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New Hunters Learn the Basics in Unique Mentoring Program

January 25, 2011

The Cape Fear River Branch recently its annual Hunter Education Mentoring Program hunt on December 10-12, 2010 at Willow Oaks Plantation, the property owned and managed by Arthur Dick under strict QDM practices in Eden, North Carolina.  Eleven new hunters, both young and old alike, gathered with QDMA branch members for a hands-on learning experience on a three-day hunt.

Part of the year-long mentoring program headed by branch Vice-President Brian Padgett and past-president Guy Gardner, this hunt was a culmination of all the education the mentees received via the program’s shooting, hunting, and ethics lessons. Each new hunter was paired with an experienced mentor who provided knowledge and company in the stand, and helped each mentee evaluate the sex and age of deer seen in the field.  Willow Oaks has a proud record of safe and accurate hunting, and it was the responsibility of each hunter and mentor to make sure that each deer taken was a doe, as this harvest was planned to help keep the sex ratios on the property as close to 2:1 as possible.  Each pair of hunters had several encounters in the field with deer, giving the new hunters a chance to examine lots of individuals in the wild. 

Arthur Dick and Judge Holdford, each a QDMA Deer Steward III, joined with Branch leads in delivering a series of educational opportunities over the course of the weekend, teaching new hunters how to age deer on the hoof and quality deer management technique .  As the weekend came to an end, the hunters were given a chance to see deer being cleaned in Willow Oaks’ skinning shed, and an informal question-and-answer session allowed each person to talk and ask questions about how the process is done. 

For more information about how to be a part of a unique approach to educating the future’s deer hunters, or for more information about the Cape Fear River Branch of QDMA, please go to

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