Your NEW
takes flight in

A Pioneering Event

From the Mouth of a New Hunter

Chelsea Layman of Iola, Kan., became a hunter during the Women in the Outdoors event hosted by the Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter.


“The instructors did a great job informing us of what we were doing and gave helpful tips on improving our gun handling skills along with relating back to how it will help with hunting. The event was fun, a no pressure environment. The hunt at the end was great and really let me put everything I learned into action.”

The Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter hosted its first Women in the Outdoors Hunter Creation Event in Iola last year. Most new hunters are not created in a single day, but this chapter set up its event as more of a cram course in Hunting 101, following the steps of hunter creation. While other NWTF chapters may host multiple events throughout the year to create hunters, this model works for chapters that host one Hunting Heritage event a year.


The chapter initially planned a traditional Women in the Outdoors event, with stations for archery, trap shooting, fly-fishing, handguns, self-defense and a rifle range. These elements are great for an introductory shooting event, but the chapter wanted to focus more on the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative and the goal to create new hunters.


A state hunter education class seemed an obvious fit since most of the necessary elements were present, including live fire and archery ranges. The chapter sought guidance from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Officer Ben Womelsdorf and Kansas Women in the Outdoors coordinator Tonya Carson, both certified hunter education instructors. Participants needing their hunter safety certification would pre-register and take a short online prep course prior to the event.

Kansas requires a trail walk exercise to complete the Internet assisted hunter education course. The trail walk consists of several mock scenarios to test a new hunter’s “shoot or don’t shoot“ judgment. The chapter incorporated this exercise into the event.


The engagement step in hunter creation is active involvement in a hunting organization, club or group that brings together novices and veterans. It’s the social aspect of hunting. The chapter elected to enroll each participant as a member of the NWTF. Further, the chapter actively and successfully recruited these new members as committee members. This involvement provides new hunters with a strong support base to build from as they grow into more experienced hunters.

Hunting Experience

The chapter incorporated a mentored hunt into the experience, thanks to co-chairs Don Erbert and Neal Crane. Don donated the use of his 160-acre private hunting area, while Neal provided bird dogs. Don’s land proved the perfect setting with facilities for a classroom, individual learning stations, a trail walk area, fishing pond and safe live fire areas. A large portion of the property is actively managed for upland wildlife.

The chapter planned an evening mentored hunt for the event. Volunteers set up a laptop computer and printer on site, where new hunters with fresh hunter safety cards were walked through buying their first hunting license. They were then ready to hit the field on their first mentored hunt.

The Logistics of Hunter Creation

Timing of the events was well choreographed. The hunter education class started promptly at 8 a.m., with the general Women in the Outdoors event starting at 10 a.m. Two lunch times were scheduled to accommodate the hunter education class and the other event participants. They worked in the live fire portions of hunter education, and by 3:30 p.m., the course was completed and students were issued their new hunter safety cards. Volunteers spent the next hour helping participants purchase their hunting licenses — many for the first time. By 5 p.m., 50 hunters were matched with a mentor and hit the field for their first hunt. They spent the evening cleaning birds around the campfire and swapping hunt stories — the perfect end to any hunt.



membershipsbag promoOutdoorDealHound