Bill Pollock, (left) work with another student during a recent Skills Session, hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Bill Pollock, (left) works with another student during a recent Skills Session, hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation

It’s fall.  The temperatures are cooling, colors are changing and now is the time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors of Missouri.  Of course, you know this is also the time of year many Missourians are getting ready for their annual hunting excursions.  For some of us, like myself, we’ve missed out on all the enjoyment hunting provides.  Today, that changes.

Allow me to give you some background into what these upcoming features and videos are all about.

Over the summer, Missourinet teamed up with the Missouri Department of Conservation, in a series of Google Hangouts designed to inform hunters and the public on deer health and deer management.

I moderated the series of web chat videos. During one of the production meetings, I was asked if I was a hunter, to which I responded that I was not.  However, having been a resident of Missouri since 1995, a number of friends and acquaintances seemed like they were avid hunters and I felt left out.

I would hear the stories about their preparations for the upcoming season, the successes and failures of their hunts, and the fun times they had with friends and family.  I always made up excuses about why I couldn’t hunt.  I didn’t want to bother an experienced hunter by having me tag along.  I don’t know how to handle or shoot a firearm.  I don’t have the clothing, I’m not sure how to get started. It’s too expensive. The list went on and on.

As I shared my reasons with Karen Hudson, the Marketing Coordinator  for the Department of Conservation, she assured me that they were many adults who were in the same position that I was in.  She said it’s the goal of the department to expose as many new people to all the wonderful benefits that hunting has to offer.

So, from that small conversation, we are excited to take you through my journey as I learn the ins and outs of hunting.  The goal of this series is to answer all of your questions, through a hands-on interactive video series, which will show you how easy it is to get started in an activity that will last a lifetime.

These Google Hangouts are designed to take you from the very beginning of the process which includes becoming certified through hunter education and skill sessions, all the way through food preparation and making meals.

I have an interest in learning more about hunting from the sport aspect as well as wanting to be able to spend more time outdoors and enjoy nature.  I also know that through my success in the field, I’ll be allowed to share the harvest with families who are in need for food.  (We’ll cover more of this down the road).

You’ll also hear from Jessica, who very similar to me, grew up in a family that did not hunt and now she is ready to give it a try.  Jeff, a father of two young boys, learned to hunt because of their interest.  Finally, we’ll hear from Angela who is interested in discovering new food alternatives.  She feels that hunting may provide a healthy plan for her dietary needs.

Joining us from the Missouri Department of Conservation is Kyle Lairmore.  He is the Hunter Education & Shooting Range Coordinator.  Throughout the fall, Kyle is going to be our “go to guy.”  He’s going to take us step by step and not only tell us, but show us all we need to know about hunting.

I also encourage you to watch if you are an avid hunter.  Please realize there are several of us in the state dealing with “Adult Onset Hunting.”  You are a vital part to the health and success of our state’s conservation.  With your support, you can help others like myself enjoy the great outdoor experiences, Missouri has to offer.

Now, for you newbies…before you run out and buy your camo, and take off for the countryside  there are a few items we need to take care of first.

As I mentioned earlier, hunter education is required in Missouri, and it qualifies you to buy a firearms hunting permit.  Once you have your hunter-education certificate, you can buy a permit to hunt for deer, turkey, waterfowl, furbearers or small game.  After taking the hunter education portion online or in a booklet, we’ll head over to a required skill session where we’ll learn how to handle firearms and hunt safely.  Once you pass your test, you’re just about ready to go.

Enjoy our first Google Hangout and feel free to share your questions and comments below.  Be on the lookout for our next Google Hangout on November 13.

You can click for more information on Hunter Education and Skill Sessions.