Membership

ATA’s ‘Hunting Mentor Guide’ and ‘Field to Fork’ Curriculum Now Available

Use the latest ATA resources to learn the best ways to mentor hunters and offer ‘Field to Fork’ programs.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Hunting participation has declined since the 1980s, which concerns the archery industry, conservation organizations, and state wildlife agencies because hunters are vital to conservation. To reverse that trend, the hunting community must recruit and mentor new hunters.

That’s why the Archery Trade Association worked with the Georgia Wildlife Federation and Quality Deer Management Association to create the “Hunting Mentor Guide.” This guide helps mentors educate others about hunting’s individual benefits and its many contributions to conservation.

The ATA also worked with the GWF, QDMA and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to create the “Field to Fork: A Curriculum for Mentored Hunts” guidebook, which gives step-by-step directions for hosting mentorship programs. The guide explains how “Field to Fork” programs support and build participants’ confidence as they learn how to hunt and obtain their own meat.

Both guides were created through the ATA’s 2019 strategic planning initiative, and debuted at the 2020 ATA Trade Show. Mark Copeland, an ATA Board member and director of Jay’s Sporting Goods Inc. in Michigan, said the guides will help ATA members grow bowhunting for generations to come.

Bring a new hunter with you on your next hunt and help them develop their skills. Photo Credit: ATA

‘Hunting Mentor Guide’

Mentors help beginners learn safe, responsible bowhunting skills and tactics so they can hunt confidently and independently. Teaching someone to hunt might seem overwhelming, but mentors don’t have to be experts. If you’re nervous or uncomfortable introducing others to bowhunting, the guide offers great resources and knowledge to help nonhunters become hunters.

“The ‘Hunting Mentor Guide’ is a must-use tool to grow the industry,” Copeland said. “If we continue going to our treestands alone, the industry will die with us as we age. We need to take someone hunting. The guide is well structured, and holds your hand as you hold someone else’s hand throughout the hunting process.”

The “Hunting Mentor Guide” discusses …

– Why it’s important to mentor and create new hunters;

– How to find potential new hunters;

– Steps to start mentoring someone;

– Topics to teach a hunting mentee;

– What to do during a mentored hunt;

– Case studies that highlight successful mentoring programs;

– How to communicate with and continuously support beginners.

Host a Field to Fork event to introduce many new hunters to conservation in one big group. Photo Credit: Iowa DNR

Field to Fork: A Curriculum for Mentored Hunts

The KDFWR developed the “Field to Fork” program, which was later adapted by the GWF and QDMA. This program and others like it introduce new audiences to hunting and its skillsets. Those groups include people who want to obtain organic, free-range, ethically sourced meat. As demand grew for the program, the organizations worked with the ATA to create an easy-to-use version of the program. The partners created a curriculum to help mentors introduce beginners to hunting, and offer more hunting opportunities.

Copeland encourages ATA members already mentoring individuals to host a “Field to Fork” program, or partner with organizations to hold similar events.

“If you’re ‘the man’ or ‘the woman’ who’s already mentoring, try to create formal mentoring programs that teach others how to mentor,” Copeland said. “Either that or host a ‘Field to Fork’ program using the ATA’s curriculum book. Large-group classes and programs recruit more people into bowhunting. They also provide a social network for beginners, which helps them connect and feel more comfortable with the activity.”

The “Field to Fork” curriculum discusses …

– Why it’s important to mentor and create new hunters;

– How to obtain local food sources and secure their benefits;

– Ways to plan, market and host a formal “Field to Fork” program;

– Skills and lessons to teach new hunters;

– How to provide follow-up opportunities;

– How the program supports everyone involved.

 

Get the Free Guides

To download free digital versions of these resources, please visit archerytrade.org/mentoring.

You’ll also find helpful mentoring and recruitment resources, including recipe cards, PowerPoint presentations, a field-guide journal, and event flier templates on the ATA’s Resource Website. Log into your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the documents in the ATA’s Resource Website. Then click “Mentoring” under the “Downloads” tab in the menu bar to get the free documents. If you’ve never used the ATA’s Resource Website and you need help logging in, please email resources@archerytrade.org.

Then, mentor someone!

“Get outside and take someone with you,” Copeland said. “Share your passion, and share the sport to grow the industry. It’s simple multiplication. If we all take someone hunting, our participation numbers will double. And if they all take someone hunting, our numbers will quadruple. We need mentors as much as we need new hunters. The process for creating both groups starts with you.”

Questions? Contact Josh Gold, ATA’s senior manager of R3 and state relations, at joshgold@archerytrade.orgor (866) 266-2776, ext. 107.

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