Hunt Deer program once expressed it "I didn't realize how Zen deer hunting would be." I love how connected to the world around me I need to be when out deer hunting. It is amazing how loud a leaf or "300 pound" squirrel can be yet how quiet an adult deer can be.

I hope everyone reading this can get out in nature and find their own Zen moment.  Whether it's hunting, hiking, bird watching, biking or photography. Just being out in nature can be a huge release of stress, and we can all use that this year.

Happy Zen Moment Hunting!


Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program (BOW)

The BOW program provides hunting, fishing, and non-consumptive outdoor skills classes to women in a safe and supportive environment. BOW works cooperatively with DNR staff, volunteers and outside agencies to provide opportunities for women to learn skills. BOW is guided by a volunteer steering committee. To learn more visit the BOW Website

Want more email updates about the outdoors? You can subscribe to get weekly Minnesota Wildlife email updates and monthly Deer Notes. Minnesota Wildlife is a weekly summary of upcoming wildlife and habitat management activities and ways you can discover, explore and experience Minnesota’s outdoors. Deer Notes covers details about deer hunting seasons, deer management activities, answers to popular hunting questions, upcoming events and more. You can sign up for these and other updates on the DNR website.