When the Manitoba Wildlife Federation hosted their first BOW weekend for women, little did they know that 30 years later there would be a lineup to get in the door!

Manitoba was the first province in Canada to hold the 'Becoming an Outdoors Woman' weekend retreat. Today BOW is held across North America and around the world, including Iceland, Australia, Central America, and now in Africa!

The Manitoba Wildlife Federation's (MWF) own Shelley Kuebler has been with BOW for 29 years, starting as a participant in 1995 when it was held in a hotel in Portage.  She has seen the changes and growth in BOW over the last 3 decades and has had a hand in that growth as an instructor and mentor to women with the many skills of hunting, angling and trapping and more.

BOW is programmed to facilitate 1/3 hunting, 1/3 fishing and the final 1/3 is general outdoor skills.

Keubler says she has been able to teach women about the incredible outdoors through a lifetime of adventures!

"The first year it was quite an eye-opening experience!" she says with a laugh. "I already had a wealth of personal background knowledge in backwoods camping, lake and river canoeing and white-water canoeing, hiking many trails in my life, and then I came to BOW!"

Kuebler says when some of the participants showed up in lovely outfits, long painted fingernails and high heels, she knew she wanted to get involved and help women truly experience the adventures of the outdoors!

"It was a very interesting weekend. We learned how to canoe in the hotel swimming pool because that's where we were lodged," she says. "And all of our meals were provided by the hotel.  It turned out to be a very expensive adventure. But the hotel took very good care of us and accommodated all the outdoor events as best as they could."

"This was a huge adventure for the MWF," she adds, "and it was a brand-new program for them at that time in 1994. We were the first to bring it to Canada!"

As the program grew, BOW moved to Circle Square Ranch near Austin which facilitates all of their indoor and outdoor activities, accommodations and dining services perfectly!  You could say women are given 3 days to kick off their 'mom n' wifely runners' and slip on a pair of cowboy boots and laugh with like-minded ladies who love the outdoors!

"This is an amazing program," says Kuebler.  "It's astounding on how much it has grown and changed over the years!"

What once was a group of women paddling precariously in an indoor swimming pool has now become a community of women who can set the hook and reel in a master angler or tie their own lures and fly-fish from shore!  Skeet shooting gave practice in shot gunning, but leaning how to shoot from a muzzleloader was also on the list of options.  And long fingernails or not, many learned the proper technique in cleaning all parts of a shot gun and rifle. 

"Women have come so far in broaching those barriers to outdoors activities, and expanding their horizons," she shares, "and now we have women who are dressed to go to the woods and go right on a hunting trip or a fishing trip and it's such an awesome sight to see.  And they bring such enthusiasm and a desire to learn!"

Please listen to more with Shelley Kuebler below!