For Immediate Release
March 22, 2022
TWA’s Adult Mentored Hunting Program Celebrates Successes
New Braunfels – Celebrating another successful and safe hunting season, the Texas Wildlife Association’s (TWA) Adult Mentored Hunting Program (AMHP) welcomed over 50 new, first-time adult hunters into the fraternity of ethical hunting this year. “Through our new hunting heritage initiative ‘H2’, we’re combining our existing long-term programs with several new ones into one focused, integrated effort to educate Texans across the board and help funnel them into the field through mentored hunting opportunities,” said David Brimager, TWA’s Director of Public Relations and a Certified Wildlife Biologist®. This past season TWA was also proud to partner with Spoke Hollow Outfitters to help increase the program’s reach across Texas.
“For decades, we’ve gained knowledge and laid the foundation. Now, we’re building on our past success and expanding our efforts to reach and recruit novice adults. While hunting’s rising approval numbers likely can be attributed to a number of things, it coincides with the rise of the locavore movement, an interest in local, natural, sustainable food including meat. Food doesn’t get any more natural or sustainable than wild game,” Brimager said.
Adult mentored hunting grew naturally out of TWA’s unique Hunt to Table Dinners. “An interest in game and sustainable food literally brought newcomers to the table,” said Kristin Parma, TWA Engagement Coordinator. “Offering them an opportunity to experience the age-old tradition of hunting in a safe, mentored environment was a logical next step.” In fact, the first Adult Mentored Hunt took place in 2017 on the heels of the first Hunt to Table Dinner. The hunt, with six participants, was patterned after the successful model pioneered through the Texas Youth Hunting Program.
The TWA AMHP hunts are typically four days long and hosted on TWA member ranches. Hunters have the opportunity to see the results of voluntary stewardship first-hand on private ranches that they might not have access to otherwise. While each hunt is unique, they follow a basic framework. The first day is spent on the shooting range where hunters not only hone their skills under the watchful eyes of experienced volunteers, but learn and practice marksmanship, shot placement, and safety as well as the principles of ethical hunting and shooting. As the day winds down, the group gathers for an orientation and a wild game dinner. Every meal features wild game as the goal is to demonstrate the versatility of wild game as a protein.
After each hunting excursion, hunters and their mentors return to camp to clean and process their game. “The proper processing, storage and preparation of game is a big focus of the experience because it’s a primary interest of this group of novice hunters,” Brimager said. “Most of the novice adults don’t have a problem with the idea of harvesting an animal and are excited to hunt, but the ‘what happens after I pull the trigger’ is a barrier to entry for many people. We remove the barrier by giving them the necessary skills through hands-on experience.”
Hunters and guides embark for the blinds daily culminating on Saturday night with dinner and campfire. Here, participants and guides gather to share stories, experiences, and the camaraderie that make hunting such a treasured tradition for so many. The true heritage of hunting—the relationships, the stewardship, the respect for the land and the wildlife—becomes apparent around the campfire.
While the program continues to grow, its goals remain clear and personal for the staff and volunteers. “Our goal is using our expertise to provide novice hunters with safe, legal, ethical hunts that involve them and give them fun and exciting first experiences on beautiful ranches,” Brimager said. “Through this initial experience, we want to draw them into our proud hunting heritage and hopefully make it a lifelong passion for them just as it is for us.”
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