The Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) held its first ever Hunt Master training for volunteers in September.
The Hunt Master program is an initiative of TWF’s Youth Hunting & 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.
Chris Mitchell of the Texas Wildlife Association led the inaugural two-day training for 11 volunteers at Lone Oaks Farm in Middleton, TN. In addition to teaching the organizational aspects of putting on an event and best safety practices, the training also seeks to instill conservation principles in participants.
“By utilizing volunteers to conduct hunts, the Federation will now have the ability to execute multiple outings across the state on any given weekend, dramatically increasing our capacity to put on events,” said Program Director, J.W. Worthen. “That means hundreds, if not thousands, more young people each year will be able to have once in a lifetime experiences in the outdoors.”
Ultimately, the goal of this effort is to create the next generation of outdoorsmen and women. By cultivating a love of the outdoors and our rich hunting and fishing heritage, the program aims to give rise to future conservation leaders who will defend the North American Model of conservation.
With the initial training complete, each volunteer will finish their instruction and graduate to become a Lead Hunt Master by helping put on an event led by Federation staff for on-the-ground experience. The first event for this set of volunteers is anticipated in late fall or early winter.
Another Hunt Master class is expected for East Tennessee volunteers next spring.