From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
-- In an effort to get more families afield, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have launched a promotional campaign to make people aware of youth and family hunting opportunities.
Minnesota's hunter recruitment and retention program is recognized nationally for its progressive work to reduce barriers to hunting participation and create new hunting opportunities.
The program, working through the state Legislature, has reduced youth hunting license prices, reduced the minimum draw weight requirement for archery hunting, and created an Apprentice Hunter Validation Program that allows a one-year exemption from firearms safety training under certain safe hunting conditions.
The DNR has added mentored hunts for deer, waterfowl, and pheasant for youth and women. and exempted youth from the spring turkey hunting lottery. The DNR has also implemented statewide youth antlerless deer privileges and an early youth deer hunting season.
Minnesota was one of four state programs selected by the NSSF to participate in this effort. Other states participating are Arizona, Oregon and Nebraska.
The NSSF Families Afield philosophy focuses on reducing barriers to hunting participation, particularly among existing and potential youth hunters, according to Melissa Shilling, NSSF recruitment and retention manager. "Minnesota's pioneering work and evolving programs are a perfect fit for NSSF's focus."
NSSF's three-pronged support includes:
. A general marketing and awareness campaign designed to encourage parents or guardians to take their youth hunting with special emphasis on recent changes in regulations and newly created opportunities that make this easier than ever.
. A direct mail marketing campaign to individuals who have utilized Minnesota's innovative Apprentice Hunter Validation Program in an effort to increase the number of these individuals that go on to complete firearms safety training.
. Funding to provide equipment to instructor teams teaching the new all-day range and field day as part of the DNR's new online Hunter Education and Firearms Safety Training Program.