Beyond the classroom

Its’ like… being in line for a Disneyland ride!” declared Byron, age 17 from Farmington, New Mexico.

Another hunter Aiden, 14 years old from Albuquerque stated: “That was very exhilarating!” A testimonial from another youth hunter who participated on the hunt. All hunt participants indicated that they learned a lifetime of new skills, especially when it came to locating, stalking and field dressing an animal. They were all motivated to continue to hunt again and planned on purchasing and applying for hunting draw permits in the next license year.

Most likely when you think of hunter education, you think of sitting in a classroom listening to an instructor talk, participating in some activities, watching a few videos and taking a test. But for several New Mexico students, hunter education goes way beyond that final test.

Getting a 100% on both the written and practical tests gives youth graduates an entry into a special draw for a fall pronghorn or elk hunt. Private landowners donate tags to the graduates; the learning experience is further enhanced by experienced guides.

Check out this video highlighting the holistic approach that allows hunter education graduates to apply what they learned. This hunt provided the classroom-extension component that enabled these first-time hunters to go afield on an escorted hunt and test their newly learned skills with their mentor. This experience additionally offered the chance to learn new skills one can only obtain while actively hunting a big game animal. The hunt wrapped up with a simple field-to-fork opportunity to share stories of the day and enjoy the tenderloin.

Follow a youth hunter education graduate and his sister on their first hunt in pursuit of pronghorn on the plains of northeastern New Mexico. Experience this unique hunting opportunity with him from glassing up pronghorn, to stalking and creeping up within shooting distance on a herd.

About Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer Morgan is the Hunter Education Coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.