Posts Tagged ‘FOREVER Shooting Sports’
Friday, February 8th, 2013
The past year was a record-breaking one for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever youth events.
In recent years, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters had averaged a combined 500 youth-conservation education events annually, which is a significant mark by any measure. However in 2012, PF & QF chapters reported 937 youth events – from youth mentored pheasant and quail hunts, to clay shooting events to conservation field days. A very admirable 15,000 youngsters per year had been event participants, but in 2012 that number jumped to 44,614. That’s a participation increase of nearly 200 percent!
Much of this jump can be attributed to the success of Pheasants Forever’s newly-developed “FOREVER Shooting Sports Program,” a comprehensive effort that was launched with help from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, founders of MidwayUSA. Many chapters have utilized the program to strengthen their own chapter events, while a significant number of chapters have “adopted” a local scholastic shooting team, looking to draw a more direct line between shooting sports and the world of upland habitat conservation.
While the shooting sports program has taken off, Pheasants Forever’s next youth initiative is to create a new wildlife habitat education program. Drew Larsen, formerly Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist in Nebraska, has been named the organization’s first-ever National Habitat Education Specialist. The program he develops will be designed to work with chapters across the country to involve youth in wildlife habitat projects…and ultimately create the next generation of land stewards.
To cap off this milestone year, one Pheasants Forever and one Quail Forever chapter will receive the “No Child Left Indoors® National Award” at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 16th. The distinction is presented to the chapters for their efforts in introducing youth to the outdoors and bringing along the next generation of hunters and conservationists.
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
The Nobles County Pheasants Forever chapter has a longstanding history of habitat protection, with more than 2,000 acres in the southwestern Minnesota county protected as habitat and open for public hunting because of land purchases the chapter has participated in. Now the chapter is expanding its efforts in youth conservation education under Pheasants Forever’s new “Adopt-A-Team” program.
Under the Adopt-A-Team program, a Pheasants Forever (or Quail Forever) chapter takes a local shooting team under its wing. The reason is simple – a young person with an interest in shooting is likely to have an interest in hunting and conservation, and an interest in Pheasants Forever’s wildlife habitat conservation mission. And the shooting sports are growing in popularity with youngsters. In Minnesota, for example, there were just 54 kids from three schools in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League in 2008; this year, 1,500 kids from 100 schools shot clay pigeons. In Iowa, the number of boys and girls participating in shooting sports increased 28 percent in 2012 versus 2011, with nearly 1,800 shooters and 300 volunteer coaches registered with the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
The Nobles County Pheasants Forever chapter adopted the local Worthington Trojans High School Trap Team, making a $1,000 contribution to Pheasants Forever’s FOREVER Shooting Sports Endowment. Each chapter that does this receives a package of five Remington guns, which are given to the selected shooting team for them to raffle off in the hopes of raising at least $5,000. As part of the endowment, Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA match three-to-one whatever each team raises ($5,000 becomes $20,000), and teams are allowed to draw up to 5 percent from their fund annually to cover expenses like uniforms, ammo, clay birds, etc.
Instead of raising just $5,000, the Worthington team went door to door and business to business in their community, raising donations and selling tickets for the raffle. When the last ticket was sold, the team notified John Linquist, Pheasants Forever’s FOREVER Shooting Sports National Coordinator, that they had raised more than $18,000. With the generous Potterfield match, the team will have a trust deposit of over $72,000, meaning it can draw more than $3,500 per year to keep the team functioning.
Considering the strong nature of the local Pheasants Forever chapter, it’s no surprise the high school team rolled up their blaze orange sleeves and set to work raising money to ensure the program continues not only through their graduation, but the next generation’s.
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Pheasants Forever launched its new FOREVER Shooting Sports program this past July. We are excited about the potential of this new program because we know it’s a good addition to our No Child Left Indoors® initiative.
Shooting is a great way to get kids and their families involved and girls enjoy it as much as boys. Did you know it’s a sport seeing actual growth in numbers? It’s not only fun; it teaches participants how to handle guns safely. There are lots of good shooting programs out there and we don’t want to re-invent the wheel, just provide additional opportunities.
For the first year, the program is targeting five states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters in these states will be able to apply for grants to start recreational shooting programs. In some of the states, chapters will enlist the help of scholastic clay coaches and teams to mentor new shooters. There are guidelines that need to be followed including helping other chapters and providing youth leadership opportunities. What we would really like to do is form shooting or conservation clubs where young people can shoot regularly and also be involved in other fun outdoor activities. We believe that repeated opportunities and good mentors are what make a difference between an occasional shooter and a future dedicated outdoors person and conservationist.
All of our chapters can apply for ammunition grants that will pay for half of the ammunition at a shooting event. We truly have an opportunity to help our chapters grow and offer fun events in their communities. It’s so important to get our kids involved in something that helps them interact with others and gets them away from computers and television. I think this just might do that for many.
What shooting experiences – plinking, competing or mentoring – are you involved in?