The National Deer Association (NDA) Field to Fork program continues to be a driving force in both recruitment and opportunity for adults with little or no hunting experience to get access to a structured and mentored entry into the sport. The widely successful program has recently homed in on a new group of individuals surprisingly close to the hunting world—employees of the firearms and outdoor industry.
In December 2021, NDA hosted a Field to Fork event with employees of industry leader, American Outdoor Brands (AOB). AOB owns several well-known hunting, shooting and outdoor companies such as MEAT!, BOG, Old Timer, Thomson/Center, Crimson Trace and others. While these individuals work closely with outdoor products and the hunting community, many had never had the opportunity to hunt.
“When we started Field to Fork in 2016, we quickly realized there were staff within our own company and supporting sponsor organizations interested in learning to hunt,” said Hank Forester, NDA Director of Hunting. “In fact, we all pass by aspiring hunters every day and they could use an invite to get started.”
Ten AOB employees new to hunting prepared for the event in advance by taking their online hunter safety courses and completing the Deer Hunting 101 course, the official NDA introduction to deer hunting class, produced with Today’s Hunter. Additional in-person education and range practice, led by the NDA staff & Missouri Department of Conservation representatives, took place before the hunt began.
All ten new hunters were able to harvest a deer at the event and had the opportunity to work closely with a mentor to dress, skin, and quarter their own deer through guided instruction and hands-on experience. Venison was the main course at all meals throughout the program.
“The excitement is palpable when you get to experience and assist someone in their first harvest. It’s an electric level of the hunting journey, and if you haven’t mentored yet, you’re missing out,” said Karlin Gill, NDA Deer Outreach Specialist.
Follow this link to watch a video documentary of the hunt:
The NDA encourages more hunting industry companies to look within their employee rosters to recruit new deer hunters. For those working in the hunting industry that would like to plan a hunt, please contact Hank Forester, NDA Director of Hunting Heritage: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join NDA and support their mission today, or sign up for their free e-newsletter to receive the latest on deer hunting and management at DeerAssociation.com
About the National Deer Association
Formally launched on November 10, 2020, the National Deer Association is a non-profit deer conservation group that leads efforts to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. Formed by combining the strengths of two long-serving, successful organizations, the National Deer Association has a combined 38 years of action that has changed deer management for the betterment of hunting and protected North America’s most vital and admired game species for future generations. Visit DeerAssociation.com or follow @deerassociation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.