Saint Paul, Minn. – November 13, 2008 – The results are in from Minnesota’s most highly-anticipated autumn event, and we’re not talking about the U.S. Senate race. The first-ever Pheasants Forever (PF) special mentored youth hunt, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR), allowed 200 youth the opportunity to experience a safe, high-quality outdoor experience.
The mentored youth hunt took place on October 25th. The DNR set up the structure for the hunt and promoted it, while PF chapter members served as mentors and organized the individual events. Forty Minnesota PF chapters participated in the event. Youth with valid firearms safety certificates, ages 12-17, applied and were selected through an earlier drawing. Mentors from PF chapters throughout Minnesota were paired with youth hunters and their guardians. After scouting places to hunt and securing landowner permission when necessary, mentors and participants took to the field.
Jake Anderson, who hunted with the Dodge County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, echoed the comments of many youths saying, “Pheasants are big and look slow, but they are really, really fast.” He added, “I had a great time!”
“Though not every youngster bagged a bird, they did bag proper techniques and tactics, and most importantly, a safe experience,” said Scott Roemhildt, PF Regional Representative in Southern Minnesota, “Our goal is to build on this first statewide mentored youth hunt. In fact, we hope some of the 200 youth become mentors in future events to continue the tradition.”
“All I can say is ‘Wow!'” said Mike Kurre, Hunting & Angling Mentoring Program Coordinator with the DNR, “What a great job of introducing youth to the outdoors.” Kurre, who was with the Stearns County Chapter of PF during the hunt, saw first-hand the impact the hunt had on everyone involved. “What a great group of dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable pheasant hunters, mentors and landowners,” he said of the chapter, “It was truly a great day for everybody.” He added, “We hope to have another hunt next year that is even better than our 2008 hunt!”
The PF mentored youth hunt is also an example of how PF is furthering its No Child Left Indoors® initiative. This new initiative is part of a national movement aimed at getting youth unplugged from electronics and turned on to the outdoors, nature and wildlife. The No Child Left Indoors® initiative is carried out through youth habitat projects, youth and family community events and youth outdoor education programs hosted by PF chapters and volunteers across the country.
Minnesota’s 76 PF chapters account for over 23,000 members statewide. Those chapters have spent more than $33.7 million to complete almost 22,000 habitat projects since the first Minnesota PF chapter was formed in 1982. Those projects have benefited more than 184,000 acres for wildlife. PF applies a unique and successful model of empowering local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100% of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. PF is the only national conservation organizations to employ this unique locally-driven chapter model.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 129,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.
For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit www.PheasantsForever.org.