We jointly hosted the two-day event at Valhalla Bijou Hunt Club near Bennett, CO. Our ten participants were all either beginning shooters or hunters with no upland hunting experience. We had a very demographically diverse group all eager to explore a new sport.
On Saturday morning, we began with basic classroom instruction about firearms and safety. Safety instruction was reinforced outside in Safety Trail exercises which practiced safe walking on rough ground, safe fields of fire while hunting in line, safe shots when dogs are used and how to pivot in line as a group. In the afternoon, we gave instruction on pheasant hunting tactics with and without dogs. There was also instruction on dog breeds. The afternoon ended on the range with individual instruction for each shooter. Every participant did break clays before we finished. That evening was spent in the clubhouse with a fantastic meal of elk and beef roasts being featured. Everyone then adjourned to a nearby hotel for a good night sleep before the Sunday morning hunts.
Early Sunday the groups were split into two groups of five hunters each. Each hunter was assigned to a PF volunteer Field Safety Officer who carried their ammunition and ensured safe gun handling at all times. Each group was able to hunt two markedly different types of terrain. One was a milo and CRP field. The other was a river bottom with Cottonwood trees, willows and heavy vegetation. Each hunter had several opportunities to harvest chukars and several hunters even scored on multiple birds. After lunch there was a bird cleaning demonstration by our “celebrity” co-host Durrell Smith from the Minority Outdoor Alliance in Atlanta.
This was our second annual event and was sponsored by Pheasants Forever, the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation and the Minority Outdoor Alliance. It is sizing up to become an ongoing outreach based on the success of our first two years! We are providing a Path to the Uplands for sure.