In one of the best "Simpsons" episodes ever, "The Experienced Woodsman" in season one, the family is stranded out in the woods. Homer and Bart go off to find help, while Marge and Lisa stay put in a shelter. "Your father's an experienced woodsman, dear," Marge assures Lisa. She and Lisa build a fire and stay cozy as Homer, encountering one mishap after another, becomes disheveled and eventually emerges from the forest to be mistaken for Bigfoot.
It's now a running joke in my family when we're out camping or hiking. "Don't worry, I'm an experienced woodsman," we say when the fire won't start or the tent gets soaked. The lesson I recall taking from that particular episode was that pretending like you know what you're doing out in the woods will get you in trouble. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program sounds like an excellent way to learn useful stuff like navigation, cooking and weapon safety, all under the tutelage of experienced woodswomen, sans any masculine bluster.
The Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program is planned for the Sanders County Fairgrounds in Plains Sat., July 13. Classes include using a map and compass, Dutch oven cooking, packing llamas, gun safety and more. Fees vary and include materials and food. Call Nancy at 827-8561 or Jolene at 826-2606, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The annual weekend BOW workshop is Aug. 2-4 at Lubrecht Experimental Forest, 30 miles east of Missoula. Register at fwp.mt.gov/education/bow/workshops.html.