Foundation commits $13,000 to introduce women and youth to hunting

The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida recently announced a $13,000 grant to the National Wild Turkey Federation – Gator Gobblers to introduce more women and youth to hunting. In addition to getting participants outside at the Little Orange Creek Preserve in Hawthorne, FL, the project will include education on gun safety and land management for game species.

Up to 100 new hunters will learn all aspects of hunting and have a chance to harvest their first animal in a safe environment. To ensure that environment, 40 acres of slash pine plantation will be converted to a healthy, diverse groundcover of multiple species of native grasses for the benefit of wild turkey and northern bobwhite quail, and the insect species those species depend on for food, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation. “This grant will help us continue our initiative of ‘Save the habitat. Save the Hunt,’ which focuses on wildlife habitat conservation and restoration as well as create new hunters through mentored hunting events. These events are designed to pass on the traditions of safe, ethical hunting and teach conservation principals,” said president Missie Schneider.

Tanner, 10, and his father, Joe, celebrate Tanner’s first Osceola turkey.

The overall goal of the grant is for new audiences to gain an appreciation for the connection between well-managed wildlife habitat, game species and conservation efforts. Hunting provides an essential funding source for conservation work, and hunting is the most important and effective tool for keeping populations of deer and other game animals – including non-native, destructive wild pigs – in balance. By leasing lands for hunting, hunters provide an important economic incentive for farmers and other private landowners to manage their lands for wildlife.

The number of Americans who hunt has dropped sharply as older generations of hunters retire from hunting. Too few younger people are taking their place, leading to significant ecological and economic issues. “We’re committed to getting people outdoors and preserving our outdoor heritage,” said foundation president and CEO Andrew Walker. “This project is an important step in exposing new audiences, including the next generation of conservationists, to hunting. We’re pleased to partner with the National Wild Turkey Federation.”

Grant funding came from the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” license plate, which includes an image of a deer. $25 from each purchase of the deer tag supports protection and management of lands open to public hunting, hunting safety programs and training in archery and other shooting sports for women and men of all ages and backgrounds.

About the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the foundation has raised and donated $36 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education. More information can be found at wildlifeflorida.org.

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