The Northland Outdoors Network
Learning to hunt can be an intimidating proposition.
And not just for children.
In fact, if you don’t learn to hunt as a child, the longer you wait, the more intimidating going into the field with a firearm can be.
Fortunately, the Minnesota DNR has long educated young and older hunters alike. That continues with an offering in Minneapolis for adults and in Forest Lake for those 10 and older.
Getting children into the field – and outdoors in general – has long been a focus of the DNR. But also bringing adults into the fold makes good sense, too, for the agency as it continues to try to bolster the number of hunting and outdoors participants in the state.
“Training adults could prove to be one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to generate a new hunter,” said Jay Johnson, hunter recruitment and retention coordinator for the DNR. “Unlike most youths, they have the decision-making authority necessary to hunt, can buy equipment, have their own transportation, and most importantly, are coming to us wanting to learn to hunt.”
The 2015 adult Learn to Hunt Whitetail Deer program will kick off with an informational session from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 3 at Seward Co-op in Minneapolis. Following that session, registration will open for the program that stretches into the fall. The program is for adults ages 18 years or older who have either never hunted or only hunted once before. Registration will be limited to 10 people, and a lottery will determine participants if more than 10 register.
“There is a growing population of adults who want to learn to hunt to procure their own food,” Johnson said. “They want to live local and care about the source and quality of their food. They’re connected to each other through the food co-op, slow food and farmer’s market avenues.”
According to the DNR, teaching new-to-hunting adults how to hunt will likely have a ripple effect. Children who grow up in families in which one or both of the parents hunt are more likely to hunt themselves, the DNR said.
“If we can create new adult hunters, whether they are parents or future parents, we can potentially influence the transfer of Minnesota’s hunting heritage to the next generation,” Johnson said.
That’s also part of the premise of a class geared mostly toward younger hunting hopefuls. The basics of hunting deer and upland birds are topics for an Introduction to Hunting class scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Forest Lake Sportsmen’s Club, with registration open to anyone 10 and older.
“This is an opportunity to learn hands-on about deer and upland bird hunting,” said Linda Bylander, outreach program coordinator with the DNR. “This class combines our popular deer day and upland bird day into one six-hour class.”
Participants will learn about safe use of tree stands and blinds, hunting afield and finding hunting land, how different types of firearms are used for hunting, and general hunting safety and regulations. The day also includes a demonstration of a pheasant hunt and field dressing.
Registration fee is $10 per person or $15 per family, and registration will be limited to 80 participants. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For more information and registration, go to www.mndnr.gov/education/bow or call Bylander at 218-203-4347. Go to www.mndnr.gov/harr/index.html for more information on the DNR’s Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program and DNR programs for new adult hunters.