Wisconsin DNR Offers “Learn to Hunt For Food” Program

Feb. 4, 2015

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

A growing trend involving mostly young, non-hunting Americans who want to learn how to harvest their own game in order to take advantage of wild meat and its benefits has prompted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to expand its “Learn How to Hunt,” program to “Learn How to Hunt for Food.” This week you’ll also read about how Ducks Unlimited is helping promote youth firearm safety, and much more.

Wisconsin DNR Helping ‘Locavores’ Discover Hunting
Outdoors fans that eat local, take care of matters themselves, but lack a background in hunting can take a “Learn to Hunt for Food” instruction program with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Absher's ONH 4 2-4-15Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator who has been teaching the course since 2012, says more adults are finding their way to his course through their passions for local food, sustainable living and a connection to nature.

“Most of these students don’t come from hunting families,” Warnke says. “We start at the very beginning and show them everything. The course is really a soup to nuts kind of thing.”

In case you haven’t heard, across the country hunting is becoming increasing in vogue among the bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set, reports Slate.com. If the term locavore is new to you, it describes a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food. Numerous books and articles have been written on the subject, and some observers suspect the new trend may even be partly responsible for the recent 9 percent increase from 2006 to 2011 in the number of hunters in the United States after years of steady decline.

Warnke says that while food classes typically have a higher percentage of women students, “our classes are about half-and-half men and women. When you consider the population of hunters, women make up about 10 percent.”

Absher's ONH 3 2-4-15Students learn the importance of waiting for a clean shot and how to track wounded game. They explore “fair chase” and other concepts.

“Hunting is an excellent way to bring local, high-quality and great-tasting meat to the table,” Warnke says. “And who doesn’t like that?”

Wisconsin is the latest among a growing number of states offering such programs. Learn to Hunt for Food — or similar programs — are also being offered in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, and several more states.

Ducks Unlimited to Help Promote Youth Firearms Safety
Ducks Unlimited (DU) has teamed up with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) as an organizational supporter of NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program to help further promote the importance of firearms safety in the sporting community.

“We have a common goal to promote firearm safety and educate the hunting community — both the current and next generation — on their role in ensuring safe and responsible enjoyment of the shooting sports,” said Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of NSSF. “We’re thrilled to have Ducks Unlimited working with us in this important effort.”

NSSF Launched Project ChildSafe in 1999 (prior to 2003 the program was known as Project HomeSafe) as a nationwide program to provide firearm safety education to gun owners and their families. Through its partnerships with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies across the U.S., Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 36 million free firearm safety kits, including a free cable-style gun lock, to communities in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

Since its founding, DU has been committed to upholding the highest standards of gun safety, hunting ethics and responsible firearm ownership and use. The organization’s Youth and Education programs work regularly to provide firearm safety education to kids 12 and under, in high school and in college.

Arizona G&F Launches Website For New Archers
With the recent release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” interest in archery has soared among young people, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has created a special web page to help newcomers get started in archery the right way.

“We have seen an incredible influx of youngsters looking into classes and researching archery,” said Tanja Washburn, archery education coordinator for Game and Fish. “We felt it was important to have a resource page where people can go to get the most requested information on how to begin.”

Alaska Governor Joins Caucus
This week, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) welcomed the newest member to the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus, Gov. Bill Walker (I) of Alaska. Gov. Walker becomes the 26th member of the GSC, joining the group of U.S. governors who work to protect and advance the interests of America’s sportsmen and women.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus. So many Alaskans rely on healthy fish and game populations to feed their families and their communities, so the ability to hunt, fish, trap, and shoot in our state is absolutely critical. We must continue to support and advocate for sound fish and game management policies that will ensure the protection of hunting and fishing opportunities enjoyed by our citizens,” said Gov. Walker.

Each year, Alaska’s 563,000 hunters and anglers spend nearly $1.2 billion, supporting nearly 16,000 jobs and providing over $140 million in state and local tax revenues. This spending provides a boon for countless small businesses and rural economies in Alaska who rely on the economic impact provided by sportsmen and women.

Quote of the Week
“The dog is a man’s best friend.
He has a tail at one end.
Up in front he has teeth.
And four legs underneath.“
– Ogden Nash,
“An Introduction to Dogs,
” I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1938

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@me.com.

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