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March 13, 2012

You, too, could enjoy turkey marsala after the hunt

MADISON - You don't have to be a master chef to take Learn to Hunt turkey, but it definitely added to the experience in the case of one novice hunter.

"I shot a tom turkey at 7 a.m. on Sunday. It worked great. I made turkey marsala last night and it was delicious. Amazing," the new hunter told Keith Warnke, coordinator of the Learn to Hunt program.

"That's one of the best and most satisfying benefits of participating in a Learn to Hunt event," Warnke said. "You learn new skills, make new friends - and get a pretty good meal out of the experience."

During the next month, nearly 1,000 new hunters will get the chance to learn turkey hunting from an experienced mentor. Anyone can join them by finding an event in their area and signing up through the DNR website, searching for keywords "learn to hunt."

The events welcome novice, adult and youth hunters and are open, in many cases, for entire families to sign up and hunt. No license is required and, since novices will be hunting with a mentor, hunter education requirements are waived.

"Learn to hunt is one way to make memories and start your own tradition with friends and family," Warnke said. "Friends, family, fun, and food! What could be better?"

Novice hunters are paired up with an experienced hunter, learn about conservation, hunting tactics and firearm safety, and then experience the excitement of turkey hunting in Wisconsin.

"Hunting is conservation, and hunters have long been at the forefront, leading the conservation of our great natural resources," Warnke said. "Now, hunters are taking the lead in expanding the hunting community by offering programs teaching those interested in hunting how to do it."

Why would you be interested?

Hunting is a great way for us to learn about - and gain an appreciation of - nature and the environment, Warnke said. As a result, hunters are among the nation's leading conservationists. Hunting also is a popular and very acceptable means of obtaining meat for the freezer. Many new hunters are interested because hunters know where their meat comes from and have a vested interest in making sure there is plenty for future generations.

"Hunting is a perfect fit for the sustainable use of renewable resources," Warnke said

Recently, however, the "natural path" of initiation into hunting - from parent/family member to child - has become more difficult.

"Kids and parents are busier today and live in urban centers further removed from their hunting land," he said. "The demands of work, school and other activities cut into the available time to hunt, let alone initiate new hunters. Hunting is all about making memories with family and friends."

But the interest remains.

"Whether the motivations are nature and conservation interests, camaraderie or sustainability, we are witnessing a growing interest in hunting from adults who missed the natural path as kids," Warnke said.

Find an event near you

The DNR hopes enthusiastic hunters and interested novices will take advantage of the Learn to Hunt program and further Wisconsin's strong conservation and hunting heritage, he says.

For more than a decade, novice hunters have participated in these events to learn about hunting, be involved with a hunting mentor and start their own tradition.

Learn to Hunt events are usually free to novice hunters and take place over a weekend. To find an event go to the DNR website and search "learn to hunt."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, Public Affairs, Division of Law Enforcement and Science Services, 608-267-0798

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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