Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 18, 2013

Women come together in Bland County to learn outdoor skills

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BASTIAN, Va. — Women from all over Virginia gathered at Camp Roland Saturday to learn skills such as tomahawk throwing, archery, and rifle and shotgun shooting from local experts.

The event was part of the Bland County chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 10th Annual Women in the Outdoors event. Amy Hancock, organizer of the event, said the goal is teach women from age 14 and up various outdoor skills.

“This is an outreach program for the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Bland County chapter,” Hancock said. “We host it every summer to introduce women to new and interesting outdoor activities. We want to get them interested in the outdoors. We have done a wide variety of events including archery, shooting and tomahawk and knife throwing. There are also food, raffles, games and prizes. Everything here today goes to support the National Wild Turkey Federation.”

Sheila Milam of Bastian, Va., said she enjoyed getting to learn some new skills during the event.

“Years and years ago I shot handguns, but this was the first time I’ve ever shot a rifle,” Milam said. “I liked the archery a lot as well. There was good food and I got to meet some new women who have the same interests as I do.”

Jessica Linkous of Bland, Va., said she had a lot of fun exploring some new outdoor interests.

“I just loved everything,” she said. “I’ve never shot skeet before and the tomahawk throwing was a lot more fun that I thought. Once I figured out how to do it I really enjoyed the archery as well. Living where we do there aren’t as many opportunities to have fun. If more people went outdoors and did these kinds of activities we may not have the problem with drugs and crime we do.”

Adrianna Hutchens of Bland, Va., said hunting and survival skills are just as important for women as they are for men.

“It is especially important to learn gun safety because you never know when you may have to use it,” she said. “It’s important for women to learn these skills. People think this is an activity only for me, but it’s not. It’s been good to get to know a lot of different people.”

Virginia Valentine of Washington, Va., said she enjoyed getting to meet other women.

“You get to meet new people, get outside and do things you haven’t in a while,” she said. “I got to learn new skills from the other women here. The shotgun was my favorite activity, but I enjoyed archery as well. The instructors have been great.”

Franki Fuller of Marion, Va., said she hopes to return to next year’s event.

“We get to fellowship a lot with other women from all over,” Fuller said. “We get to learn to shoot and blow things up. The weather’s been great today and the food was good. It’s just been a lot of fun.”

— Contact Kate Coil at