Habitat & Conservation  |  04/19/2022

New Women’s Learn to Hunt Series Events

Happy hunters after their pheasant hunt, the last of five sessions in the Women’s Learn to Hunt Upland Series.

PF on the Landscape in North Dakota

Story and photo by Hannah Hayes, North Dakota Education & Outreach Coordinator

My first year as North Dakota’s Education & Outreach Coordinator was nothing short of fun and rewarding. I kept some new hunters busy this summer with two Learn to Hunt (LTH) events: a Women’s LTH Upland and a Women’s LTH Waterfowl. The series was designed to equip each mentee with the knowledge and skills needed to become independent hunters.

Each LTH was comprised of five parts. The first three parts were a wingshooting series where the mentees gained confidence behind their shotguns. Shooting instructors covered all things wingshooting, starting with gun safety and proper mounting, and ending with shooting moving targets. The LTH Waterfowl mentees learned how to shoot out of a ground blind as well as while standing and sitting. 

The fourth part was a Gear Night hosted at Scheels. Scheels associates walked each attendee through gear they may need for their respective hunting sport. The ladies in the LTH Upland learned about game vests, chaps, shooting gloves, proper hiking boots, clothing and more. The LTH Waterfowl mentees learned about waders, rubber boots, decoys, duck calls and blind bags. 

Mentees put their learned skills to use during the last part of the series: the hunt. The Women’s LTH Upland mentees got plenty of practice walking behind working dogs and shooting pheasants at Section 17 Hunting Preserve in Buffalo, North Dakota. The LTH Waterfowl mentees were paired with mentors and taken on a weekend-long waterfowl hunt. Mentees joined their mentors in the field and learned how to set out decoys, hide in the cattails, and shoot at ducks on the wing. The LTH Waterfowl mentees got to watch quality dog work when the mentors sent their dogs out to retrieve the ducks. Each mentee had the opportunity to shoot at ducks as they approached the decoys in front of them. 

For most of the mentees, this was their first hunting experience. For some, it was their first time shooting a shotgun at all. It was awesome to watch each mentee work their way through the series and gain confidence. I watched some folks go from being scared to shoot their shotguns to shooting rooster pheasants as they flushed in front of them. 

Today, I often receive texts and emails from mentees telling stories of their successful solo hunts. I plan to keep these new hunters engaged through the hunting season and beyond by planning more hunts and events for the mentees to gather and continue learning together.

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Spring Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Pheasants Forever member today!