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May 29, 2012

Program for adult novice hunters who must be accompanied by chaperones

BABCOCK, Wis. -- Adults who have had an interest in hunting but weren't sure how to give it a try are encouraged to consider a fall Learn-to-Hunt outing at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center - on the stunning 9,150-acre Sandhill Wildlife Area managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Applicants will need to recruit a chaperone (or mentor) to attend the hunt with them. The chaperone is necessary to ensure novice hunters get the complete hunting experience in a safe environment. Chaperones help hunters with firearm safety, deer identification, scouting, and field dressing, among other things.

Adults have been learning how to hunt at the Wood County-based center, located between Black River Falls and Stevens Point, since 1990. Last year, one novice hunter from Maryland sent this note: "I was intrigued by hunting here, but daunted by all the gear and knowledge that seemed necessary. The Learn the Hunt program was a great crash course that made me feel like I had a chance in the woods. My mentor was a crucial part of that."

There are two parts to the Learn to Hunt Deer at Sandhill. First, the workshop is held from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on September 22 at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center at Babcock. Attendance by hunters and chaperones is mandatory. Second, the hunt occurs November 3 and 4 on the property. Hunters will have an assigned a hunting area.

This learn to hunt event is for persons ages 16 and over. Applicants must sign an affidavit indicating they have not hunted deer with a gun before. All participants must be enrolled in or have completed a Hunter Education course.

Chaperones also are needed, says DNR Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator Keith Warnke.

"If you are a hunter and want to give back to the hunting heritage by getting a new hunter started, your skills are needed!" Warnke said.

The deadline to participate in this annual event has been extended by one month from May 31 to June 30. People interested in participating must complete the Sandhill Learn-to-Hunt application and mail it to the address on the application.

"Learn to Hunt events are a great way to break into hunting. Novice hunters paired up with an experienced hunter will learn about conservation, safety, ethics, deer hunting tactics and firearm safety during a one-day workshop," Warnke said. "Then, the novice hunters get a chance to experience a two-day November gun deer hunt."

Sandhill was named for a series of gently rolling sandy ridges crisscrossing the property. The State Wildlife Area lies within the bed of ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin an expansive region of flat, marshy land interspersed with forests covering parts of seven counties in central Wisconsin. The property features low, sandy uplands of oak, aspen and jack pine forests, large marshes, and many flowages.

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

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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