During three damp, cool December days, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) hosted its Youth Hunting and Fishing program’s inaugural Hunt Master Youth Deer Hunt. However, the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.
Nine Tennessee youth arrived at the West Tennessee farms of Dr. Jack Gayden and Dr. David Sloas on Friday, December 2 for a full weekend of primitive camping, cooking, bonding with family, making new friends, and deer hunting.
The youth are participants in the Federation’s Scholastic Clay Target Program and have completed Hunter’s Safety training. To hunt, they were also required to obtain a hunting license and a marksmanship certification showing 100 percent accuracy at 100 yards.
Of the nine who attended, six had never hunted deer before and two had never hunted at all. In addition to deer hunting, the kids – aged 10 to 15 – learned other valuable skills like primitive camping, blood trail tracking, deer aging, and the concept of “field to table.” By the end of the weekend, eight deer were harvested. A portion of the harvested deer were donated to the Hunters for the Hungry program.
The Hunt Master program is an initiative of TWF’s Youth Hunting and Fishing Program to engage volunteers in an effort to maximize hunting and fishing opportunities for youth across the state. Based on a model developed by the Texas Wildlife Association, volunteers are trained to safely conduct one, two, or three-day hunting or fishing events for youth and their parents. This past inaugural weekend, nine new Hunt Masters completed their certification and are now able to lead hunts on their own.
TWF would like to thank Federation volunteers, Dr. Gayden and Dr. Sloas, who generously donated their properties for the hunt, Gander Mountain, the Tennessee National Guard, and Peg Leg Porker for their sponsorships.
For more information about TWF’s Youth Hunting and Fishing Program, to become a Hunt Master, or to allow property to be used for future hunts, contact Matt Simcox at 615-353-1133 or visit TWF Youth Hunts.