Hunter Outreach programs help women, youth gain valuable hunting knowledge
It’s the “chicken or the egg” question: Which is lost first, the desire to go hunting or the knowledge of how to hunt?
That the hunting population is aging and shrinking isn’t much of a secret, and some of that isn’t simply because of old hunters getting older.
Much of it has to with too many other diversions, fewer licenses available (which is a dubious argument on its own) and no one from whom to learn how to hunt.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife can’t turn back the clock and put an extra 20 years in that gray beard, but they can pass on the hunting knowledge to a generation of people eager to learn but not sure how.
Again this fall, the agency, through its Hunter Outreach Program, is offering guidance and mentorships to novice women and youth hunters through various clinics, workshops, seminars and private-land hunts showcasing the knowledge, skills, ethics and traditions of hunting.
“Hunting is a big part of Colorado’s heritage and a very important part of wildlife management,” Parks and Wildlife Hunter Outreach Coordinator Jim Bulger said. “Many women and youth want to participate but do not have someone to show them how, so that is why these programs are so valuable to the aspiring hunter.”
The catch? You have to register by 5 p.m. Thursday.
The Women Afield Program is designed to allow novice hunters and anglers to learn alongside other women in a comfortable environment. The program’s summertime seminars and clinics cover basic shooting, fishing and archery skills in the classroom or range with plenty of “hands-on” experience. Although not required to participate, the clinics and seminars prepare them for the opportunity to apply for mentored big game, pheasant and waterfowl hunts during the fall.
The Youth Hunting Program also provides inexperienced hunters between the ages of 10-17 with a variety of clinics and seminars.
Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can participate in mentored big game hunts and youth 10 -17 are also eligible for mentored upland game and waterfowl hunts.
“Too many of our youth are not participating in healthy outdoor activities, and that is a concern,” said Kathleen Tadvick, Parks and Wildlife hunter outreach coordinator in Grand Junction. “Whether they are successful in the field or not, hunting is a powerful experience that teaches responsibility, ethics, outdoor skills, knowledge of wildlife, firearms skills and physical fitness, among many other positive attributes.”
Hunt applications submitted to the Hunter Outreach Program are selected by random drawing.