News from around the nation about our favorite sport!
- National Rifle Association and the National Youth Hunting Association Team up to connect more Youth in the Outdoors!
- National Youth Hunting Association in the USA Today newspaper
- Spring Youth Turkey Hunts
- Blind Youth Dream Hunt of a Lifetime
- Sportsman’s Warehouse
- NYHA Growth
National Rifle Association & the National Youth Hunting Association Team up to connect more Youth in the Outdoors!
As part of the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge Mid-America Expansion Project, the NRA held a Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) event at the Tri-County Rod and Gun Club in Bonner Springs Kansas on October 2nd 2010. The National Youth Hunting Association (NYHA) and more than 20 local youth participated in the event in what turned out to be a major success! Spearheaded by Steve Letcher and countless volunteers, this event was a great step in the launch of the new Mid-America YHEC expansion project, sponsored by Midway USA.
“Recognized as the most comprehensive youth hunting program anywhere in North America, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) is NRA’s “graduate studies” program in outdoor skills and safety training for young hunters.” The National Youth Hunting Association strives to provide youth increased visibility to national level groups such as the NRA and the YHEC program to preserve and promote the future of our hunting and shooting heritage.
“At the NYHA, we recognize that the future of all hunting, shooting sports, wildlife and habitat conservation resides in our youth, thus it is critical to our mission to provide them with a nationally focused youth organization and expose them to other nationally focused partner organizations at a young age” says NYHA President Jack W. Moore. “We don’t simply introduce youth to the outdoors, we keep them involved through our National Youth Private Land Access Program, our National Youth Conservation Coalition and other programs offered by supportive organizations in the US. Working together with world-class organizations like the NRA is key to supporting the future of our outdoor sports.”
We at the NYHA strongly encourage all youth to get their basic hunter education certification as soon as they meet the age requirements for their state. We also strongly encourage youth to take it to the next level and participate in one of the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge programs, including state and national competitions. Finally, we encourage our nation’s youth to stay involved by joining the NYHA and the tens of thousands of other like-focused youth in America that are passionate about our outdoor sports.
For more information on Hunter Education Training or to find a Hunter Education Class near you, visit the IHEA’s website at www.IHEA.com. For more information on the NRA and the Youth Hunter Education Challenge Program, visit their website at www.nrahq.org/hunting/yhec. “Outdoor education and hunter safety training is an absolutely essential building block to start youth in the hunting and shooting sports. However, if we do not provide them consistent opportunity to apply that training in the field, the interest and skills will be lost, as will our hunting, shooting sports and hands-on conservation by the generation of tomorrow.” - Jack W. Moore – Founder and President of the National Youth Hunting Association
National Youth Hunting Association in the USA Today newspaper
When John Adams, writer for the Great Falls Tribune newspaper in Great Falls Montana and Montana USA Today news correspondent, was looking for supportive information for his November article in the USA Today newspaper on youth hunting, his first call was to the National Youth Hunting Association. John was researching information to support a story about Montana opening one of their first ever youth only hunting seasons when he looked up ‘Youth Hunting’ on the internet. At the top of his search results was the National Youth Hunting Association; a nationally focused youth organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the future of our outdoor sports through our nation’s youth. With more than 3.3 Million daily readers, the USA Today newspaper is widely known as the largest newspaper in circulation to newsstands, hotels chains and other locations in the United States. To read the full story on youth hunting in Montana and “Young Hunters Take to the Wild”, see his article at: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20101102/younghunters02_st.art.htm.
Spring Youth Turkey Hunts
Ahh...spring! The time when we get out into the woods, smell the fresh spring air and hear the turkey’s gobbling while we’re hunting morel mushrooms and deer sheds! What an exciting time of year! We have hundreds of youth turkey hunts going on this spring with a number of private land turkey opportunities that will open up in between now and turkey season in your state. Some of these hunts may will be filmed for our " NYHA Youth Hunting The Country" DVD and some may air on national outdoor TV! If you"re a member of the NYHA and need an opportunity in your state, contact us and we will notify you with openings as they come up. If you’re not an NYHA member and would like to join so that you have access to thousands of acres of private property for hunting and shooting, join now and get in on the fun with thousands of other youth getting outdoors this spring!
Blind Youth Dream Hunt of a Lifetime
13 Year Old totally blind NYHA youth member takes his first wild turkey on NYHA Celebrity Hunt with World Champion turkey caller Chris Parrish.
The air was still and cool with morning dew as we settled into our camouflage hunting blind nestled at the edge of a well known turkey haunt in Northern Missouri. It was long before the light of day broke the horizon, yet loud gobbles could be heard thundering out into the darkness. 13 year old Charlie Wilkes’ excitement grew and for good reason. This was Charlie’s first ever turkey hunt and positioned next to him in the blind was Chris Parrish, a multi-world champion and grand national champion turkey caller famously known for lulling in big toms. Yet this wasn’t just any youth turkey hunt. Making this hunt even more special was the fact that Charlie has been completely blind since he was a young boy. However his perceived handicap had never slowed him down from pursuing his passion for hunting and outdoor sports before. In fact Charlie enjoys fishing, hunting deer with his grandfather and even playing high school football with fellow classmates! Like millions of other youth, Charlie has a strong passion for pursuing sports in the outdoors and he’s absolutely determined that his "perceived handicap" is not an excuse that holds him back from pursuing his passion in God’s great outdoors. Including his dream to harvest a big wild tom turkey!
Chris and camera man Nathan Wilt came out to share a hunting camp with the NYHA during the Missouri Youth Turkey season opener on Saturday April 10th. After roosting some birds and setting a blind with Chris and Nathan on Friday night, we were ready for an excellent hunt. Charlie could barely sleep he was so excited. Saturday morning found us in a hunting blind listening to more than a half dozen birds gobbling all around us and by 7:30 Chris had a trio of Jakes directly in front of us. Charlie’s heart was pounding, his hands shaking as we attempted to steady his gun on the shooting sticks and get on the lead bird. As the birds slowly worked toward our decoys, I instructed Charlie to ease the safety off and prepare to fire on signal. While the camera’s rolled and Charlie shook from ‘Gobbler Fever’, the tom made a slight move just as Charlie fired! Turkey’s flew in what seemed every direction, but none lay in the field. It was a clean miss! It was also an opportunity for Charlie to use that persistence that got him there in the first place.
Not at all one to give up, Charlie committed himself to getting another shot and filing his tag. Around midmorning we moved our hunting blind to a location close to their previous night’s roost, knowing well that they would likely return to their haunt and roost in the same trees. Our move proved a very successful one as the action again picked up around 5:30 pm that evening. After a very long and warm wait in our hunting blind, our main cameraman Nathan spotted a hen responding to Chris’s calls and slowly feeding her way toward our hen and strutting tom decoy. Knowing well that she might have company nearby during this time of the year, I gave Charlie minute by minute updates on her progress toward our decoys. Charlie and I readied the gun on a pair of shooting sticks just in case. At 5:55 pm the hen was within 6 feet of our decoys and starting to feed away. That’s when I spotted two huge, red-headed gobblers 25 yards to our right staring at the hen and our decoys. Quickly I notified Chris of their location and within seconds Nathan was on them with the camera. As Chris gave a couple of soft calls, I readied Charlie, instructing him to get the gun quickly to his shoulder and steady it on the sticks for the shot. The big black toms came quickly, heading straight for the strutting tom decoy to see who was invading their turf. I instructed Charlie to take the safety off and wait for my mark. As the gobblers got to the decoys and began to strut, I instructed Charlie on final adjustments to get the sight directly on the lead tom. FIRE!...I whispered to Charlie. With the resounding boom echoing through the woods, the excitement and mayhem commenced. I yelled to Charlie to pump the gun and get it on Safety… Charlie yelled ’Did I get him? Did I get him??’ Chris yelled ’YES!!!’ and a whoop of success came from the blind! As the thunder from the shot echoed throughout the valley, the trophy tom had given up to the Federal Premium 20 gauge round to successfully fill Charlie’s first turkey tag ever! Chris and I almost knocked Charlie over with congrats and excitement! Within moments Charlie lay his hands upon his trophy tom to ’see’ how big a bird he really was, though it was no match for the smile that spread across his face as he glowed with immense joy and the pride of his accomplishment!
It was truly a day to remember for all and Charlie’s hunt was a huge success, including the earlier miss. Charlie was persistent about pursuing his dream to take his first wild turkey ever. From the moment his grandfather contacted the NYHA, I knew we could make it happen. Charlie proved that even with his total blindness as a ’handicap’, that he COULD in fact realize his outdoor dream. Charlie also learned that if you hunt long enough, sooner or later you miss; A lesson that we as hunters and outdoorsmen all learn at one time in our experiences. However the most important character trait he strengthened that day was the patience and persistence in staying with the hunt, keeping a positive attitude and adding a great sense of humor to our hunt…eventually capitalizing in a flurry of excitement that lead to success.
Charlie stated in his interviews that he wants to show other kids that are blind or handicapped that they too can realize their dreams of going hunting in the outdoors and they should never let that hold them back. His inspiring hunt and message will be aired on Knight and Hale’s Ultimate Hunting show on the Outdoor Channel.
For Charlie’s Celebrity Hunt of a Lifetime, Chris Parrish, cameraman Nathan Wilt, Charlie, myself and a number of Charlie’s family gathered around the campfire Friday evening to present Charlie with some special gifts to further remember his hunt, and to encourage Charlie to continue his hunting passion in the outdoors.
During the campfire ceremony, the NYHA donated a Lifetime Membership to the National Youth Hunting Association and presented Charlie with an NYHA Welcome Certificate, made out in Braille for him to read.
In coordination with Chris Parrish and our sponsors, Charlie also received:
- A Full set of Mossy Oak camouflage pants, shirt and Mossy Oak hunting hat with call pockets
- A multitude of Knight and Hale world-class turkey calls
- A Camouflage face mask
- A brand new Remington 870 Express 20 gauge Youth Shotgun
- True Glow Red Dot Scope for Charlie’s gun to enable over-the-shoulder sighting in future hunts
- Federal premium 20 gauge express ammunition
Magic Moments like these are made possibly by our sponsors that support the future of our hunting and shooting sports through our youth. The NYHA would like to sincerely thank Chris Parrish of the Knight and Hale team, Nathan Wilt our cameraman and the following sponsors of Charlie’s hunt. Thank you all for making Charlie’s dream of harvesting his first turkey come true.
- Knight and Hale game calls
- Sportsman’s Warehouse
- Remington Firearms
- True Glow
- Mossy Oak
- Federal Ammunition
The National Youth Hunting Association partners with Sportsman’s Warehouse as national sponsor to get youth engaged in the outdoors nationwide. The National Youth Hunting Association is proud to announce our national sponsorship support by Sportsman’s Warehouse! This sponsorship support demonstrates Sportsman’s Warehouse’s commitment to supporting the future of all hunting, shooting sports and conservation through our youth. NYHA President & CEO states "The NYHA’s youth recruitment and retention programs are second to none. This partnership with Sportsman’s Warehouse represents a great step by those in the sporting goods industry in supporting our youth and the future of the great outdoors, and the NYHA is thrilled to have their support. Through key relationships and the support of our sponsors, the NYHA is able to deliver youth programs that connect thousands of youth to hunting, shooting and conservation opportunities nationwide. This is absolutely essential in promoting and preserving the future of our sports."
For more information about the Sportsman’s Warehouse, please visit their website at: www.Sportsmanswarehouse.com.
The NYHA is being received as a huge success by many in the public and the industry, with a long overdue focus on connecting youth with hunting, shooting and conservation activities nationwide. Our national organization is made up of like-minded youth who have a passion for the great outdoors and a strong desire to be active in our sports. We serve as the "connecting link" to connect our nation’s youth with the thousands of opportunities that are out there today, as well as creating thousands more through our own programs. The National Youth Private Land Access program has seen incredible success in connecting youth that do not have a place to hunt, or are looking for a new place, to the land owners that are willing to let youth hunt and shoot on their property! With over 100,000 acres enrolled and growing, this program is a major step in the right direction in solving one of the industry’s #1 problems - ’lack of access’ for youth in the outdoors. The NYHA also continues to add ’NYHA Regional Directors’ to our staff in various states around the US to extend the impact of our youth programs to benefit local youth within their state or region. With their assistance, the NYHA is able to further our positive impact on local youth and successfully deliver our mission through sustained opportunities. Those individuals who are passionate about the outdoors and would like to pass on our traditions and impact local youth within your state or region are encouraged to contact the NYHA. Further details about Regional Directors can be found in the download document section of our website.
Outdoor education and hunter safety training is an absolutely essential building block to start youth in the hunting and shooting sports. However, if we do not provide them with consistent, sustained opportunities to apply their training in the field, the interest and their skills will be lost, as will our hunting, shooting sports and hands-on conservation by the generation of tomorrow.
We continue to enroll private land owners in our youth private land access program to grow the hunting and shooting opportunities for our youth members in states all around the US. 2010 will bring a huge increase in the number of acres of private land that our youth members will have access to for all types of hunting and shooting opportunities.
Youth Hunting Outfitter & Celebrity Challenge Program:
To create world-class hunting opportunities for our youth members and get them hooked on hunting, the NYHA has created a national program for those in the hunting industry to give back to our youth and the sport that has driven their passion in the outdoors. In this program the NYHA publicly challenges every Outfitter, Licensed hunting guide, hunting and shooting preserve, hunting celebrity to donate 1 or more youth hunting opportunity, outfitted packages, guided youth hunts, in the name of charity, to benefit our youth and promote and preserve the future of our hunting and shooting heritage. The NYHA will give these hunt donations away in random drawings to our youth members all over the US, with the ultimate goal of giving away one youth hunt or opportunity per week, every week of the year! We will also be filming these donated youth hunts with the intention of creating an ’NYHA Youth Hunting The Country’ outdoor show for national television. Youth members that win these hunting and shooting opportunities will not only have the opportunity for a world class hunt, they will also have the opportunity to be a ’celebrity’ on national television having their hunt filmed to showcase their success to other youth around the world. ALL NYHA youth members will have an equal chance of winning one of these free hunts, regardless of what state they live in! Outfitters, hunting celebrities, guides and hunting/shooting businesses that are interested in supporting our youth and the future of our sports are encouraged to contact the NYHA or download a hunt donation form from our download section and send it in to support our youth!
New Website Launch - www.DonateAHunt.com
To support youth hunting and shooting donations on a national scale through our Youth Hunting Outfitter & Celebrity Challenge program, the NYHA is developing a new website that will be linked to our main NYHA website. The DonateAHunt.com website will serve as an interface by which outfitters, celebrities and those in the industry that wish to donate youth hunts to our charitable youth organization can quickly and easily donate these opportunities. This website will also serve to recognize all donors and showcase their support of youth in the outdoors and, their commitment to promote and preserve the future of all hunting, shooting sports and conservation. We will also have a section to showcase our youth success via pictures and video clips so that other kids can share in their success in the field. All supporting sponsors will also be shown on our banner for both the NYHA and the DonateAHunt.com websites.
National Youth Conservation Coalition
In 2010, the NYHA is forming strategic partnerships with all major conservation organizations and partners that support youth involvement in hunting, shooting and conservation. While there are literally thousands of chapters of various conservation organizations all over the entire United States, and each of them holds their own youth events with the goal of drawing more youth to their organizations, the NYHA and our National Youth Conservation Coalition will serve as the connecting link between them all. This project will foster the cooperation of all conservation organizations toward a common goal. Every chapter of every conservation organization and supporting business will have the ability to post their youth events, chapter and organization information, web link and contact information, to the Youth Conservation Coalition state pages of our website. Completion of this project will effectively create visibility to thousands of youth events, with ALL partner organizations across the US for youth to find within their state or region. It also promotes increased visibility our conservation partner"s mission, organization and events on a national scale.