Most of us outdoors types had an influential person in our lives who introduced us to the outdoors and helped ignite, not just our interest in the outdoors, but also provided us with guidance. Chances are it was more than one person and probably at different times in our outdoor experiences.
The world we live in today is distinctly different from that of just a generation ago and there’s a definite need for people to serve as mentors. Numerous hunters and anglers have put themselves out there to serve this role but they need youth and adults interested in having a mentor.
It’s an interesting dynamic. You find out about people who need mentoring, so you find mentors. They connect and a new group of people learn the joy of the outdoors. This in turn spurns others to sign up for a mentored hunt and others to mentor.
That said, the effort to recruit mentors must also be matched with the effort to recruit mentees. Mike “Cold Front” Kurre, mentoring program coordinator at the DNR, recently told me that they are looking for first-time youth and a supporting adult to apply for a mentored youth spring turkey hunt.
The deadline for this hunt is coming soon on February 19 and application information can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/harr/youth/turkey/index.html
This hunt is in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation and intended to be an educational experience for new turkey hunters, both youth and their guardian. Only the youth is eligible to shoot but both the youth and adult will go with a mentor to hunt.
To be eligible, a youth must be between the ages of 12 and 17 by April 20, possess a Firearms Safety Certificate and have a parent, guardian, or authorized adult accompany the youth. The youth must also be a “first-time” turkey hunter.
If you are interested, go to the link above and sign-up. If you think you’d like to be a mentor down the road, contact Kurre at Michael.Kurre@state.mn.us or 651-259-5193.
Another equally fantastic opportunity exists for women over 18 interested in learning turkey hunting skills and participating in a mid-May turkey hunt. The area of the hunt this spring is limited to Hugo in the northeast metro area. The application can be downloaded at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_wildlife/outreach/mentoring/adult/women_turkey.pdf with an application deadline of February 19.
These are certainly not the only opportunities available for mentors and folks new to the outdoors. A complete run down of programs can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishwildlife/outreach/index.html or contacting Kurre.
Another great resource is the "Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons" work group which can be accessed online at www.womenhfs.org.
If you have been on one of these mentored hunts either as a mentor or mentee, please post your stories in the comments section below.
More from Ron Hustvedt
Bowfishing is a challenging style of archery hunting on the water. It improves water quality, provides an organic source of fertilizer, and is the fastest growing sport in the archery world. Give it a try at Game Fair this weekend and next.
Bear hunting expert Mike Antonson with some advice for bear hunters on using scents. Antonson will present about that and much more in a DNR seminar this week at Cabela's in Rogers.
Most bass anglers practice catch and release anyways so the Saturday Fishing Opener is the perfect time to start chasing largemouth and smallmouth. The bite is great right now and will continue to be that way throughout June and July so get out there and catch some bass.
Here are a few often overlooked details to consider when the season opens statewide on Saturday, September 6. Most of them might not make or break your early season, but they’ll definitely enhance it or help fix a persistent problem.
Plenty to see and do for young and old alike (including the dog) at Game Fair, the largest outdoors family pre-hunting event in the country.