Thursday, May 27, 2021

Six-month program teaches Iowans how to bow hunt for deer

(Radio Iowa) - Registration is now open for the Field To Fork Deer Hunting Program which takes Iowans with zero hunting skills and teaches them to use a compound bow to hunt and kill white-tailed deer. Jamie Cook, the program's coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says students will also learn how to field dress the animal and cook venison. Cook notes, it takes a commitment.

"The program does go on about six months," Cook says. "What we've learned over time is, with hunting, being a pretty serious life skill, it takes a while to develop and in order to really get to the point where you enjoy it and you're willing to build confidence, it does take that amount of time."

For Iowans who want to tackle the challenge of bow hunting as a means of sourcing their own protein or red meat, Cook says the program provides the opportunity to learn what it takes to do it all yourself.

"Beginning this summer, our participants will start shooting at a local archery range," Cook says. "They'll get some help from professional and hobby archers that can give them tips to increase their proficiency. During the summer we'll also be sending them some books to read, some chapters, some weekly homework assignments."

There will also be a series of videos to watch that focus on bow hunting skills and hunting deer in particular. As summer progresses, students will learn basic strategies for hunting deer including the proper equipment, where to hunt, safe shooting practices and tree stand placement.

"As we get close to deer season in the fall, we'll have a couple of workshop days or field days where they'll come out and learn to do a blood trail, they'll learn to shoot from a tree stand," Cook says. "We'll make sure their proficiency is good, and by that point we'll also have a mentor available for them, and from there, they get to hunt on their own schedules."

The course will be hosted in Adel, Altoona and Council Bluffs and is geared for participants 21 and older. The cost is $238.50 which includes tags, licenses, books and archery loaner equipment. The program is part of a national effort to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters due to the overall decline in hunting and outdoor recreation.

You can register for the course here.

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