Mentored Hunt Program

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First Shot Turkey HuntThe Mentored Hunt Program aims to teach first-time hunters and lapsed hunters a new set of skills, whether it be hunting techniques or how to hunt specific species.

The program pairs skilled veteran hunters with first-time or lapsed hunters (mentees) and walks them through a series of technical lectures that cover a range of topics including firearm safety, hunting tips and hunting techniques and strategies, as well as providing range time to help the mentee begin their journey into hunting.

Throughout the program, staff and members from the partnering agencies and organizations all contribute their collective resources and knowledge to make the program as encompassing as possible.

From the moment the mentee is selected into the program, they are paired with a mentor. From there, the mentor and mentee can take the opportunity to meet in person, text, call or email each other (whichever they prefer) to talk about any questions or concerns the mentee may have.

The goal of the program, and the job of the mentor and all the partners, is to guide the mentee on their journey into hunting and make sure the mentee becomes as prepared as possible when they leave the program.

First Shot Turkey Hunt 

Why do we need a program like this?

Isn’t hunting an American tradition that is passed down from generation to generation? A recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey showed that fewer than 5% of Americans, 16 years of age and older, actually hunt. This is alarming because it is less than half of what it was 50 years ago and is not showing any signs of reversing direction on its own. Over half of the current hunters in the United States are over 45 years old, with 38% of those being over 55 years old. Many hunters hang up their boots as they begin to age, which leaves a major deficit. Conservation agencies depend on money generated from license fees and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition to manage wildlife, all wildlife, not just game species. Hunters spend approximately $26 billion dollars a year, with a large portion of that being distributed to state wildlife agencies. A decline in hunters means a decline in dollars from hunters, which leads to a decline in funding. All of which spells trouble for hunting and other conservation and management activities.

First Shot Turkey HuntIt is imperative that the trend be reversed and agencies must find new ways to bring attention and new hunters to the sport. It is time to adjust how and who we market to as conservation agencies because, just as the United States becomes more diverse, so must hunting. The female population is grossly under-represented with only 10% of all hunters being women. 97% of all hunters are white and the majority have a median household income of $40,000-$100,000. It is glaringly obvious that a massive portion of our population is untapped and we hope programs like the Mentored Hunt Program will help to introduce people from all walks of life to hunting as a means of gathering food and, ultimately, a lifestyle. We are surrounded by sustainable local food sources that many folks do not think about; wild game is the ultimate field to table food source.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for this program or if you have land and would like to host a mentor/mentee team, please contact Chris Markin at  christopher.markin@maryland.gov.

Coming Events:

​First Shot Mentored Deer Hunt
Dorchester County
October 25/26, 2019
 Application deadline: September 11, 2019

Click here to Register

The First Shot Mentored Deer Hunt is intended to introduce first time adult hunters (18 and older) that do not otherwise have the skill set or knowledge to hunt deer on their own and would like to learn and hunt with skilled veteran hunters. Space is limited and participants will be selected via random lottery. Please note that any selected applicants will be required to attend a mandatory orientation on October 20, 2019.

No experience is necessary to participate in this event including Hunter Education or a current hunting license. There is no cost for participation. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Christopher Markin at christopher.markin@maryland.gov

Stocked pheasant hunts
at Wild Wings
Garrett County
November 23 and 24, 2019
Application deadline: October 18, 2019

Click here to Register

This is a mentored hunting opportunity. Space is limited to fourteen hunters each day. This event is open to junior license holders, apprentice license holders and lapsed hunters (those who have held a MD hunting license in the past, but not in three of the past five years).

Applications will be accepted until October 18, 2019. A random lottery drawing will take place to fill all available slots and applicants will be notified whether they have been selected or not. All successful applicants will receive a packet of information including the area where they can hunt, maps and anything else that might be helpful.

Mentors, dogs, guns, ammunition and lunch will be provided the day of the event. Should more people apply than we have space for, participants will be drawn at random from all who applied to hunt each day. If you have questions about this hunt, please contact Nancy Doran at (301) 777-2136 or at nancy.doran@maryland.gov

Stocked pheasant hunts
Mount Nebo WMA
Cunningham Swamp WMA
Savage River State Forest
Warrior Mountain WMA
Belle Grove WMA
Green Ridge State Forest
Indian Springs WMA
Myrtle Grove WMA
Chicamuxen WMA
McKee Beshers WMA
Old Bohemia WMA
November 23-24, 2019
Application deadline: October 18, 2019

Click here to Register

This is a do-it-yourself hunting opportunity during the upland bird hunting season. Junior license holders, apprentice license holders and lapsed hunters (those who have held a MD hunting license in the past, but not in three of the past five years) are invited to participate.

Applications will be accepted until October 18, 2019. A random lottery drawing will take place to fill all available slots and applicants will be notified whether they have been selected or not. All successful applicants will receive a packet of information including the area where they can hunt, maps and anything else that might be helpful.

Space is limited at each available area in order to provide a positive hunting experience, as well as increase the hunters chances for bagging a bird or two. Should more people apply than we have space for, participants will be drawn at random from all who applied to hunt each day, at each area. If you have questions about this hunt opportunity, please contact Nancy Doran at (301) 777-2136 or at nancy.doran@maryland.gov


For questions about these hunts, please contact Nancy Doran at (301) 777-2136 or email her at nancy.doran@maryland.gov