Summer camp a way to raise interest in waterfowl hunting
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A weeklong summer camp in Minnesota teaches teenagers about duck and goose hunting.
The Woodie Camp is sponsored by the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Up to 50 students learn about bird calls, prairie ecology, outdoor ethics and shooting.
Teens apply to the program by writing an essay about why they want to participate in the camp. Students are required to complete a firearm safety class. Cellphones aren’t allowed at the camp to keep the focus on the outdoors.
“If they don’t know anything about duck hunting, or anything to do with waterfowl, they’re going to learn that habitat is important, that joining organizations and getting involved is important,” said Brad Nylin, the association’s director.
Camp leaders said the program is a way to revive interest in a hunting tradition that has been declining for decades in Minnesota.
The state DNR estimates that duck hunters have decreased by nearly 20,000, or almost 25 percent, in the past decade. Canada goose hunters have decreased by nearly 25,000, almost a 40 percent drop, in the same time period.
The camp was once full of only boys, but now more girls are attending. More women are getting involved in hunting in the state, the department said.
Maddie Broton-Anderson is one of the campers who participated in the program. The 15-year-old from Owatonna is already an avid hunter.
“When someone hunts, it’s like that’s your time between you and nature,” she said. “Like, nothing can beat that.”
The association raises the $46,000 needed to run the program and cover the costs for the campers.