Lincoln, NE – September 30th, 2018 – The Big Red Chapter of Pheasants Forever recently hosted 22 student participants as part of Nebraska’s first collegiate Learn to Upland Hunt event. Volunteer student mentors were paired with a student mentee participant and spent the day teaching students about firearm safety, upland hunting, and conservation ethics.
“The purpose of the day was to get college students interested in hunting and shooting sports. To show them that it’s about more than just the hunt. It’s about camaraderie and making friends. From planning the trip, going into the field, cleaning the bird then sharing it with friends, it’s about the whole experience,” stated Jordyn Koenig, president for the Big Red Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
Participants were greeted by volunteer mentors the morning of September 30th before sitting down to listen to a wildlife biologist and conservation officer presentation. After an introduction to the event from chapter volunteers, the students paired with their mentors and spent the remainder of the day learning about safe firearm handling, dog training, hunting regulations, and clay pigeon shooting. The event ended with a live hunt behind well-trained hunting dogs.
The ultimate goal of Pheasants Forever’s Mentor Hunt Program is to give participants enough knowledge and contacts to further pursue their outdoor interest beyond these one-day events. Recruitment and retention for this generation of conservationists is a priority for college volunteers – the Big Red Chapter of Pheasants Forever spearheads this initiative by mentoring young adults to become future hunters in Lancaster County, one student at a time. “Every single mentee came up to me after the hunt and expressed interest in going hunting again,” stated Koenig. “They already know when different seasons in the state open and can’t wait to go out again.”
This particular event hosted by the collegiate Pheasants Forever Chapter is the first of its kind. “The chapter stepped up to organize a well-planned event entirely run by college students, for college students,” says Marissa Jensen, PF’s Outreach and Communications Coordinator in Nebraska. “We are proud of the Big Red PF Chapter’s leadership to make an impact on recruitment and retention efforts of the R3 movement.”
Pheasants Forever and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are in the midst of hosting 55 Youth Mentor Hunts similar to this event for ages 12 to 15 and will be hosting more young adult hunts in the future. For more information and dates, please visit the Youth Mentor Hunt webpage.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 149,000 members and 725 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $784 million on 530,000 habitat projects benefiting 17 million acres nationwide.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.