Become A Mentor

The QDMA Mentored Hunting Program

Why did QDMA create the Mentored Hunting Program?

Hunters play a crucial role in our social and economic well being. They provide a free ecological service by managing deer and other wildlife while contributing over $60 billion annually to the economy and creating over 700,000 jobs. However, hunter numbers are declining and youth recruitment is not keeping pace. Across the U.S., only 69 hunters are recruited for every 100 that are lost. Studies confirm that many youth have an interest in wildlife and hunting but lack the ability to act upon that interest due to the absence of a hunting mentor within their family or network of friends.

What is the QDMA Mentored Hunting Program?

It is an innovative hunter education and recruitment program designed to increase the number of youth and first-time hunters by matching mentors with interested students. It teaches students (youths and adults) the importance of hunting and provides them with a greater understanding of the role of hunting in sustainable wildlife management. It also builds the foundation for these hunters to become better stewards of our natural resources and better ambassadors for hunting.

What is involved with the QDMA Mentored Hunting Program?

The program incorporates eight steps over several months, and is therefore expected to be far more effective than traditional “one-time” events designed to expose newcomers to hunting.

  • Step one exposes students to the program, provides background information on the QDMA and hunting, and allows the mentor and student to bond.
  • Step two develops basic woodsmanship skills, those commonly lacking among today’s beginning hunters, while building a framework to become a successful and knowledgeable hunter.
  • Step three exposes students to formal sporting arm (firearm and archery) and treestand safety training and hunter ethics and education.
  • Step four reinforces firearm and/or archery safety skills and develops shooting competence.
  • Step five involves small game hunting because it enhances woodsmanship skills, reinforces sporting arm use and safety, lacks the pressure of a big game hunt, and is generally more exciting for beginning hunters.
  • Step six teaches deer biology, behavior, ecology, deer anatomy, shot placement and Quality Deer Management concepts.
  • Step seven involves deer hunting while the mentor reinforces safety, shot selection, management concepts and hunter ethics.
  • Step eight celebrates the hunt, recognizes the student as a “hunter” and serves as his/her rite of passage into the hunting community.


How can I participate in the Mentored Hunting Program?

You can participate by mentoring a youth or other first-time hunter. You can also assist another mentor or help match an interested student with a mentor.

I’d like to be a mentor but what happens if I can’t teach each step?

No problem, QDMA Branches can help by providing information, instruction, field experiences, shooting opportunities, etc. If you have the desire, the QDMA will assist you along the way.

How do I get started?

Getting started is easy – Mentor’s Guide – click here. The mentor’s guide provides step-by-step instruction on what to teach at each step of the program. It includes information and examples to maximize the success of your mentorship.

I am a QDMA Branch member, how can my Branch get involved?

This program is designed to be implemented at the local level so QDMA Branches are the perfect vehicle to make it work in their area. Branches can locate and match prospective mentors and students, teach several steps of the program to groups of mentors and students, provide opportunities for field experiences, and host the important game dinner in the program’s final step.

How do I get more information on the QDMA Mentored Hunting Program?

For more information, contact your local QDMA Branch or QDMA's Director of Education and Outreach, Kip Adams (814-326-4023).

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