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  • Writer's picturePeter Maggenti

First Hunt Foundation

The First Hunt Foundation's main emphasis is on mentoring new hunters. Mentor-based experiences can develop life-long skills and a passion for hunting. This support for hunting can be passed on to future generations of new hunters.

As Hunter Education Instructors, we help our students take the first step in the classroom. I know many instructors also have live-fire components to their classes, which is awesome, but many of us do not have access to a safe range or enough instructors to handle the safety concerns that go along with this next level of training. Most of us just have the classroom and pass on as much information and knowledge as we can in the prescribed time constraints.

After many of my classes, I ask my students if they have someone to hunt with or even plans in place to go hunting. Often, I hear that they will be hunting with their family or friends for doves, duck or deer. Occasionally I hear that they have no one, but just want to try it and don’t know where to go next. This has been distressing for me to hear. I want to really try to help those students take that step, but as one person, I can’t help them all. Those are the ones we really need to reach out to. I have in the past compiled lists of available hunts and experiences for new hunters and shared that with my classes. I even had a local pheasant club donate a 2 bird card for each of my successful students one year, and that was pretty awesome. But if they didn’t have someone to take them, they still did not get to go.

The First Hunt Foundation strives to change that. With our Mentor program, we are trying to find those ‘lost’ students and help them get started in hunting beyond the classroom. But that takes a lot of Mentors. As we all know, our time is precious, there are not enough weekends for us to hunt as much as we want just for ourselves, let alone taking someone we don’t know hunting for the first time. If some of us can take one person hunting, we can make a difference. It becomes a ripple effect, as that one person we help, now tells their story and they can move forward helping others get started in the future.

The FHF has many different programs that reach out to not only youth, but women, Veterans and First Responders as well. It doesn't always have to be a hunt either, sometimes it is just taking someone to the range and get them started shooting safely or all the way to going on a Big Game hunt and anywhere in between.

We all hear the statistics every year of the number of successful students vs. the number of new licenses sold and the numbers never match up. My goal is to get those numbers closer, get more people actually involved beyond the classroom. I have wanted to do this since I became and Instructor, and I am certain many of you feel the same way. When I heard about the First Hunt Foundation, I knew I had to get involved. I have been a mentor for three years now, and it has been incredibly satisfying to help people with the real world knowledge of hunting. I have also learned more as a teacher and mentor about what people don't know and how to effectively communicate some of those things. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor with the First Hunt Foundation, or just want to know more about FHF, please visit the website to see what we do, or reach out to me and we will be happy to help you help others beyond the classroom!

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