Explore Bowhunting Prepares for Nationwide Campaign
New Ulm, Minn. –-(Ammoland.com)- As Explore Bowhunting wraps up its two-year pilot phase, its coordinators are preparing to offer this innovative program to beginner bowhunters around the country.
During the past two years, Explore Bowhunting worked with a $266,000 Multistate Conservation Grant from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) to collaborate with states on testing, modifying and implementing the program.
“The goal of the grant was to test the Explore Bowhunting curriculum, get feedback from students and teachers, and see how states implemented it in urban and suburban settings,” said Emily Beach, ATA education and research manager. “They helped us fine-tune the program and learn the best ways to implement it in other states. It’s been a great success, and now the ATA is ready to launch it on a national scale in 2012.”
The AFWA grant was conceived to implement Explore Bowhunting in six states, but eight states will already be operating the program by the end of this year. The states with Explore Bowhunting now in place are Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia and Kentucky. Alabama and Missouri will launch the program this fall.
In addition to the AFWA grant, Explore Bowhunting received extensive support from 37 archery manufacturers that signed on as sponsors. This included Pape’s Archery Inc., which served as the warehouse and distributor for equipment donated by manufacturers for Explore Bowhunting.
“The sponsors and Pape’s were extremely generous in helping ATA launch the pilot programs,” Beach said. “The equipment donations of bows, arrows, calls, clothing and other gear exceeded $50,000, so this was a great example of industry teamwork. We let the sponsors know what equipment we needed for the program, and Pape’s shipped everything at no charge.”
Beach said the 74 Explore Bowhunting pilot sessions will have trained 245 instructors and sent about 2,500 students through the program by the end of 2011. About 120 instructors were trained this summer alone. The programs were held in middle schools and high schools through in-school and after-school programs, as well as park-and-recreation departments, church groups, scouts, summer camps, state programs, archery retailers and home-schools.
Beach said the ATA looks forward to launching Explore Bowhunting nationally in the months ahead. “The pilot program served its purpose because, as expected, implementing a program is more difficult than writing it,” she said. “We learned a lot of important lessons the past couple of years, which should make us very efficient as we work with more states implementing the program.”
The Archery Trade Association created Explore Bowhunting – a comprehensive outdoor educational program – in response to the decline in hunting and fishing licenses sold nationwide. Explore Bowhunting is designed to recruit youngsters ages 11 to 17 into hunting by teaching basic skills needed for bowhunting, photography, and watching and enjoying wildlife and the outdoors.