QDMA’s Mentored Hunting Program Produces its First Graduate

Category: press release

 May 6th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified May 6th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Bogart, Ga. – Jarrett Benoit, 12, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has become the first aspiring hunter to complete Quality Deer Management Association’s new Mentored Hunting Program (MHP), which is not a one-time hunting event but a progressive education under the guidance of a dedicated mentor. Jarrett and his official mentor – his father Jim – started the eight steps of the MHP as soon as QDMA announced the program in 2007 and completed it together in March of 2008.

“I was not brought up hunting as a kid and did not have anyone to introduce me to hunting,” said Jim, who is a former president of QDMA’s Delaware Valley Branch in southeast Pennsylvania. “I came to it about eight years ago when I discovered archery and fell in love with bowhunting. So, being Jarrett’s mentor has allowed me to give him something I wish I’d had at his age.”

The MHP is a gradual process outlined in detail for participating mentors. It involves eight major steps designed to instill basic woodsmanship skills, safety, ethics and wildlife knowledge (see the eight steps listed below). Small-game hunting serves as an exciting, low-pressure pursuit for reinforcing these skills. Actual deer hunting is one of the final steps. Jarrett tried squirrel, grouse and pheasant hunting before going deer hunting with his dad.

“The Mentored Hunting Program is not about taking kids or adults hunting, it’s about first giving them the skills, knowledge and ethics they need to become lifelong hunters,” said Kip Adams, QDMA’s Director of Education in the North.

“The way I was trying to bring Jarrett along really tied in quite nicely with the program,” said Jim. “He is really aware of the total environment. It’s not just about deer or not even just about hunting. He learned to identify important plants, and he knows about healthy ecosystems.”

“In our program, you can mentor your own child, another youth, or you can mentor another adult who is interested in hunting,” said Kip.

“One of Jarrett’s buddies from school has asked Jarrett about hunting,” said Jim. “He doesn’t have a hunting background, and neither does his dad. They’ve been through the hunter safety program together. Now, I’m going to mentor the dad, and they’re going to go through the MHP as a team.

“QDMA’s program is a good progression,” Jim continued. “Trying to go after small game first, hopefully several times, before you hit the deer woods is really important. The way the MHP puts the steps in order is terrific.”

Since the start of the MHP, numerous QDMA members have completed the application process for becoming an official QDMA mentor and are currently guiding their students through the program. To apply to become a mentor or learn more about QDMA’s Mentored Hunting Program, visit www.QDMA.com and go to the REACH page, or call (800) 209-3337.

The Eight Steps of QDMA’s Mentored Hunting Program:

* Step One: Exposes students to the program, provides background information on the QDMA and hunting, and allows the mentor and student to bond.
* Step Two: Develops basic woodsmanship skills while building a framework to become a successful and knowledgeable hunter.
* Step Three: Exposes students to formal sporting arm, archery and treestand safety training and hunter ethics and education.
* Step Four: Reinforces sporting arm and/or archery safety and develops shooting competence.
* Step Five: Involves small-game hunting because it enhances woodsmanship skills, reinforces sporting arm use and safety, lacks the pressure of a big game hunt, and is generally more exciting for beginning hunters.
* Step Six: Teaches deer biology, behavior, ecology, deer anatomy, shot placement and Quality Deer Management concepts.
* Step Seven: Involves deer hunting while the mentor reinforces safety, shot selection, management concepts and hunter ethics.
* Step Eight: Celebrates the hunt, recognizes the student as a “hunter” and serves as his/her rite of passage into the hunting community.

Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with 48,000 members in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Membership in QDMA is open to anyone interested in better deer and better deer hunting, and committed to ethical hunting, sound deer management and the preservation of the deer-hunting heritage. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call (800) 209-DEER [(800) 209-3337].

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