By Bruce Urben, President
In July of 2008 I discussed the idea of sponsoring a youth waterfowl Learn to Hunt event with WWA’s Green Bay Chapter volunteers. The idea was met with open arms and the meeting concluded with planning for the first “Learn to Hunt: Goose” program in Wisconsin. With the help of WDNR’s conservation warden, Ben Treml (now Northeast Region Warden Supervisor), we were off and running. Six youth participated in that first event held at Pittsfield Trap Club, just miles from the greater Green Bay area on October 24-25th, 2008. Since 2008, well over 100 youth and young adults have gone through this program. Recently, several youth participants have returned as mentors to the program, a 360 degree return on our investment!
Fast forward to October 12-13, 2018 and the 10th anniversary of Green Bay Chapter’s “Learn to Hunt Waterfowl” program at Pittsfield Trap Club. This year we had youth (youngest was 9 years old), young adults and one adult (along with parents) attend WWA’s only Learn to Hunt program in the state. In fact, one adult participant was from the Milwaukee area!
The classroom presentations have changed slightly since 2008, but still focus on safety training by WDNR certified Hunter Safety instructors (one of which has been with us for all 10 years – Jeremy VanSistine), waterfowl identification and ecology by Dr. Jacob Straub from UW Stevens Point and hunter ethics and legal requirements by WDNR Region Warden Supervisor Ben Treml.
The balance of the training was done when the attendees were paired with their assigned mentors and certified shotgun shooting instructors and shooting practice began at the trap Club range. Clay targets were their quarry on Friday night from a boat on inner tubes, layout blinds and other positions which they would encounter on their next morning’s scheduled mentored hunt. Again, firearm safety was the focus of all training provided. Gift bags were distributed to the students, which included duck or goose calls, lanyards, hats, face paint and other goodies. By 9:00 pm, all of our students and mentors were off with high expectations for Saturday’s EARLY morning mentored hunt.
The program concluded on Saturday back at the Trap Club with a lunch donated by local sponsors and GB Chapter members, along with demonstrations on waterfowl game cleaning and preparation and cleaning of their firearm. Recipes from some of our seasoned mentors were also shared. Certificates were distributed to all participants and the 10th annual WWA Learn to Hunt Waterfowl was a fond memory to all involved.
A special thank you to the sponsors for this event, including Kay Distributing, Super Ron’s Super Market, Wouters Sports Bar and Grill, Hansen’s Pizza and Pittsfield Trap Club for use of their facility. Of course, this event would not be possible without the volunteers from WWA’s Green Bay Chapter and all the mentors who gave up a weekend of hunting to participate in this event; we couldn’t do it without you.
If you are interested in attending this event in 2019, get your reservation in early as there is already a sign up list established. You can contact me to sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 920-660-2773. There is no cost to attend this event.