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Target practice
Explore Bowhunting

Looking for an Outdoor Skills Program or Activities to supplement your current program?

Explore Bowhunting encompasses outdoor skills used not only to bowhunt, but for anyone seeking a better understanding of the natural world. Explore Bowhunting is a curriculum that teaches students about hunting within a classroom type setting and is the perfect complement to the successful National Archery In Schools Program and Hunter Education program that we have in Iowa.  

Explore Bowhunting hopes to connect students with the outdoors and enhance their encounters within the 23 different activities.   Students will learn a variety of skills that will not only help them become better hunters but develop an overall appreciation for wildlife and nature. 

The Archery Trade Association (ATA) created this curriculum in 2010 with the educator in mind. Easy-to-follow lesson plans, an overflowing equipment kit, media packets and more make this curriculum fun for both the students and the teachers instructing. Review sample lesson plans and student handbooks below to see the fun that awaits you and your students and watch a short video clip on the program. 

Even though the program is called Explore Bowhunting you could call it something else such as Exploring the Outdoors as the curriculum covers such topics as: how to building blinds, how to use calls to lure animals into range, how to judge the distance to a target, how to field dress game animals, how to shoot a bow from different positions and understanding animal ecology - specifically the whitetailed deer.

The Explore Bowhunting curriculum was developed to target middle and high school youth ages 11-17, but adults and younger students can benefit from the program too.   

Lessons can be taught in a variety of settings due to the flexibility of the program.  Programs could be held in-school, to afterschool along with other organizations such as county conservation, park and recreation, YMCA, community centers or sportsmans clubs.   

The curriculum is flexible and enables instructors to teach one activity or a week-long camp. 

The average time to complete each of the lessons is 1 hour per activity.   However, instructors do not need to teach all the activities in your program!  Instructors have the ability to pick and choose which activities to use and adjust the length of time for each activity.  

Instructors/Educators will be required to attend the training prior to teaching the program.  We will work with all groups including but not limited to Schools, County Conservation, Park and Recreation, Shooting Ranges/clubs or any other groups wanting to teach the program.  

The instructor workshop is a mandatory 4-5 hour course designed to introduce instructors to the Explore Bowhunting curriculum and activities. This hands-on course will leave participants feeling comfortable and confident using the curriculum guide as well as with many of the activities. Instructors will have the opportunity to learn useful tips in the set up and instruction of activities as well as see them in action.

The workshop also provides opportunity to discuss Explore Bowhunting equipment options, expectations and next-step opportunities for instructors and students.

Help us host a workshop for you and others in your community by:

  • Helping to find a suitable location to host a workshop
  • Help find a minimum of 8- 10 participants
  • Contact the Explore Bowhunting State Coordinator for more information.

  Workshop Details:

  • Free to attend
  • Must reserve a spot in the workshop by contacting the State Coordinator
  • Additional workshop details will be sent out the week

The Iowa DNR will host short workshops to introduce to the curriculum to instructors.  The instructors will attend the short workshop where they will then receive the curriculum. Instructors will report back to the coordinator either after the class or at the end of the year on how many students took the program and how many lessons/activities were offered. 

A resource trunk or equipment kit has a large collection of visual aids and training materials such as deer anatomy charts and DVDs. Within each trunk there are three different types of bows (compound, crossbow and recurve), game calls, camouflage clothing, shooting release, broadhead samples, deer lures and scents, a trail camera, arrows, and much more. Teaching trunks are available at a variety of locations.

If the class is not taught during the standard school day, our classes are posted to public online. 

Explore Bowhunting
Video by Arizona GameAndFish
Contact Us

Zach Benttine
Archery Coordinator
Zach.Benttine@dnr.iowa.gov
515-205-8709

Program Resources