Creating a new generation of hunters is vital to DNR’s current I2C initiative. I2C stands for Invitation to Conservation. It is an expansion of the national R3 (Recruit, Retain, and Reactivate) movement, which is geared toward creating more hunters, anglers and sport shooters. We expanded to I2C because, on a broader scale, we need more people involved in all outdoor activities in general.
One hunting-related way this is accomplished is through the National Archery in Schools Program, which excels at recruiting. To illustrate its success, Indiana implemented NASP in 2005 with 10 schools participating. Now there are roughly 500.
NASP (naspschools.org) runs from 4th to 12th grade. Participating schools adopt it into their curriculum. They do so because archery teaches focus, self-control, discipline and patience—skills that are important for success in the classroom and elsewhere. And nearly anyone can physically shoot a bow.
NASP participants aren’t required to take up archery outside of school, but many do. NASP provides an introduction to recreational shooting sports that many kids might never otherwise get. It is taught in schools, to all sorts of kids of all kinds of backgrounds, and provides the social support often necessary to continue in the shooting sports after graduation.
NASP participants who choose to continue as archers in recreational or competitive shooting, and/or become bowhunters not only become the future of outdoor culture, but also continue to support conservation through equipment purchases, through the Pittman-Robertson Act.
If your local schools participate in NASP, it’s worth your support. If they don’t, consider advocating for it. Doing so can help preserve the outdoors we all enjoy.
Cameron F. Clark
Director, Department of Natural Resources
Looking to open up a new realm of hunting opportunities this year? Consider hunting the more-than 145,000 acres of Indiana’s State Forests.
From Clark to Yellowwood, and Salamonie River to Harrison-Crawford, Indiana’s 11 State Forests provide a smorgasbord of wildlife habitats guaranteed to please almost any hunter. Such opportunity didn’t happen by accident. Professional forestry management from the Division of Forestry is responsible for creating the protective cover and food resources so prominent in State Forests.
The resulting habitat is essential for the very existence of some game species, such as deer, turkey, squirrel, and woodcock.
State Forests, of course, are just the largest portions of the swath of public lands available to Indiana hunters. Their abundant wildlife habitat is also not an accident. Since 1953, the Division of Forestry and the Division of Fish & Wildlife have partnered to create wildlife habitat on those lands by harvesting dying trees and planting seedlings and shrubs produced by Indiana’s State Nursery Program to replace them.
The primary funding to do so comes through the Pittman-Robertson Act. Among many other accomplishments, the Forestry-Fish & Wildlife partnership has helped create more than 250 acres of permanent wildlife openings and woodland meadows. Both types of habitat are essential not only to wildlife, but also to pollinator insect species, which are essential to creating food for humans.
But back to hunting—no draw or reservation is needed to access these areas. Make them a part your hunting plans. If you don’t you’re missing out.
Good luck in the field this year.
Director, DNR Fish & Wildlife
(Mark retired in July after 39 years of DNR service.)