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Life-saving lessons in Becoming an Outdoors Woman program
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

I first heard of Lee Harlin Bahan’s lifesaving experience in South Carolina from Indiana Conservation Officer Bill Beville.

Officer Beville is one of many individuals involved in a unique outdoor educational program called Becoming an Outdoors Woman or BOW.

BOW offers women the chance to experience and learn outdoor skills in a relaxed and informative surrounding. The program offers women a hands-on education in diverse programs such as ATV riding, camping, shooting sports, canoeing, camp cooking, fishing and survival training. Intertwined in the programs is a solid theme of outdoor safety.

Her outdoor lessons and instruction in survival situations came into play recently. It seems Lee Harlin Bahan learned some very valuable lessons from BOW … lessons now accredited with helping her save a man’s life.

In her own words:

“I am writing to let you know, so that you can inform and thank the staff of Becoming an Outdoors Woman, that the orange safety whistle I received in my registration packet and the training I received in Officer Beville’s survival class and my Friday night overnight backpacking class helped to save a man’s life while my husband and I were on a paddling vacation on Lake Jocassee in South Carolina.

Very briefly, my husband and I heard a man hollering for help while we were paddling. When we paddled around the point toward the yelling, we saw a bass boat going in circles, and a man struggling to stay afloat in the water. We paddled to him, and learned he had lost his balance and gone overboard, whereupon the propeller nearly chopped his arm off.

“My husband got a life jacket around him, and the man held on with his good arm while we paddled him to a flat rock. I gave my husband my Smokey Bear bandana from cooking class to tie off the man’s arm. Then my husband used the Uniden weather radio to call in a Mayday. The only person who was listening turned out to be on a lake 20 miles away.

“My husband started using our topo map of the lake for a flag, and I started blowing my BOW orange emergency whistle for all I was worth, and a very small motorboat with an elderly couple responded. They were able to motor off and find a larger motorboat capable of picking up the injured man and taking him to the dock at the park office, where he was airlifted to Greenville.

“Last we heard, the victim was doing very well, and the surgeons were able to save his arm, which, the last time I saw it, looked like a spiral cut ham.

“You have my permission to send this testimonial proving that BOW not only encourages people to use our parks and teaches healthy use of leisure time, but BOW training saves lives. Having and using an emergency whistle works. Keeping a bandana in your survival kit works. We were taught never to go out without a map and compass, and while the map was used in an unorthodox way, that worked, too.

“Even better, after South Carolina DNR Conservation Officer Mike Isaacs took my statement about the incident, I asked him if they had BOW in SC. He flipped down the visor on the driver’s side of his truck and showed me his BOW instructor badge. I pointed out the BOW insignia on my whistle, and told him that the whistle and instruction I received were important in saving the boater’s life. This made his day.

“So, let everybody in the program know that they are doing a good thing. And, if you have any extra Smokey Bear bandanas, could you please send me one to replace the one we used to tie the guy’s arm off with?”

Thank you, best wishes,
Lee Harlin Bahan
Freetown, Ind.

When I last spoke with Indiana Conservation Officer Beville, he was looking to find Lee another bandana.

This year’s BOW seminar is scheduled for April 28-30 at Ross Camp near West Lafayette. The camp will introduce women to more than 30 outdoor sports and skills in a safe, noncompetitive environment.

Registration began March 1 and workshop enrollment is limited. The $165 workshop fee covers lodging, meals and equipment. Some partial scholarships are available for students, single parents and low-income, first-time participants. The workshops are sponsored by the Indiana DNR and the Indiana Hunter Education Assoc. All participants must be 18 years or older.

For details or to register online, visit Indiana’s BOW website at www.bow.IN.gov or contact Dawn Krause at 317-232-4095.

Light Goose season ends March 31
The light goose conservation order that began February 1, 2006 will end one-half hour after sunset on March 31. The conservation order is effective statewide, except at Muscatatuck and Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuges.

During the last 30 years, the numbers of light geese that primarily migrate through the Mississippi and Central Flyway have quadrupled. The large number of these geese is causing destruction of their arctic and sub-arctic breeding grounds.

The conservation order is an attempt to reduce the population to prevent further habitat degradation and to ensure the long-term health of the population.

Lesser snow and Ross’ geese are referred to as “light” geese due to the light coloration of the white-phase plumage form, as opposed to “dark” geese such as the white-fronted or Canada goose. Both plumage forms of snow geese (“snow” and “blue”) come under the designation light geese.

The same regulations and restrictions that apply during the regular waterfowl season also apply during the conservation order, except that during the order, (1) a free permit is required, (2) unplugged shotguns and electronic calling devices are allowed, (3) shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, (4) there is no daily bag or possession limit on lesser snow geese (includes blues) and Ross’ geese.

In addition to the free permit, a valid hunting license and signed Indiana waterfowl stamp (unless hunter is exempt) are required. A HIP registration number and Federal duck stamp are not required. Free permits can be obtained at any state fish and wildlife area office, field office, or reservoir.

This farm news was published in the March 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.

3/22/2006