Activity descriptions

These are classes offered through Becoming an Outdoors Woman. Not all classes take place each year. Please check the calendar for current offerings.

Please note that some classes require prerequisite courses. These are designated with an asterisk (*).


Beginning Fishing - This course is for the very beginning angler. The first hour of classroom instruction includes the fundamentals of rod and reel handling, casting, knot tying, tackle and stocking selection for varying game fish. Participants must have a valid MN fishing license prior to the start of class.

Ice Fishing - This course is geared to the beginning ice anglers, offering numerous tips for fun ice fishing. Learn how lakes change in winter, what to look for when choosing a site and how to set up your ice house. Learn how lakes change in winter, what to look for when choosing a site and how to set up your ice house. Basic equipment, electronics, jigging techniques, customizing your own gear, bait choices, ice angler selection and use will be covered. Participants must have a valid MN fishing license prior to the start of class.

On-Water Fishing - Prerequisite is Beginning Fishing or five years of fishing experience. This course will have 45 minutes of classroom instruction on how to tie up the 3-4 presentations of fishing that guarantees to catch all game fish species. Later, practice these presentations while fishing in a boat on the lake. Also, map reading for structure and where to find fish feeding will be covered. Participants must have a valid MN fishing license prior to the start of class.

Fly Fishing Basics - Learn the basic differences between fly fishing and conventional tackle. Learn about types of flies and when to use them, "matching the hatch," fly casting, knots and how to choose equipment that suits your fishing needs.

On-Water Fly Fishing - Tune up your knot tying and casting skills as you learn how to read the water and find the best fly to fish. Learn how to ID insects to "match the hatch" and how to present and retrieve a fly. In moving water line-current management will be shared as well as how to land, play and release a fish. * Fly-Fishing Basics is a prerequisite. Participants must have a valid MN fishing license and Trout endorsement prior to the start of class.

Fly-Tying - Learn the basic equipment needed for fly-tying. Tie flies used for trout, bass and pan fishing. A great winter sport for anyone who likes to fly fish. This course will give hands on experience in tying your own flies.

Trout Fishing with Spin and Bait Casting Gear - Basic fishing, the fundamentals of rod and reel handling and casting, knot tying and tackle, and trout species identification will be discussed before you head for the trout stream. Trout management and habitat will be looked at. Participants must have a valid MN Fishing License and Trout endorsement prior to the start of class.


Airgun - Through the use of airgun, learn the basics of rifle shooting and range safety. The course will include plenty of time to shoot on the indoor airgun range. Eye dominance, aiming and position will be covered.

Introduction to Archery - Archery is a fun and challenging skill that offers something for everyone. The perfect family activity! Learn about the different styles of target shooting and equipment choices available today, from Olympic style to backyard stump shooting. You will be introduced to archery through examples, demonstrations and hands on practice. This class is also excellent for those interested in bowhunting! All equipment is provided.

Big Game Hunting - You will learn how to successfully plan and implement techniques and skills to hunt Minnesota's deer, bear and moose. These methods are designed for the beginner as well as the experienced hunter. Engaging skills can be applied to the photographer and casual wildlife observer alike.

Bowhunting - The pursuit of game with bow and arrow is very challenging and requires special techniques and gear. Learn the basics of bowhunting, from clothing and accessories, equipment choices, hunting techniques and shot placement to ways of interpreting animal signs and signals. The program includes a hike to look at stand placement and reading the landscape for deer sign.

Firearm Safety - This course covers all safety issues and procedures for various types of shotguns, rifles, pistols and ammunition. The course consists of extensive hands-on practice sessions, complemented by slide and video presentations.
* FIREARM SAFETY is prerequisite to all shooting courses.

Recreational Handgunning - Learn to use a handgun for fun shoots, as well as hunting large and small game. Topics include safe handling of revolver and auto-loading pistols, proper shooting techniques and selecting the best firearm and caliber for each shooting sport. Participants will be using .22 caliber on the range. * Firearm Safety, within the past 3 years, is a prerequisite.

Predator Calling/Trapping - Learn the fundamentals of these two activities. Topics covered include: equipment, methods, laws, ethics and basic furbearer biology. Participants will spend half their time in the classroom and the other half their time in the field learning firsthand by actually checking a tripling or trying to call in a predator.

Beginning Rifle - Instructors are avid hunters and instructors with the MN Adult Hunter Education Program. Learn how to shoot a rifle by firing a .22 from sitting, kneeling, standing and prone position. Also the opportunity to fire large bore, black powder and handgun.
* Firearm Safety, within the past 3 years, is a prerequisite.

Beginning Shotgun - Students will cover topics such as: shotgun selection, care, cleaning, nomenclature, fit, eye dominance, mount, stance and shooting technique with an emphasis on hands-on shooting. * Firearm Safety, within the past 3 years, is a prerequisite.

Intermediate Shotgun - This course is designed for the graduates of Beginning Shotgun and takes a closer look at shotgunning techniques and methods which will make you a more proficient "wing shot." Participants will shoot at a target range where they will be presented with a variety of targets in life like hunting situations.
* Beginning Shotgun is a prerequisite.

Upland Bird Hunting/Dog Training - Discuss habitat specifics, gun and ammunition selection, and the use of gun dogs in upland bird hunting. A mock hunt is included to demonstrate dog points, flushing tactics and bird habitat. Focus on types of hunting breeds and their traditional uses, how to select a puppy, and tips to field train a champion dog.

Other recreation

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety - Learn how to safely operate an ATV. This course will go through dangers associated with driving ATVs, how to operate them and give you an opportunity for a short hands on session on a machine.

Bicycling the "Rail Trails" - An instructor will discuss the various railroad right-of-way trails in MN and what to consider in planning an outing. She/he will also discuss bicycle selection and fit, clothing, accessories, maintenance, and trail riding techniques. A portion of the class will be spent biking on a local trail. Bicycles will be provided. Please note that there may be an additional fee for bicycle rental. Participants are welcome to bring their own bicycle.

Birding - Discover what you need to be a successful birder. Find out how to choose binoculars and bird identification books to fit your needs, as well as gain skills in bird identification, flight patterns and natural history. Participants may have a chance to explore the surroundings on a bird hike.

Boat and Motor - Learn how to back the boat and motor at the launch, load and unload the boat from the trailer and boating safety and laws. General boat maintenance and a checklist you should have before leaving the boat launch.

Camping: Basics in Backpacking, Canoe Camping and Family Camping - This course will introduce you to the pleasures of camping in the wilderness. Discuss gear selection, use and repair, trip preparation and design: food planning packing, storage, and cleanup. Learn how to start a campfire, cook a simple meal, pack a backpack and carry it on a short hike.

Beginning Canoeing - An accomplished canoeing instructor will teach safety; equipment and paddling. Instruction covers the basics; getting in and out of a canoe, team paddling and proper strokes, portaging, and special pointers to get started on planning a remote canoe trip. This course will be spent on the water.

Beginning Cross-Country Skiing - Topics include equipment selection, waxing whys and how-to's, and learning basic skills. This class is for someone; who has never cross-country skied before, who has never taken any formal instruction, or who wants to brush up on basic skills.

Intermediate Cross-Country Skiing - Learn skills to improve your glide, downhill turns, and uphill climbs. We will be skiing for a little while and practicing skills along the trail. If you have taken the beginning class earlier, this would be a good class to expand your skills. * Beginning Cross-Country Skiing is a prerequisite.

Creative Expressions - Learn how to express your outdoor experiences, keep them forever, by using the communication forms of personal journaling, story-telling, scrapbook making and photographs.

Dutch Oven Cooking - You will learn to cook a variety of food in a Dutch Oven. Share recipes, learn how to build a fire for cooking. Sampling the tasty treats will make this a class worth attending.

Fish/Game Cooking and Cleaning - Participants will learn the proper preparation of fish and game, important field dressing techniques, meat care, and a demonstration of basic cooking.

Food Dehydrating - Learn how to prepare great travel food during this hands-on session. Learn about drying fruits, vegetables, and meats while comparing different types of dehydrators. Participants will be able to sample some delicious recipes with no chemicals or preservatives.

Minnesota Flora and Fauna - This class will include methods for identification of Minnesota's plants and animals. We will explore the diversity of meadows and woods with field guides and keen eyes. This is a great leg stretcher guided by an interpretive naturalist.

Map and Compass - Develop confidence in experiencing remote or off trail destinations fearlessly. An experienced, orienteering instructor will lead you through compass basics, interpreting topographic maps and route selection. Take a "topo hike" to practice visualizing map symbols, then put your new found skills together with some off-trail orienteering.

Polar Fleece - There is nothing cozier in winter than Polar Fleece, and there's nothing more satisfying than sewing your own polar fleece mittens or hat! We'll teach you to hand-sew this versatile fabric. Prepare yourself for winter. We provide a wide variety of fleece to choose from, patterns for hats and mittens, and step-by-step instructions.

Raptors - Large birds of prey have always be interesting to people. This course will teach you about raptors and the role they play in nature's scheme of things. Falconry , and a chance to see birds close up will be one of the class highlights.

Rock Climbing - Come explore the challenges and rewards of climbing and belaying. Participants will learn how to safely belay other climbers, as well as have a chance to try a variety of climbs.

Ski-joring - Is a wild and crazy experience of being pulled on skis by a harnessed dog (or more, for additional speed and fun!). Learn how to train your dog to pull, developing technique, choosing equipment, racing and feeding of a working dog. Ski-joring offers an additional travel option for winter camping, fishing back-country lakes, or just to expand your love of running dogs in wintertime. * Beginning Cross-Country Skiing is a prerequisite.

Sled Dog Mushing - Introduction to the basics of starting up a kennel and the selection of dog breeds. What kind of sleds, equipment used, training, racing, daily handling and caring for the dogs including feeding, team harnessing and dog psychology. Participants will harness up the teams and head out in small groups to mush along the lake or wilderness trails.

Beginning Snowmobiling - This course will introduce you to the sport of snowmobiling; how to operate a sled, safety considerations, trail riding tips and basic mechanics and sled care. The class will conclude with a short ride. Course will be instructed by the MN DNR Conservation Officers. ** This course is a prerequisite to On-Trail Snowmobiling session.

On-Trail Snowmobiling - Enjoy the beautiful outdoors with an afternoon snowmobile ride. Now that you have the basics of safe riding, put them into practice on the trail. Bring warm clothes and a helmet. Each individual will have their own snowmobile.
** Participants must have beginning snowmobiling or snowmobile safety certificate. Also there may be an extra fee for this course.

Snowshoeing - Seeing the winter world by snowshoe allows you to travel in many places you cannot ski to. Learn about snowshoe selection, types of snow shoes and come with good boots and clothes to spend time exploring on snowshoes.

Tracking and Wildlife Identification by Snowshoe - With a white carpet on the trees and forest floor, animal tracking becomes nearly magical with daily movement clearly visible. Learn to identify particular animal tracks, look for other signs and maybe happen upon a shed antler just appearing from the receding snow.

Voyageur Skills - Settle in for an enlivening and colorful history of the Voyagers as Trapper and "Trapper's Lady", avid black powder hunters, relive history. Learn outdoor skills of centuries past: black powder muzzle loader rifle shooting, flint and steel fire starting, and tomahawk throwing. Instructors will teach in authentic costumes.

Wild Edibles - Explore nature's "grocer." Learn to recognize and identify flowering plants and tress available in the outdoors to nibble on. Collect local samples of plants, learn preservation and cooking preparation tips. Gain an insight of introducing wild edibles into your lifestyle. Food and tea recipes, medicinal and spiritual uses.

Wilderness Survival - Instructor will teach participants the proper contents of a survival kit, the skills necessary for surviving a night outdoors, signaling for help, prevention and treatment for hypothermia. Hands-on activities include fire building and debris shelter construction, and water purifying.

Winter Camping - Camping gear and equipment choices are the basics for this informative course. Learn how to select and use clothing, tents, sleeping systems, and stoves in below freezing camp-outs. Trip planning, safety considerations, hints for storing/collecting water, food preparation and travel methods in the cold weather.

Winter Survival - Discover ideas to help ward off frostbite, hypothermia and how to forage for food and water in cold weather. Build a "quinzee" (overnight snow shelter), start a reflector fire, and discover how to stay warm in the most severe storm or numbing cold. Discussion of vital safety; gear, distress signals, calling for help, hints for predicting the weather and more.

Woodworking for Wildlife - "Woodworking for Wildlife", leads participants in creating homes for wildlife. Cover building materials, tools, methods and placement for common nest boxes. Each participant assembles their own nest box and a one-board nest box for chickadees.


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