Meet Angie Grimm, the first female mentor for NWTF Wisconsin - North Shore Chapter. She's a 19-year-old hunting enthuiasist who passes her knowledge and guidance onto new hunters. Originally from Fredonia, WI, Grimm is pursuing a major in environmental sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay and in her past-time she mentors hunters to support our hunting heritage.
NWTF: When did you first start hunting and what was significant about the experience?
AG: My first hunting experience was when I was 8 years old. My dad made me a deal that I could start going pheasant hunting with him, so for four years I walked along with him and the dog observing and flushing birds as we hunted to gain field experience before I began shooting at birds myself. After my hunter safety course, I was super excited to actually have the chance to harvest an animal myself. At 12, I started deer and turkey hunting as well. It took a few years before I was able to finally get an animal myself, but I stuck with it because that isn't what hunting is all about to me. I have also taken up archery and have started to hunt by myself for the past couple years.
NWTF: Who was a major influence in your childhood and sparked your interest in hunting?
AG: The person who most influenced and supported my interest in hunting was my dad. He would always come home after a hunting trip and tell me these amazing stories of what he saw in the woods and how the hunt went. Even if he didn't get anything, he told me that hunting itself is the best part, harvesting an animal is an added bonus. He has always supported my hunting career.
NWTF: What made you want to be a mentor?
AG: As a hunter, my goal is to help educate and enable others to have the opportunity to hunt if they want to. By becoming a mentor, I am able to do that while also providing a new hunter a positive hunting experience. It can be daunting to just jump right into hunting, so by being mentors, we can help make that transition fun instead.
NWTF: What do you view as the benefits of turkey hunting?
AG: There are so many benefits to turkey hunting! Personally, it is a great stress reliever and helps me reconnect with what is important in my life. Walking out in the dark, watching the sun rise on a crisp spring morning, hearing the songbirds wake up, and all the other beautiful things you experience turkey hunting help people realize that the outdoors is something we cannot afford to lose. Turkey hunting also teaches great lessons in patience and persistence, quick decision making, and staying calm under pressure. I spend hours practicing calling all winter and spring to make sure my calls sound just right when I get out in the field. I have also noticed that it can provide many young hunters with confidence they never had before. An added bonus is that you have the chance to provide you and your family with an organic meal knowing exactly where it came from since you harvested the bird yourself.
NWTF: What do you feel the North Shore Learn to hunt program provides to the other new hunters?
AG: The North Shore Learn to Hunt program is an excellent way for new hunters to be introduced to the sport. Being a former hunter in this program, I would highly recommend anyone interested in hunting to join this program. The mentors will teach you everything you need and want to know about turkey hunting, preparing for a turkey hunting and what to do with the bird after it is harvested. Since the program is also earlier than the regular turkey hunting season, it provides an excellent chance for a new hunter to harvest a turkey or at the very least see turkeys. Some years are tougher than others, but that's part of the sport. New hunters also do not have to make a large investment by hunting through this program because most mentors have the essential gear needed for the hunter. If a person is hesitant on whether they want to turkey hunt or not, this is a great way to test it out before investing in the supplies you need. Finally, it gives new hunters a chance to ask a large group of more experienced hunters questions, get advice and get a sense of camaraderie within the hunting community.
NWTF: Anything else you would like to add about your experiences in the woods or experiences that have made you the amazing leader that you are?
AG: Most people don't realize hunters' main goal isn't to harvest an animal. We want people to be safe and educated when they enter the woods so that everyone can return home at the end of the day. We care about the environment and strive to help conservation efforts in order to preserve it. But most importantly, hunting is about getting outdoors and appreciating the beauty of the world we live in, not harvesting an animal. That's just an added bonus.