Montana's mentoring program is getting new hunters into the field (VIDEO)

Kim Selby, a beginning hunter in Big Sky Country, this season had a chance to fill a 20-year dream by bagging her first deer. Selby, who was coached by Hi-Line Sportsmen as part of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Mentorship program, put in lots of hard work and relied on the program to help get her into a successful hunt.

“I was born and raised in Montana and I have become more interested in keeping the Montana traditions alive in the family,” Selby said. “And I found out about the mentorship program and it was just like exactly what I was looking for.”

In what some are calling Hunters Education 2.0, the program matches more seasoned hunters willing to impart their skill set gained by experience to those lacking a mentor. Its a situation with benefits on both sides of the hunt.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to share time afield with Kim,” said Francis Drew Henry with Hi-Line. “The goal was to teach her what I know, but in the end, we both learned a lot from each other. I’m sure that her persistence and dedication will continue to make her a successful hunter in the future, and I’m looking forward to our next hunt together.”

Under the program, mentors must be experienced hunters at least 21 years old that have passed a hunters ed course if applicable. The state in 2015 also established an apprentice hunters program geared directly to those age 10 and up. When in the field together, the pair must remain within sight of and direct voice contact at all times. The first season allowing apprentice hunters, Montana officials saw 3,711 youths signed up to hunt.

In addition, the state’s Becoming an Outdoor Woman program has been providing female-only workshops across Montana. A recent workshop in Corvallis introduced women to waterfowl hunting.

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