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Learn to Hunt: A Gateway for Novice Hunters in Wisconsin

Embracing New Hunters from Diverse Backgrounds

Wisconsin's Learn to Hunt program is tailored for novices of all ages and backgrounds, offering a comprehensive introduction to the world of hunting.

Program Structure

  1. Combined Classroom and Field Instruction

    • Duration: Over four hours.
    • Content: Focuses on both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
    • Objective: To ensure a solid foundation in safe and ethical hunting practices.
  2. Mentorship Experience

    • Pairing: Novices are paired with qualified mentors.
    • Purpose: Allows for hands-on learning and guidance in real hunting scenarios.

Benefits of the Learn to Hunt Program

  • Accessibility: Open to individuals of all ages, ensuring inclusivity.
  • Safety and Ethics: Emphasizes responsible hunting practices.
  • Cultural Integration: Facilitates understanding and appreciation of Wisconsin's hunting heritage.

How to Participate in Wisconsin's Learn to Hunt Program

Introduction to Learn to Hunt

Wisconsin's Learn to Hunt programs, hosted by experienced volunteers, are an excellent opportunity for novice hunters and trappers of any age to delve into hunting and trapping, learning from local hunting clubs, non-governmental, and conservation organizations.

Steps to Enroll in a Learn to Hunt Class

  1. Confirm Your Availability: Make sure you can attend all sessions of the class.
  2. Registering for a Class:
    • Visit GoWild.
    • Log in to your GoWild account or create a new account if you don’t have one. This process involves providing your social security number, date of birth, and driver's license information.
    • Once logged in, navigate to your Safety Education Dashboard and select "manage safety education."
    • Under current classes, choose "search for class."
    • Specify the course type (Learn to Hunt or Hunt for Food) and your preferred county.
    • If "No classes found" appears, it indicates full classes. Check back later for openings.
    • Select a class and click "enroll."
    • A successful enrollment will be confirmed via a message and an email from GoWild.
    • The class instructor will contact you with further details.

Participant Eligibility and Information

  • Eligibility: Open to any novice hunter or trapper. Lead instructors may set a minimum age.
  • Requirement: A Wisconsin DNR Customer ID Number is needed before the first activity date.
  • Education Classes: Participation does not substitute for hunter or trapper education classes unless specifically combined.
  • Multiple Programs: Novices can join more than one Learn to Hunt or Learn to Trap program, including multiple programs for the same species.
  • Equipment and Gear: Availability varies by program. Contact the lead instructor for details.

Additional Considerations

  • Class Availability: High demand may limit availability, so early enrollment is advised.
  • Cancellation Policy: If unable to attend, promptly un-enroll or contact the instructor to free up space for others.
  • License and Stamp Waivers: Lead instructors may request waivers for licenses, stamps, season dates, and sex restrictions for participants.

Hosting a Learn to Hunt Program: Key Steps and Requirements

Introduction

Organizing a "Learn to Hunt" program is a rewarding way to introduce novices to the sport of hunting. This comprehensive guide outlines the necessary steps and requirements for hosting such an event, ensuring both compliance and a successful experience.

Program Coordination

Lead Instructor Responsibilities

  • Applicant Role: The lead instructor (applicant) oversees the program's coordination.
  • Program Design: Facilitate a safe and ethical learning environment for hunters of diverse ages and backgrounds.

Technical Guidance for Forms

Handling PDF Forms

  • Browser Limitations: Note that many browsers struggle with direct PDF form interactions.
  • Desktop Access: Use a desktop to download and interact with PDF forms. Avoid opening the file directly; instead, use Adobe Reader.

Mentor Background Check

Ensuring Mentor Eligibility

  • Form Submission: Complete and submit the "Mentor Background Check Authorization" (Form 4100-217) [PDF].
  • Deadline: Submit this form to the State Learn to Hunt Coordinator 30 days before mentor participation.
  • Validity Period: A new authorization is required every five years.

Setting Up the Event

Planning and Approval

  • Location and Date: Secure these details early in the planning process.
  • Application Process: Submit the "Application and Authorization to Conduct an Educational Outdoor Skills Activity – Hunting or Trapping" (Form 2300-260) [PDF] 30 days before the first hunting date.

Mentor and Participant Recruitment

Building a Team and Audience

  • Mentor Criteria: Mentors must be experienced, background-checked, and committed.
  • Novice Engagement: Actively recruit novices, focusing on a diverse and eager group.

Event Execution and Follow-Up

Conducting the Program

  • Program Delivery: Host the Learn to Hunt event, adhering to planned activities and guidelines.
  • Post-Event Reporting: Complete and submit participant and mentor reports within 15 days post-program.

Financial Aspects

Reimbursements and Costs

  • Reimbursement Eligibility: Apply for up to $25 per participant through the Learn to Hunt reimbursement program.
  • Cost Management: Ensure program fees do not exceed the necessary expenses.

Mentor Requirements

Mentor Qualifications and Duties

  • Age and Experience: Must be at least 18 with five years of relevant hunting experience.
  • Instruction Hours: Record administrative, classroom, and field hours on the Volunteer Hours Report.

Participant Eligibility and Compliance

Ensuring Broad Participation

  • No Age Limit: Participants of all ages are welcome; however, organizers may set a minimum age.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Adhere to all hunting/trapping rules and state requirements.

Safety and Legal Compliance

Ensuring a Safe and Legal Hunt

  • Harvest Authorization: Ensure participants carry proper authorizations during the hunt.
  • Property Posting: Publicly announce the Learn to Hunt activities, especially in state parks.

Specialty Programs

Unique Hunting Opportunities

  • Bear and Deer Hunts: Specialized programs like bear hunting and deer programs at Sandhill Wildlife Area.

LTH (Learn to Hunt) Resources: Getting Started in Hunting

Introduction

Embarking on your hunting journey? Utilize these resources designed to guide beginners in the hunting community.

Mentored Hunting Program: License and Rules

Introduction

The Mentored Hunting Program offers a unique opportunity for newcomers to start hunting without completing a hunter education course first. Understanding the rules and requirements of this program is crucial for a safe and lawful hunting experience.

License Acquisition

Access to Hunting

  • Eligibility: Available to all, regardless of prior hunting education.
  • License Type: A mentored-only hunting license is required.

Mentor Requirements

Role of a Licensed Hunter

  • Accompaniment: The mentor must be a licensed hunter.
  • Proximity Rule: The mentee must hunt within arm's reach of the mentor.

Hunting Rules and Regulations

Ensuring Safety and Compliance

  • Adherence to Laws: Both mentor and mentee must follow all hunting regulations and guidelines.
  • Safety First: Prioritizing safety for both participants and wildlife.

Contact Information: Learn to Hunt and Hunter Education Programs

Learn to Hunt Program

Direct Assistance

  • Specialist Contact: Emily Iehl, Hunting & Shooting Sports Program Specialist.
  • Email: emily.iehl@wisconsin.gov.
  • Phone: 608-445-8168.
  • General Queries: Email the program mailbox for additional information.

Hunter Education Program

Educational Support

  • Program Specialist: Ashley Van Egtern, Hunter Education Program Specialist.
  • Email: ashley.vanegtern@wisconsin.gov.
  • Phone: 608-513-9625.
  • Local Support: Reach out to your local Outdoor Skills Trainer (OST) for more personalized guidance.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.