Learning to hunt may seem out of reach for those who didn’t grow up with hunting as part of their family tradition. For those individuals, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) created an Adult Mentored Hunting Program (AMH) to teach about consumptive outdoor recreation, put wild game on the dinner table and potentially revive or initiate that family tradition.
A variety of interests can spark a non-hunter’s desire to hunt. For Connie Chow of Madison, Alabama, it was her experience attending last year’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) event that lead to her first hunt through the AMH program.
“While at BOW, I witnessed the excitement of a squirrel hunt,” Chow said. “The experience seemed so exciting and rewarding for the hunters that I wanted to take part in a hunt at some point. The self-sufficiency that comes with hunting was very appealing.”
Like others who take part in Alabama’s AMH program, outdoors recreation was not a regular part of Chow’s childhood. She had been fishing and camping a few times, but never hunting.
“The Adult Mentored Hunting program was an excellent introduction to hunting in an encouraging atmosphere,” she said. “You not only learn about hunting but also about conservation, nature and wildlife. My family was also able to join me for some of the activities. It was a chance to introduce them to some of the experiences as well.”
Chow put the hunting skills she learned at an AMH workshop to good use on the first day of her mentored hunt when she harvested a buck using a crossbow.
“The different components of the program give someone who is completely new to hunting the chance to learn new skills then apply them immediately,” she said. “The experience has definitely made me interested in exploring more outdoor activities like fishing, camping and clay target shooting.”
Chow will utilize her new hunting skills again this fall during a dove hunt on WFF’s Portland Landing Special Opportunity Hunting Area in Dallas County, Alabama.
To be eligible to attend a three-day Adult Mentored Hunt for deer or turkey, participants must be at least 19 years of age, possess a valid driver’s license and be new to hunting or have limited hunting experience. Participants must also attend at least one daylong AMH workshop to be eligible for a three-day hunt. After attending a workshop, participants will be notified by email if they have been randomly selected to participate in an AMH hunt.
The daylong AMH workshops will take place throughout the state this fall. The workshops provide participants with an opportunity to learn hunting basics, firearm safety and handling, where to hunt, and the equipment and gear needed. The workshops will conclude with a small game hunt. The necessary equipment and gear will be made available at no cost to the participants.
The first workshop of 2020 will take place at the Autauga Wildlife Management Area near Prattville, Alabama, on October 3. This workshop will focus on how to hunt deer with archery equipment.
As a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workshop participants and WFF staff are required to wear a facial covering and maintain a distance of 6 feet from others when possible. Participants are not required to wear a facial covering while hunting.
There is a $20 registration fee for the AMH workshops. Online registration for the workshops is currently open. To register, visit www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/adult-mentored-hunting-program.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.