Over the last few months, millions of NRA members and conservationists took part in our nation’s hunting heritage. Growing up, I was fortunate to be surrounded by those eager and willing to pass down this valued tradition to future generations. I am thankful that there were many people in my life who ignited my passion to hunt and mentored me through the years so that I could experience the greatness of being afield. This includes my father, the Keicher and Cipressi brothers, the Nichols family, Marvin Winter, Gerry Lewandowski, and all of the great members of the Western and Central NY Chapter of SCI.
Make no mistake, hunting is a tradition worth fighting for. And your NRA does more for hunting than any other organization, with several resources committed to conservation, education and the preservation of the sacred outdoor experiences that we all cherish.
After creating the first hunter education program in 1949, the NRA has instructed new hunters of all ages about how to be safe, responsible members of the hunting community. Considered the gold standard, the NRA’s Online Hunter Education Program is the most comprehensive instruction of its type available today. Best of all, the NRA Online Hunter Education Program is completely free. To date, this online course is available in 13 states and has provided instruction to over 65,000 hunters. To find out if this state-of-the-art course is available in your state, go to nra.yourlearningportal.com.
To help foster the next generation of hunters, the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge was developed as a fun way for kids to improve their hunting, marksmanship and safety skills. Participants receive hands-on training in eight disciplines, ranging from rifle, bow and muzzleloader shooting, to orienteering and wildlife identification. Open to anyone 18 years of age and younger, more than 1.2 million young people have joined the fun at local and state YHEC events since its inception in 1985. Expanding on the skills learned at basic hunter education courses, YHEC encourages safer, lifelong hunting habits. You can search for a YHEC event near you at yhec.nra.org.
Bringing together passionate individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders in their fields, the NRA Hunter’s Leadership Forum is on the frontlines in the fight against challenges to American hunters. In 2016, NRA Publications launched the NRA HLF website as a dedicated way to shine a light on the issues impacting the future of hunting and wildlife conservation. With our way of life under assault in the ongoing culture war, the NRA HLF works to reclaim the narrative on hunters, hunting and animal welfare by exposing misinformation shared by well-funded anti-hunting groups. Learn more at nrahlf.org.
Each year, more than 8.1 million meals are provided to the needy from Hunters for the Hungry, an NRA-backed initiative that aids hunters who wish to donate their excess harvest. The NRA works closely with state programs and affiliates, connecting interested individuals with programs in their area and creating public awareness through education, fundraising and publicity. Since 1991, Hunters for the Hungry has brought hundreds of thousands of pounds of venison to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks across the United States. Learn how to contribute at hfth.nra.org.
The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action has a long history of protecting the rights of America’s hunters and the hundreds of thousands of jobs generated through their outdoor activities each year. NRA-ILA works tirelessly to stop anti-hunting laws and regulations while championing pro-hunting measures that expand outdoor opportunities, promote conservation and increase access to public lands. To see the latest from NRA-ILA, go to nraila.org.
Finally, the Great American Outdoor Show, a nine-day event in Harrisburg, Pa., celebrates hunting, fishing and outdoor traditions treasured by millions of NRA members. Held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and spanning 650,000 square feet, it’s the world’s largest outdoor show, with nine halls featuring exhibits, seminars, archery, celebrities, concerts and more. Make plans to join us for the 2022 Great American Outdoor Show, which will be held February 5–13. This is a show you will not want to miss! Find out more at greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.