May 30, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is seeking hunting mentors for its Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program (LHHP) for the 2013-14 hunting season.
The LHHP matches experienced hunters, or mentors, with persons who would like to learn about hunting, but lack someone to teach them. The mentors help new hunters, or apprentices, learn the skills necessary to become independent hunters.
“Serving as a mentor is a great way for an experienced hunter to pass along their knowledge and love of the outdoors to another person who has the desire to learn, but lacks the support structure a new hunter needs,” said John Sturgis, LDWF Education Program manager. “This is a great opportunity for an experienced hunter who wants to help perpetuate the sport, and may have special appeal to retirees who hunt or hunters whose children are grown,” Sturgis added.
Mentors will be provided with training and support from LDWF and will be covered by the department’s liability insurance while engaged in LHHP-related activities. The mentor’s role is to help their apprentice gain the skills and confidence they need to hunt independently. This may include time at the shooting range, learning how to scout and identify game, selecting equipment, cleaning game and actually hunting together.
Mentors will be assigned an apprentice hunter by LDWF after the apprentice has completed an application and undergone a background check. Assignment of apprentices and mentors takes into consideration location, type of hunting each person is interested in and other factors that will help make the match successful.
The previous hunting season was the first year the LHHP was operational and several mentor/ apprentice matches were made. Gene Thibodeaux, Sr., a mentor from Youngsville, hunted ducks with his apprentice and reported that he enjoyed working with his apprentice saying: “I would be honored to do this again next year.” Robert Rackley, a mentor from Baton Rouge, commented: “Overall, excellent program and send me another person next year.”
LHHP mentor applications should be submitted by July 1, 2013 to allow time for processing and matching with apprentices. Mentor-apprentice matches will be made by mid-August to allow time to prepare for the hunting season.
Persons interested in serving as hunting mentors can find applications and additional information on the LHHP at www.wlf.la.gov/louisiana-hunting-heritage-program  or they can contact John Sturgis at 225-763-5448 or firstname.lastname@example.org  .