The 4-H Hunting Discipline Is More Than Just Hunting!
The Florida 4-H Shooting Sports Program offers young people a variety of entry points into wildlife conservation and outdoor knowledge and skills. The 4-H Hunting and Wildlife discipline is one of several projects offered through the shooting sports program. Others include Archery; Muzzle Loading; Rifle; and Shotgun. The Hunting and Wildlife discipline is lead by a certified instructor and is a program to help young people develop personal confidence, discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self-esteem, and sportsmanship as they become ethical hunters and self-sufficient outdoors men and women.
The Florida 4-H Shooting Sports, Hunting, and Wildlife program uses the National 4-H Hunting and Wildlife and the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge curriculum to achieve the following goals:
• Teach Safe, Responsible Use of Firearms and Archery Equipment – (including sound decision-making, self-discipline, and concentration)
• Learn the History of Hunting – (why we hunt; hunting ethics; hunting laws and regulations; hunter and landowner relations; wildlife management and the hunter; and careers in hunting)
• Understand Wildlife and Wildlife Management – (concepts of natural resources from the hunter’s perspective)
• Develop the Participant’s Character – (self-concept, sportsmanship, and personal growth through involvement in a safe and educational shooting activity)
• Strengthen Families – (through life-long outdoor shooting sports recreational activities)
• Support Existing Safety and Hunter Education Programs
Program participants benefit from the 4-H Hunting and Wildlife discipline through a practical, accessible curriculum that embeds awareness, knowledge, and expertise in all young persons’ thought processes and behaviors; the Hunting and Wildlife discipline activities may include simulated hunting conditions to provide the best practical environment for reinforcing a young hunter’s skills.
Areas of Study
• Hunter Responsibility – Tests knowledge of hunter safety, ethics, responsibility and laws
• Hunter Safety Trail – Demonstrate knowledge of safe hunting practices in various hunting situations
• Orienteering – Show how to navigate a course utilizing a map and compass
• Outdoor Skills – Demonstrate knowledge in how to survive outdoors if becoming lost
• Wildlife Identification – Identify tracks, hides, feathers, and signs of North American wildlife
• .22 Rifle – Utilize a .22 rifle to shoot at action-type or life-size game targets
• Shotgun – Demonstrate shotgun shooting skills with games of trap, skeet and sporting clays
• Muzzle Loader – Use a muzzle loading rifle with open sights to shoot like the pioneers
• Archery – Walk through a course with life size animal or field targets
All live-fire shooting activities are lead by a 4-H certified shooting sports instructor, with special 4-H certification in the particular discipline. For example, if a Hunting and Wildlife group is learning about the shotgun discipline, with live-fire exercises on the range, a 4-H certified shooting sports instructor with a shotgun certification is the individual running the range and overseeing all live-fire exercises.
As with every 4-H project the primary goals of the program are positive youth development and the reinforcement of life skills. Youth enjoy this multidisciplinary approach that is challenging, fun and interesting. Many have reported that they are leaning toward careers that would keep them involved with wildlife science or conservation, which is another positive aspect of the program. If you would like more information about this program, contact your local county extension 4-H Agent.
Florida 4-H Shooting Sports, as well as Brevard County 4-H is very grateful for the support it receives from the National Rifle Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other sponsors. Of course none of this could be done without the help of our dedicated volunteers.
Related Story: 4-H, FWC and the NRA Partner Together for YHEC