Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife discovered a significant number of basic hunter education graduates need to learn species-specific hunting skills before they can hunt on their own. MassWildlife created and implemented the state’s Learn to Hunt Initiative to meet those needs.
MassWildlife partnered with the NWTF Massachusetts State Chapter to provide novice adult hunters with learning experiences to give them the confidence to go hunting in the field. Graduates from the basic hunter education course were randomly selected for the program.
The Learn to Hunt program and mentored hunt is offered in a series of four sessions. The first three are in-depth turkey hunting seminars that cover basic hunting needs, shooting, gear, clothing, turkey scouting, calling and other hunting techniques. The fourth session is a hunt.
The novice hunter is paired with a mentor who takes them out on a hunt. They receive the opportunity to apply what they learn under the direction of an experienced turkey hunter. The pilot program was offered once this spring enrollment was limited to 20 participants.
The second program is a Learn to Hunt clinic. It is a one-day, hands-on skills clinic designed for adult novice turkey hunters. This clinic was piloted in three locations across the state with an enrollment of 32 participants for each session. Similar topics were covered, but in much less detail given the shorter time frame.
In all facets of this pilot program, volunteers from the NWTF Massachusetts State Chapter were engaged through running classes, mentoring and hosting hunts.