A commentary by Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sport coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.
For many of us in Wisconsin, fall is the best time of year. The days are shorter, temperatures can be crisp, and the skies a brilliant blue.
Geese are migrating, deer are beginning to get into the fall pre-rut patterns, and I know I'll be making firewood for the winter.
It may be high summer now, but fall is a few short weeks away and now is the time to be thinking about how you will fit a Learn to Hunt (LTH) opportunity into the busy fall.
I'll be hosting one in late September in the Madison area.
A LTH can be the perfect way to for a novice to experience their first hunt. Maybe your neighbor down the block is interested. Or, what about your children's friends? There are many ways to foster new hunting experiences, and now is the time to start planning.
Get to your club or chapter and start brainstorming about how you can build on what you did last year, or start something entirely new. Can you reach out beyond the regular hunting "choir" to introduce someone new? Someone who would not get the chance to hunt any other way? That will really go a long way to making a new hunter.
Last year the goal was 2,000 new Learn to Hunt participants. We made it. The final tally was 2,136 participants, a 23 percent increase.
That is a solid, grass roots effort to pass along the hunting tradition.
We're still working toward a goal of one Learn to Hunt event in every county, but last year there were events in 60 counties - a large increase over 2010. The challenge this year is to build numbers in each county. Let's try to add another five percent this fall and next spring.
You can design your own unique Learn to Hunt. How about a family Learn to Hunt outing? Focus on bringing the whole family out to the field and sharing our tradition and knowledge with them.
Remember, if you're hosting a LTH pheasant, sponsors can get free pheasants from the DNR game farm for the event.
For more information on all your LTH needs, go to the DNR home page and search keyword "LTH."
I know you'll take pride and step up again. As you already know, the future of hunting is up to us - those of us who hunt. Let's get in the game.
For more information contact: Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sport coordinator, at email@example.com