ABAC has been hosting “Learn-to-Hunt,” as an interactive and hands-on experience that teaches students the basics of becoming an active hunter. The Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) has chosen ABAC as the pilot institution for the program. If all goes well with this test, the GWF will consider expanding the program to other colleges.
Parker Gerdes, Campus R3 Coordinator, has been spearheading the movement on the ground: “There haven’t really been any efforts before to try to recruit college-age students into the program, and since there’s been a decline in hunters, they’re trying to get more students interested this way.”
On Feb. 2, about a dozen participants and mentors met in the YOW front lot before signing a waiver and then carpooling to the land of an ABAC Alumnus. Once there, instructors went through the basics of gun safety and trigger discipline. Following an inspection and dry firing of the pump-action shotgun, the students would be using—Dr. Vanessa Lane and an assistant set up small targets in a patch of woods. Once all students had gotten the opportunity to dry fire, all participants live fired until they hit a target.
ABAC was chosen because “we’re big into the Natural Resource Program and following a pilot study at UGA, we were one of the first colleges that attracted it,” Gerdes continues, “we’re located near the Georgia Wildlife Federation so location-wise, we’re a good place to start.”
On Feb. 7, Dr. Vanessa Lane led “Squirrel Biology and Hunting Strategy,” a three-hour course in YOW 103 on the two types of squirrels they would be hunting: the gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. The class was also used as a refresher on gun safety, as well as a look at the land for their first evening hunt, which took place Feb. 9 at Chickasawhatchee Wildlife Management Area in Calhoun County.
Gerdes hopes that with a good experience, “they may be able to continue it at ABAC and then reach out to other colleges as well. It’s something to be excited about.”