Mentored program used to promote hunting safety in South Dakota

South Dakota News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Turkey hunting season is just around the corner and that has the Outdoor Campus promoting safety through a short video series highlighting their mentored hunting program.

“The target audience for the videos as much like who it is for the campus. It’s really anyone who’s interested in just gaining a little more knowledge in all things, outdoor activities,” Jason Larson said.

Katie Johnson, a naturalist intern at the Outdoor Campus, was able to not only go through the program but also feature her entire experience throughout the series with outreach coordinator, Jason Larson.

“I got to go to the shooting range, then kind of try out a gun. And then I also, I went on a hunt with Jason and was able to get out into the field and shoot at some deer,” Johnson said.

Any age group can sign up for the mentored hunts where safety, patience, and appropriate equipment use are taught.

“Safety is number one for us. Before we ever take people into the field, we have, you know, we have a conversation we explain what is about to happen. We spend a long time at one of the gun ranges, a local gun range, and we get, get our participants very used to not only just the firearm we’re using but many different kinds of firearms,” Larson said.

And getting that experience is crucial, especially when trying it out for the first time.

“It was pretty crazy. I didn’t know really what to expect, and when I got behind the gun and started pulling the trigger at the deer, it was just a rush and it, it was insane,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s first time went so well she plans to go out again with her new knowledge about hunting.

“You might be scared at first, and that’s totally normal. But like when you have a great mentor, it’s gonna work out just fine and it’s good to try new things,” Johnson said.

For people hoping to get out and learn to hunt they can fill out an application anytime at the outdoor campus.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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