More resources to help young hunters

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Keith McCafferty

More resources to help young hunters

[BRACKET "Mentor Programs:"]
Volunteer hunting buddies
Single-parent families and overworked couples often have a hard time making room on their calendars to take kids into the field. And some youngsters with the hunting gene are born to nonhunting families or ones that can't afford the sport. Mentors are the answer-adult hunters who volunteer to teach a child to shoot and hunt.

Field Trips
Members of sportsmen's clubs and state chapters of national conservation organizations will often bring young hunters into the field. For example, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission partners with the Great Plains Houndsmen to take city kids rabbit hunting with beagles.

Hunting Partners
A growing number of groups are matching kids to mentors for more than a single hunt. The state of Alabama's Share the Wonder and South Carolina's Take One, Make One programs pair adults with young hunters for year-round participation in hunting, fishing, and the shooting sports. Big Brothers Big Sisters has joined with some state wildlife agencies, Pheasants Forever, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to form Pass It On, which hooks interested kids up with "Bigs" who can take them hunting, fishing, and camping.

(Check with your DNR or contact local chapters of national groups through their headquarters. Pheasants Forever: 877-773-2070; pheasantsforever.org. National Wild Turkey Federation: 800-843-6983; nwtf.org. Ducks Unlimited: 800-453-8257; ducks.org. Quail Unlimited: 803-637-5731; qu.org. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: 800-225-5355; elkfoundation.org. Delta Waterfowl: 888-987-3695; deltawaterfowl.org.)