EDGEFIELD, S.C. – The Iowa State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation recently created and implemented a program called Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors to reverse the decline in hunting participation across the state.
The yearlong program is designed to create a community and support group where individuals, ages 18-45, can engage with, and learn from, experienced hunting mentors in a low-stress environment.
“We are providing skills that our participants want to learn — safe handling of firearms, introduction to wildlife and habitats, scouting tips, what to do when a participant harvests an animal and wild-game cooking,” said Stacey Smith, NWTF Save the Hunt coordinator in Iowa. “We also are giving insight into the essential hunting gear and clothing items they may or may not need on introductory hunts.”
The original outline of the program begins in January with an introduction to hunter education. By mid spring, participants are ready for their first turkey hunt. As the program continues, participants are to be exposed to a wider variety of outdoor activities – fishing, outdoor survival skills and upland, small game and waterfowl hunting.
As this is the program’s pilot year, creators of Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors know the program has the potential to evolve. “This is a learning experience for us, too,” Smith said. “We are open to change, because we want to make sure our curriculum is tailored to information and skills that are of interest to participants.”
For general information, participation requirements or to become a sponsor/partner of the Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors program, contact Stacey Smith, Save the Hunt coordinator for Iowa, at(515) 418-2275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners for Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors include Polk County Conservation and Ducks Unlimited.
About Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
The NWTF's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to give the NWTF more energy and purpose than ever. Through this national initiative, NWTF has committed to raising $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential upland wildlife habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment. Without hunters, there will be no wildlife or habitat. The NWTF is determined to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.
For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698