DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a program to teach skills needed to hunt, butcher and cook wild deer to individuals who have little to no deer hunting experience.
The Field to Fork program is accepting applications for its Ames and Waterloo classes. The program consists of skills building sessions at an indoor archery range, classroom time and a workshop weekend designed to teach skills necessary to become efficient archery hunters.
“For those interested in sourcing their own protein or red meat, this program provides the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge it takes to do it yourself,” said Jamie Cook, program coordinator with the Iowa DNR.
Attendance is limited to 10 at each location. Participants must be 21 or older and have either never hunted deer or have little deer hunting experience. Attendees must fill out an application online at https://forms.gle/Z2Wy95fL3QZBcrsi6. A kickoff event will be held on June 25, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Ames Izaak Walton League, and July 25, from 9-10:30 a.m. at George Wyth State Park, in Waterloo. Instruction takes place from July through September.
Participants will learn basic strategies for hunting deer and how to field dress, butcher and cook wild venison, and have the opportunity to attend several mentored hunts during Iowa’s archery deer season.
The fee to attend is $238.50, which covers the cost of instruction, workshop weekend, workbooks, licenses, tags, equipment and supplies. Payment is not due until participants have been accepted.
The program is provided through a partnership with Pheasants Forever, Story County Conservation Board, Jax Outdoors, Double Lung Archery, and the Iowa DNR. It is part of a national effort to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters due to the overall decline in hunting and outdoor recreation.
COVID-19 precautionary measures will be implemented. Social distancing will be established at shooting ranges and within meeting spaces and/or outdoor areas. Handouts or other printed materials will be for individual and permanent use only. Online and electronic media will be utilized; this includes video chat meetings and sessions. Any equipment to be reused or re-handled will be wiped down with disinfectant between uses.