$38,000 Grant for Youth Hunting Program
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has awarded the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department a $38,000 grant from its Hunting Heritage Partnership for funding the Texas Youth Hunting Program.
Announcement of the grant award was made at the recent International Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting. Eighteen state agencies received more than $500,000 in grant awards from NSSF.
Texas will use the funds to expand its youth hunting program offering special three-day hunts to an additional 250 youth and retain these new hunters with hunts offered in the later years. The program will also recruit and retain adult hunters participating in the program as either parents or volunteers.
"Our programs allow us to continue to preserve our hunting heritage in the state of Texas. We provide new hunters with the hunt of a lifetime, teaching them safety and ethics at no cost to them," said Mike Berger, Wildlife Division director for TPWD. "To ensure that we have hunting in Texas for the foreseeable future, we must reach out to young people."
The Hunting Heritage Partnership was established by the NSSF, the trade association for the firearm industry, to provide much needed direct funding to state wildlife agencies to help them with programs that provide opportunities for, and remove barriers to, hunter participation.
"Officials with TPWD have designed a unique and dynamic recruitment tool and this grant recognizes their successful efforts and helps build on them. This is exactly the kind of creative approach that agencies in other states can look to as a model to help preserve our hunting and conservation traditions," said Doug Painter, president of the NSSF.
The Lone Star State’s 2.4 million anglers and 1.2 million hunters spent $4.1 billion in Texas last year in pursuit of their pastimes, which supported 73,000 jobs in the state, according to the most recent census survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Efforts to expand hunting, such as the Texas Youth Hunting Program, help boost the economy in a state where almost one of every seven Texas residents hunt or fish, generating $218 million in state tax revenue.
The Texas Youth Hunting Program was established by a cooperative effort of between the Texas Wildlife Association and TPWD to promote the hunting heritage in Texas. Young people ages 9-17 are eligible. For more information about the Texas Youth Hunting Program, call (210) 260-5588 or toll-free at (800) 460-5494. Applications and additional information is also available online at (http://www.texas-wildlife.org/tyhp/). The program also is seeking volunteer adult mentors and landowners who will allow hunting on their property. Insurance coverage for participating landowners is provided, said Jerry Warden, Texas Youth Hunting Program coordinator.