Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors announced today a partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to pilot a program to engage high school and college trap shooters in hunting activities. Based on the Shooting Sports Outreach Program that Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors launched in Kansas in 2019, the pilot program will engage student athletes from at least 15 different Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) teams, both college and high school, in dove, pheasant and waterfowl hunts.
“In 2019, Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors hosted 89 hunts involving over 220 youth from 44 different high schools across Kansas. We are looking forward to piloting this effort in Iowa this fall,” said Brittany Waldman, Director of Field Operations for Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors.
“We recently surveyed several hundred of our student athletes, their parents, and their coaches regarding current interest and past participation in hunting. Even though 86% of our student athletes who responded indicated they come from a household that has hunted, only 53% of those surveyed have hunted themselves in the past year. This leaves us with a significant opportunity to provide quality mentored experiences in hopes to pique their interest in giving hunting a try. Even though we plan to pilot this effort with only a handful of our college and student athletes in 2020, our hope is to expand the program offerings across the state in subsequent years,” said Megan Wisecup, Iowa DNR Hunter Education Administrator.
In Iowa, there are approximately 4,000 student athletes participating in SCTP. This partnership will focus on giving these student athletes opportunities to hunt that they might not otherwise experience.
“Almost all of these youth have taken hunter education and have learned one of the basic skills needed to hunt,” Brittany said. “Our goal is to increase their interest and motivation to hunt by providing as many different hunting opportunities as we possibly can.”
Brittany further indicated that, “Our goals with this new effort are to 1) recruit new hunters by giving those who don’t currently hunt opportunities to pursue upland game, waterfowl, turkey and deer; 2) retain current hunters by giving those youth trap shooters and their parents who are currently hunters the opportunity to engage in more hunting activities; and 3) to reactivate parents and coaches who want to participate in these hunting activities. This model can be applied to numerous different cohorts in hopes to inspire others to have a passion for hunting and fishing.”
To accomplish this, Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors and the IA DNR plan to partner with local chapters of NGO’s and private landowners to provide access and volunteers and mentors who assist with the events. IA DNR will be surveying the coaches, parents and student athletes to establish a baseline of hunting participation and interest over the coming months. Pre- and post-hunt surveys and follow-up surveys with be used to measure the impact of the program and to provide the data needed to adjust and improve the program going forward.