BOISE - The Idaho Fish and Game has launched a new website, gohuntidaho.org, to help new hunters learn an Idaho tradition that helps people provide their own food, as well as family recreation.
“For new hunters, getting started in the sport can be intimidating. From firearm safety, seasons and rules, where to find game, and processing meat – it’s a lot to take in,” said Ian Malepeai, marketing manager at Fish and Game. “This website is a sort of one-stop-shop where new hunters can easily find all information they need.”
A large portion of the website is focused on upland hunting, which is a beginner-friendly activity and a gateway to becoming a life-long hunter. The website also include resources for big game, turkey and waterfowl.
Fish and Game’s research shows that 39% of Idaho residents are interested in hunting, and of that group, 34% of those interested have never hunted before. Historically, hunting has been a tradition passed down through family mentors, but Malepeai said not all people interested in learning to hunt come from families with hunters.
“While we know we cannot replace family mentors, our hope is to be a surrogate mentor and provide as much information as we can to set new hunters up for success,” he said. “We know that there is a demand, and we are really trying to reach this audience and provide this new resource.”
With a growing population, and with a recent influx of new hunter education graduates, the new website also comes at an opportune time for a group of hunters who will likely be hunting in Idaho for the first time this fall.
Among the resources to get them started is a three-part tutorial to learn how to use Fish and Game’s digital resources, maps, and ways to find new hunting areas. The first video in the Big Game Scouting Series, “Using F&G resources to research and select a hunting unit” was published to the website on Aug. 10.
“Our surveys have shown that the biggest hurdle for new hunters is figuring out where they should go to hunt,” Malepeai said. “These videos will teach new hunters how to use the tools at their disposal to answer that question themselves.”
This is one of many of innovative digital resources Fish & Game provides on the website. Another major hurdle for new hunters is what to do with an animal after they have harvested it. The website also provides videos on butchering and field dressing game.
In partnership with Boise State University, Fish and Game developed a virtual reality simulation that provides a “hands-on” tutorial of how to field dress an elk from home, which will be featured on the website, and people can download here.
Additionally, Fish and Game has developed content to inspire current hunters to pass on the traditions of hunting by promoting mentorship programs and experiences. Another three-part video series, dubbed “The Maiden Hunts” is due to hit the website in September.
“Our Maiden Hunt video series really shows the importance of mentoring, and how rewarding mentoring can be,” Malepeai said. “These videos illustrate the diversity of who hunters are. Hunters, and those new to hunting, come from all races, genders, ages, backgrounds, and experiences.”