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Chris French
Mike Roberts

A new spin on the girls’ day out

It was “Ladies Day” in the great outdoors. It was all happening at the Harwinton Rod & Gun Club back on June 1. It’s an event called “Women Gone Wild” and it features events that at one time were mostly done by the male population in our country.

In today’s world it sounds chauvinistic and old fashioned to say that the females in our society can’t do certain things because of their gender. You can toss that one out the window because, for the most part, just about everything in sports and the working world is open to “The Fairer Sex,” although there are still times they face unfair limitations. (You are welcome ladies.)

I didn’t have to look far when I arrived at WGW to see the ladies in action. Rebecca of Watertown was having the time of her life learning new skills while running a backhoe. She was under the watchful eye of a certified backhoe operator who was also serving as an instructor for the ladies who tried their hand at operating a backhoe, and there were many.

I should point out that safety in all of the events was the first thing they were taught and it was practiced to the utmost in everything the ladies did.

The next group of ladies I came across were in the “Lumber Jill” event. The main portion of this event was to learn strengthening exercises. However, the “exercise” that provide the most fun for the ladies in the class was ax-throwing. Yep, you read it right. I said ax-throwing!

The women were throwing a double-bladed ax at the target — a huge circle of wood cut from a log that had a red bullseye painted on it. The ladies were shown by the instructor the proper technique in ax-throwing and I am still at a loss to tell you how those girls did it.

Hey, I wasn’t about to make a fool out of myself by trying it in front of a bunch of women, especially after the one I was watching hit the bullseye on the first try!

The ax throwers had a great time and supported each and every effort. Some missed completely, some came close, and some hit the bullseye squarely. And, yes, I was impressed by all of them.

Lori Flynn, who came all the way from Foster, R.I. to join her sister for the event, said, “It isn’t as easy as some of them make it look, but I’m having a ball and all of the events here today are really fun to try and learn.”

Another ax-throwing lady, Dodie Murphy of New Hartford, hit the bullseye on the first try.

“I want to have this for entertainment at one of my backyard barbecues, but instead of using an ax, I would probably use a hatchet or tomahawk,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Brenda Hanson, who came from Winsted to compete with Murphy, had been to WGW before and said her favorites were the handgun and big-bore rifle events.

Women Gone Wild is a great place for women to learn about all types of outdoor use and safety, including the use of all types of firearms. This was never more evident than when I went to the Intro To Rifle course. Most of the instructors were men, although there were women instructors involved in many of the events. Dom, one of the basic rifle instructors said, “Many of the ladies arrive with just a passive interest in shooting a .22 caliber rifle until the first time and then they really get into it. Some of them did really well.”

The last WGW event was held at the Harwinton Rod & Gun Club in 2012 and had 75 participants. This year’s event had over 100 ladies participating in the12 different categories: Basic Archery, Basic Shotgun, Intro To Handgun, Intro To Rifle. AR-15, Basic Self-Defense, Fly Fishing, Lawn To Plate (Eating Wild), Excavation, Lumber Jill, Tracking, and Emergency First Aid.

While they were all impressive classes, I was absolutely blown away by the Basic Shotgun Class. Nick Boyden, an instructor for Water & Wings, was the primary instructor for the shotgun course.

Boyden would take the ladies two at a time onto the trap range, but before he did he would ask, “Who here has never shot a shotgun and do not think it will be possible for them to hit a flying clay target in the air?”

Four hands went up in the air and the instructor picked two of them to step forward with him onto the trap range. The ladies would be shooting at clay pigeons flying out of the trap house (a building that the clay thrower is located in) and he began one of the most interesting short courses on shooting clays I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few in my time.

I had to laugh when one of the younger shooters who had never shot a shotgun or clays before asked, “If I hit it, can I keep it?”

Hey, how was she to know that the clays shatter when hit?

The first of the two young ladies who had never shot a shotgun before got their instructions from Boyden — and, again, I have to say I have never seen that type of instruction before — stepped up to the firing line. Her first shot was a miss and after the instructor showed and told her what she did wrong, she hit the next two.

The following three shooters who never fired a shotgun before all hit flying clays on their first shots. Unbelievable? I would think so if I had not seen it for myself.

Ladies, if you did not get a chance to go to Women Gone Wild this year, you might want to spend a day with them next year. You can check them out o their web site www.northeastwildwomen.com.

When you get into the web site, check out its founder, Jennifer Zordan. There is a lady that has handled things in her life that absolutely amaze me. On top of giving women a chance to learn in our great outdoors, WGW also donates profits from its event to various causes. This year it was Casting For Recovery (CFR) and East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD).

CFR was founded on the principles that cancer survivors deserve one weekend to experience something new and challenging while enjoying beautiful surroundings within an intimate, safe and nurturing environment. CFR provides an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by the disease to gather in a natural setting and learn the sport of fly fishing. Just as important is the opportunity to meet new friends and network and have fun. (Visit www.castingforrecovery.org.)

As for East Coast Assistance Dogs, it’s mission is to educate and provide highly skilled service dogs for people with disabilities to lead lives with more independence and mobility. ECAD offers programs designed to meet the needs of a specific population: veterans, at-risk youths, persons living with disabilities or in stressful circumstances, and children as young as two years old with Autism. (Visit www.ecad1.org.)

WESTBROOK TOURNAMENT

Atlantic Outboard, 475 Boston Post Road, Westbrook will host its 3rd Annual Westbrook Inshore Open Striper and Fluke Tournament June 27-29.

A $30 entry fee gets you a 3rd Annual Westbrook Inshore Open T-shirt and catered dinner at the award banquet. You will be automatically entered to win more than $2,500 worth raffle prizes. The awards banquet is June 29 at 2 p.m. Trophies and raffle prizes will be handed out tat that time.

Children enrolled in the DEEP Youth Fishing Passport Program fish for free! Youths can register and get more information at www.ct.gov/deep/yfp.

Each angler will be provided with a tournament card and entrant number and his or her fish must be photographed with the tournament card visible. Rules for the tournament are:

*All anglers must have a CT Saltwater Fishing license, and obey all CT and local fishing and boating regulations.

*Catch must be slot size (28 to 36 inches).

*Fish must be measured, photographed with the tournament card in the background, weighed and released.

*Fish are measured from thee V-notch in tail to closed mouth

*Fish must be entered in the angler’s log.

*There is no limit on how many fish may be entered

*When using baited hooks, non-offset circle hooks must be used.

After all anglers logs are turned in for the day, the target length and weight will be announced. The target length and weight will be different on both days of the tournament. The fish closet to the target will be the first-place winner, with the next closest the second place and so on.

The overall winner will be the angler who has the closest fish o the target over the combined tournament days, which begins Friday the 27th at noon and runs to noon on Sunday the 29th.

The angler with the largest fluke will be the winner of the fluke division. Fluke must be measured and photographed with tournament card in background and weighed.

Anyone wishing to enter may sign up until Saturday June 28 at noon. Contact Evan Cusson at Atlantic Outboard at (860) 399-6773. For more tournament info, go to www.atlanticoutboard.com.

LAKE SALTONSTALL WALLEYES

Paul “Chief” Nowakowski reported some good fishing on Lake Saltonstall while fishing there with Ricky Papallo.

Nowakowski said they netted a 4- and 6-pound walleye and had one straighten out a snap swivel that was attached to the jig he was using. That took some kind of fish to do that!

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.



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