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If you ask life-long hunters to describe their favorite outdoor adventure, you will find that they typically recall a family member or friend taking them hunting for the first time. This type of mentorship is very common among avid hunters, but unfortunately, the absence of this opportunity becomes a barrier for some. Iowa, like many other states in the US, faces a serious challenge: our number of licensed hunters continues to spiral downward. While many factors contribute to this concerning trend, limited access and opportunity continually appear as the top barrier. In order to address this, the employees of the Iowa DNR have collaborated with conservation organizations from across the state to provide the Iowa Youth Mentor Hunt Program.
The Iowa Youth Mentor Hunt Program is a resource tool for anyone looking to participate in a mentored hunt. It also contains contact information for members of the Iowa DNR, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, County Conservation Boards, and other key organizations. While each group may focus on a different critter or type of habitat, each makes a concerted effort to target youth with limited opportunity or access to hunting. Children over 12 years old, possessing a hunter’s education certificate are eligible for this program. Young hunters from single-parent families, non-hunting families, or urban settings often experience the deterrents of little opportunity or access and are the basis of recruitment for these events.
Whether you are part of a conservation organization, looking to get involved as a mentor, or a youth or family member wanting to participate, the program manual is a great resource. It contains ideas for planning a mentored hunt, contact information for Iowa DNR employees, contact information for participating conservation organizations, and describes what to expect at a mentored hunt.
For more information contact:
Your local DNR conservation officer