Becoming an Outdoors Woman
Fall has arrived and for many people that signals the start of Oregon’s fall hunting seasons.
This week, I discovered that women who have always wanted to try their hands at hunting have a new way to learn about one of Oregon’s premier recreational pursuits.
When you go hunting for pheasant, be ready to put in your time and lots of energy – often you are pushing through thick, waist high grass. On the EE Wilson Wildlife Area near Corvallis, newcomer Kelly Ruboin is on her toes because the pheasant can launch themselves skyward in a heartbeat.
Kelly joined accomplished hunter Mark Steele, and his hunting dog, “Neela,” for an afternoon in the field. Mark is a volunteer guide who gave his hunting services over for a special day designed for women only. In fact, two-dozen women gathered on the wildlife area to learn what upland bird hunting’s all about.
Ruboin, like many of the other women, has never done anything like this before. But that’s okay because she’s taking a class to learn how it’s done. The EE Wilson Wildlife Area Pheasant Hunt is part of a unique Outdoor Skills program sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and it is called “Becoming An Outdoors Woman.”
The class was too good a deal for Kelly to pass up. For twenty-five dollars each woman learned hands on gun safety, hunting techniques, proper clothing, plus how to shoot and hit what they aim at.
Experienced instructors from ODFW offered lectures on firearms and led the students through a number of exercises in proper gun handling and safety. They helped to build confidence in the newcomers with an atmosphere of trust that paid off with relaxation and fun.
Tthe agency sells approximately 300,000 hunting licenses and tags each year and women make up just 16 percent of the total.
Rick Hargrave, ODFW spokesperson, said they hope to change that percentage with specific classes that encourage women to participate, “What our outdoor skills program does is plant that seed of interest – if it leads to hunting or fishing, that’s great – but if it leads to getting their families outdoors more often that’s even better too.”
EE Wilson offers nearly 1800 acres for hunters, fishers, hikers and cyclists to explore throughout the year. The area offers wetlands for wildlife, a stocked fishing pond to cast lures and a wildlife exhibit area where you can see many of Oregon’s upland birds on display.
How to hunt Upland Bird (pdf)
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.
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