Thanks to the help of local community organizations and landowners, kids, families and adult women new to the outdoors have unique opportunities to acquire skills related to hunting and fishing.

Applications are currently being accepted for two mentored hunting and fishing programs based in the Big Horn Basin.

“The programs, called Wood River Deer Hunt and Outdoor University, offer those new to the outdoors an opportunity to experience hunting and fishing with the support of qualified mentors,” said Tara Hodges, Information and Education Specialist with Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Applicants accepted into the program are paired with an experienced mentor who helps the participant through all aspects of learning in activities ranging from fly fishing, firearms handling, upland game bird hunting or deer hunting.”

“We are looking for kids ages 12 and up and their parents or adult women who are interested in learning about hunting and fishing or sharpening their outdoor skills,” Hodges said. “Each program focuses on specific skills and offers participants a different experience.”

Starting this spring, participants in Outdoor University will learn the essentials of fly fishing and, throughout the summer and fall, have the opportunity to develop a mastery of shotgun basics. The program culminates with a mentored pheasant hunt alongside experienced dog handlers. Application deadline for Outdoor University is April 14.

Participants of the Wood River Deer Hunt begin their journey learning and practicing safe handling of firearms at a range day in June, followed by a simulated hunting event in August. Finally, participants will take to the fields of the Wood River Valley west of Meeteetse in September to try to fill their first white-tailed deer doe license. Application deadline for Wood River Deer Hunt is April 30.

Local sponsors and organizations donated most of the equipment and costs associated with participation. Participants will be responsible for the costs for any necessary licenses and stamps.

Wood River Deer Hunt and Outdoor University are part of a collaborative, community-based G&F initiative called #WYHUNTFISH. The vision of the program is to engage and connect local organizations with each other to develop ethical and responsible sportspersons through hunting or angling mentoring programs while building long-term relationships between new hunters and experienced hunters.

Program partners include the First Hunt Foundation, Wyoming Outdoorsmen, East Yellowstone Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Cody Shooting Complex, private landowners and G&F.

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