I feel extremely fortunate to have spent my formative years growing up in Lycoming County, PA. My parents and grandparents were great mentors and extremely supportive of my interests in the outdoors. From hunting and fishing to just wiling away the hours observing and learning about the wonders of nature, they were always there to encourage me and facilitate my eagerness to learn more.
Today, however, there seems to be an increasing number of youths growing up in one-parent households. While the reason or reasons that created the one-parent environment may vary, the end result is usually a less than totally desirable learning condition. The good news is that these days there are an increasing number of learning aids available to assist parents who want to introduce and encourage their kids to our great outdoors and all the benefits of spending time outside, particularly in the pursuit of hunting and fishing.
Learn to Hunt with the Pennsylvania Game Commission:
Once again, this fall, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) will provide free webinars to teach people of all ages how to hunt. The Learn to Hunt webinars include information on where to hunt, what you need to hunt, hunting tips and tactics, and preparing game for the table. The series began this year on Wednesday, August 24, at 6:00 p.m. with a webinar on squirrel hunting. That webinar will be archived and available for viewing on the PGC website. Additional webinars – two on archery deer hunting on September 7 and September 21 and one on pheasant hunting presented on October 5 – will be available.
The webinars are about one hour in length and are followed by a question and answer session. Each webinar is recorded and is made available to watch later on the PGC’s Learn to Hunt webpage, and those who register receive an email after the live event to access the recording. You can register or learn more about the webinars at: http://bit.ly/pgclearntohunt
The Learn to Hunt program is provided in addition to other online resources designed to help new or experienced hunters develop the confidence and skills they need to enjoy their experiences in the outdoors. Other online programs include the Hunter-Trapper Education Course (which is required to purchase a hunting license), the Pennsylvania Archery Safety Course, the Successful Bowhunting Course, and the Successful Furtaking Course. All of these courses can be found at: https://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/Hunter-TrapperEducation/Pages/default.aspx.
National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Learning to” Series:
This year, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is beginning a collaborative “Learning to” series of videos, funded through a grant from L.L.Bean, serving as an online resource for novice outdoorsmen and women looking to get started in hunting, fishing, and the outdoor lifestyle.
What is unique about these videos is that they are peer centered, meaning that there was a specific effort to recruit novice and atypical hunters and anglers. The idea is to send a message of inclusion – “If they can do it, I can do it too.”
The “Learning to” series consists of four videos, each one between 10 and 15 minutes in length, and include: Learning to Hunt Wild Turkeys, Learning to Hunt Grouse and Woodcock, Learning to Hunt Rabbit and Squirrel, and Learning to Fish for Stream Trout. These videos are presented on NWTF.org’s Lifestyle Hub and on its YouTube Channel.
Each of the videos is intended to be a confidence booster as much as a primer on the subject matter. While all four of the videos were filmed in Wisconsin, the content is totally applicable to the majority of the states east of the Rocky Mountains. Elizabeth Simpson, one of the featured participants in the series, stated that “The series is a great introduction to the basics that I definitely would have used when I was starting out.”
Additional partners of the video project include the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society, Trout Unlimited, and Color in the Outdoors. You can learn more about the NWTF’s Education and Outreach Efforts and watch videos at: http://www.nwtf.org/who-we-are/programs-outreach.
Sharing the outdoors experiences and introducing a young and enthusiastic person to hunting, fishing, and other activities in the world of Mother Nature can be a fun and rewarding time. The learning aids described above will greatly enhance the memories you will create.