Ladies, leave the hubby at home |

Ladies, leave the hubby at home

Students listen to an instructor during a snow survival workshop at Sorenson's Resort in Hope Valley.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

That old advertising slogan pretty much sums up a state program designed to teach outdoors skills to women – without a bunch of know-it-all husbands, fathers and boyfriends around.

Each month, an outdoors skills class – such as shooting, flyfishing, backpacking, orienteering, duck hunting, or bird watching – is put on somewhere in the state by the “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” program, which is sponsored by The California Department of Fish and Game.

Since it is a state program, it’s illegal to ban men, “But we make them wear the T-shirt that says ‘Becoming an Outdoors-Woman,” joked Lesa Johnston, the program’s assistant coordinator.

But seriously, Johnston said there can be friction between women learning about the outdoors and their sometimes overly-helpful significant others.

For example, “women don’t like to shoot in front of men. I don’t know why,” said Johnston (who included herself). “I don’t know how to explain it. But women say it over and over – it is so hard for their boyfriend or husband to teach this.”

But get a group of women together in a class, and “everything is very relaxed. It’s a noncompetitive atmosphere,” Johnston said.

The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is a national organization, sponsored by most state’s natural resources agencies, she said.

The California Department of Fish and Game joined in the mid-1990s. The program has a couple big introductory meetings each year, which attract about 100 people. And then smaller, monthly events focusing on specific skills, such as flyfishing, which draw 20 to 30 participants.

Typically, the events are reasonably-priced overnighters that include food. For example, a June 28-30 flyfishing clinic in Frazier Park will cost $160 for ranch house accommodations, $120 for camping.

The state aims to break even and cover expenses, not make any money off the program, Johnston said.

Closer to home, at the Yolo Sportsmen’s Association near Davis, the Department of Fish and Game is offering a hunter education class tailored for women on March 23-24.

The course is required to get a hunting license. Cost is $10, class size is limited and preregistration is required. For information or to register, call Linda Sandoval at (916) 445-3452.

Upcoming Becoming an Outdoors-Woman classes include: April 19-21, flyfishing, $90, Lake Cachuma, Santa Barbara; May 18 and Aug. 10, canoe and kayak, $50 Mather Lake, Sacramento; May 24-26 surf fishing and sea kayaking, $120 Calmigos Ranch, Malibu, California; Aug. 24-25, backpacking trip, $80, Lassen Volcanic National Park.

For information or to register, call (916) 653-7448.

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