Saint Paul, MN -- Many of the 620 Pheasants Forever chapters across the country are preparing for another autumn of hosting youth mentored pheasant hunts, and there's still time for interested youngsters to participate. In 15 years, Pheasants Forever chapters have introduced more than 60,000 youngsters to pheasant hunting in a safe and responsible way.
Pheasants Forever mentored pheasant hunts are the ideal way to introduce kids and teens to hunting, as experienced volunteer hunters from Pheasants Forever coach youth on the importance of firearm safety, wildlife habitat and hunting technique. "Veteran hunters know the experience of pursuing pheasants afield is more than just shooting birds," says Rich Wissink, Pheasants Forever's National Youth Programs Specialist, "Pheasants Forever chapters are comprised of these knowledge-rich volunteers who for 15 years have been willing to hold youth mentored pheasant hunts and pass on the tradition."
The Wood-Lucas Pheasants Forever chapter in northwestOhio held the first Pheasants Forever youth mentored pheasant hunt in October of 1995, with 48 youngsters taking part. Since then, the chapter has made youth mentored hunts an annual tradition, with more than 1,300 experiencing the joys of pheasant hunting. The Wood-Lucas chapter spent more than a year planning that first event, and the attention to detail became the blueprint for other Pheasants Forever chapters to follow. "We took the time to do it right," said Lou Best, youth/education chairperson for Wood-Lucas Pheasants Forever chapter, "We were thinking all along that what we were doing could be prototypical for other Pheasants Forever chapters." The Wood-Lucas Pheasants Forever chapter's annual youth event this year will be Saturday, October 30th in Bowling Green.
That first youth mentor hunt started a movement across the Pheasants Forever organization to use youth hunts to pass down our hunting heritage and wildlife conservation legacy. Pheasants Forever chapters from New York to Washington State hold youth mentored pheasant hunts, and the success of these events laid the foundation for Pheasants Forever's national No Child Left Indoors initiative that encourages youth and their families to enjoy the outdoors.
"We view youth mentored pheasant hunts as Pheasants Forever's minor leagues," Wissink says, "It's a training ground where kids can learn and have some fun. We want to turn them into lifelong upland hunters and Pheasants Forever members that care about wildlife and habitat. And when the time comes, we want them to give back as volunteers, just like the big league Pheasants Forever members that taught them."
FIND A PHEASANTS FOREVER CHAPTER Many Pheasants Forever chapters hold youth mentored pheasant hunts and other youth events. To find the chapter in your area, click here.
For more information on Pheasants Forever youth mentored pheasant hunts, contact Rich Wissink at (715) 722-0286 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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