2020 PULASKI AREA LEARN TO HUNT MENTOR INFORMATION
“The Heart of this LTH Program lies in the dedication, commitment and passion you as a Mentor Brings to this program and the LTH Child”
This above quote has never been more important than this year!! We have upgraded and changed many policies with our LTH Mentor program to enhance our LTH experience. Please read all sections of our Mentor program binders to learn more about our New Mentor Trainee Program and new ideas to make this LTH Program even that much better. We were just awarded “again for the third year in a row” the “Top LTH Program in the State” from the Wisconsin NWTF and we know it is because of our Mentors and their efforts!
There is a Need for LTH Mentors
We would like to thank you for even considering being a mentor for a novice hunter for this program. We believe it will have a lasting effect on the number of people involved in hunting over the next coming years. We are in need of your help for our youth in the area to experience one of the most exciting hunting opportunities we have, hunting the Spring Gobbler! We will be offering this program to the youth and our hope that you or some other veteran hunter may be able to help out. (pass this information onto others who you feel may want to help our youth!) Although this section is lengthy, we have learned from experience that up front communication is the key to success!
The Pulaski FFA / NWTF Learn to Hunt program days of the hunts are posted in the Important LTH Dates page, Note: This year all of our LTH hunt dates are not during the Wisconsin statewide youth turkey hunt weekend and does not conflict with Easter Sunday!!
The Mandatory Class and Firearm Safety Range Day will be at the Pittsfield Trap Club for our firearm range day. This activity is mandatory for you unless you have contacted Pat Kryzanek Mentor Coordinator or Terry Erdmann, our LTH Coordinator, ahead of time. During that class, the children will meet you and learn essential hunter safety procedures, calling techniques, set ups, etc. Our DNR Professionals also have details to share with you as mentors. There will be a lot of questions so we would truly appreciate you being there to meet the kids, their parents, and our LTH Coordinators.
We are structuring this day so that one goes out on the range and the other stays inside for the classroom portion of the LTH Program. If you can only come for a short period of time, please let us know and we will have your LTH hunter do the classroom portion first, so you are with them for that portion. (This meeting will provide the information and materials needed for the program. We HIGHLY suggest all mentors attend on the 18th so you can work with your LTH Hunter and parents. IF you are unable to attend, we do not want to lose you as a mentor. We will arrange for separate meeting with you. We NEED every great mentor we can get, so we will find a way for it to work! )
Highlights for the LTH YEAR
1. Pat Kryzanek is our LTH Mentor Coordinator
Pat Kryzanek has done a great job over the years as the one of our main Mentos out in the field helping everyone else!! He will be THE PERSON to talk to, e-mail, text, or call in regards to ANYTHING for our LTH Mentors! He will be working with the Team Captains, Vicky, Terry, and Lori on a regular basis. He will also be able to help each mentor with anything.
2. Team Captains and their Teams
Once again we are expanding our Mentor Teams into a more cohesive unit where our Team Captains work closely with 3 to 4 other mentors of their team and Pat Kryzanek to provide the best experience possible. They, as a unit will find the best lands possible for their team and their LTH kids. Using the Landowner Matrix, the Mentor Teams will be able to see where everyone is hunting and what lands could be available. The Team Captains will work with you as a TEAM to help set up "your area" so we are all on the same page. We are hoping this will help alleviate any communication problems that can occur and provide a better experience for the kids! Mark VanUs will work with our Land Coordinators.
3. Mentor Trainee Program “How can I help- as a new mentor?”
As in previous years, we wanted to offer more to adults that wanted to become Pulaski LTH Mentors. What we have designed is a Mentor Trainee program that would pair our Veteran Mentors with adults that would like to become Mentors for our LTH Program. We have Pat Kryzanek heading this up with the help of long time mentors, Jack Schwartz and Joe Henn. We hope to keep adding mentors to our community to help the ever growing need for our LTH kids.
New mentors join the program at all levels of experience. Because of this we use a mentor trainee program. The program is not necessarily meant to teach calling or hunting techniques, but to learn the in’s and out’s of the program. It can, however, be utilized by novice turkey hunters interested in becoming LTH mentors. The LTH board of directors will decide when novice hunters move on to mentor independently with a child. Experienced hunters will join a current mentor in preparing for the hunt, setting up blinds, and mentoring a child. In the past more experienced hunters have welcomed the chance to share techniques and tricks with other skilled outdoorsman. This mentor training program helps new members to more easily integrate into the team concept of the LTH program. The length of the mentor/trainee relationship will vary, both parties must feel comfortable with the trainee taking a child out independently. A board member must give verbal approval to end training status. New mentors are no longer able to mentor their own children. They are still welcome to join as a trainee and co-mentor their child.
Current mentors are still able to take their own child on the hunt. If interested in becoming a new mentor please contact Pat, Joe or Jack.
Jack Schwartz at 920-619-8862 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Henn at 920-903-0165 or email at email@example.com
4. Parents Mentoring their own Children
Regarding parents mentoring their own children, we are trying to model what the intentions of the Wisconsin DNR LTH program are, and that is to give our novice hunters who do not have the background or resources to get involved with their hunting heritage, the opportunity to experience this in a safe and educational setting. With that in mind, the DNR has strongly asked the LTH programs from within the state to focus on the children who do not have those resources. If you, as a family, have that hunting background, you already know how to hunt turkeys, and are already very experienced in the outdoors. We are asking you, as a parent, to please mentor your own child during the statewide youth hunt. We have so many children who just do not have that hunting family background but want to participate in the LTH program. We must give them first priority. Plus with our LTH mentor base being so limited, we ask that you consider enrolling yourself as a Pulaski LTH mentor, or into the LTH Mentor Trainee Program, to give more kids that opportunity now and in the future to enjoy the passion we all share for the outdoors.
5. Website and HELP if you do not have computer access
Our website is http://www.learntohunt.net It is up and running and is able to do online registration for everyone including you the mentors, youth hunters, and landowners. All the forms you will need are easy to find and complete online. If you are having trouble using Windows Explorer we ask that you try again using Google Chrome, this has solved some problems in the past.
We have put everything into the Google Document format. What this allows us to do is to make changes in real time and coordinators can make changes at any time. To access these forms you will need to set up a gmail Account. This is FREE and you will be amazed how well this works and is easy to set up. Just google Gmail and then click on “Sign Up”. Please email Terry and or Pat your new Gmail address so we can exchange information more easily. (The gmail account will also give you countless Google Chrome Extensions that are FREE and can be used for many other applications, you can still keep your old email address)
Now with that said--we know many of our best mentors do not have access to computers, smartphones, etc… That is not a problem at all. We will help you with “anything” you need to get you signed up, and correspond with you in any way necessary so you as a mentor can help these kids with the most special time of their life!! Just let Mark or Mary know--and we will make it happen for you!
6. Equipment for our LTH Mentors
You are so important for our LTH program, we want you to have the best equipment possible! We had another successful LTH Raffle, along with business donations, and now were able to purchase a 16 foot, enclosed trailer to house all of our wonderful equipment that you as the mentor can use. To also help the kids hit home when they get their shot, we are purchasing specialized tube sights that will actually just clip onto the front of the shotgun. This will ensure that the kids MUST look down the barrel and keep their heads on the stock. We are once again working with Wade Jeske, owner of the Lena Swamp Archery, to provide our LTH Mentors with red dot scopes mounted on to the LTH firearms at cost. Wade has been a long time supporter and our goal is to offer the red dots to you at little or no cost. We have found that the Lena Swamp LTH Children have a 95% success rate while using a red dot scope vs open sights. I think it has a lot to do with the computer games that all use that type of sight in the game formats.
Mentors, we have a new 3 Person Baronette Grounder 350 Hub Style Blinds, 20 gauge Turkey Loads, a very comfortable heavy duty bag chair for you and a bag chair for our young hunter , a mono pod rest or firearm Cradle for disabled or very small framed hunters for each LTH mentor to check out and use for the program--for FREE!!! These are wonderful, spacious blinds that can easily hold three people and make the total experience the very best it can be in the field. We also have an extra 3 person blind for each of our LTH Teams to use as a rotational blind for your team. We will be able to put up these blinds in the various lands we have secured and rotate mentors to these spots that are already set up and ready to go. These blinds will be used for mentors to “float” to different spots we have in case your hunting spot is ruined at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances like, the neighbor kids driving their ATV around your hunting area, or another person out in the woods walking their dogs, etc. Sometimes this just happens. This will help you as a mentor be able to move to totally unfamiliar lands and be on birds in a great spot immediately.
We do not want you to just count on one of these LTH TEAM Program Blinds for “your” permanent spot to take a LTH child to because you did not communicate with your teams and have not scouted ahead of time. Every year we hear from mentors, a day or two before the hunt starts, saying “Hey, where can you put me!” Folks, we work so hard to provide a wonderful experience for the kids, please work hard at finding that special spot that will bring that child so much joy. Our Land Coordinators work their tails off to secure properties for our LTH Program, so communication with them is VERY important. The main thing is not to wait until the last minute! We have an awesome program, but it all starts with your commitment to help this child have the time of their life. Turkey or no turkey!
We have also noticed that many parents just cannot find the proper firearm for their child to use and thus we see everything from cheap, shoulder pounding single shots, to 12 gauge goose guns for a 65 lb child to use. All ingredients for total failure! We REALLY need you as a mentor to try and find a youth type 20 gauge with a turkey choke that will do the job when that time comes. If you do everything right and that gun just is not meant to kill turkeys, you will be amazed how sad and disappointed the kids will be when that Tom trots off unscathed. As Coordinators, we have tried to find 20 gauge pump action shotguns designed for kids. Try your best to find one for the child to use. We do, however, expect you as the mentor to always keep the firearm, and the shells, with you at all times. The only time the kids will be touching the firearm is when you are sitting in the blind and are ready to actually hunt. Please stay away from 12 gauges as much as possible unless your LTH child is an avid user of one. Note: We do have a few 20 gauge turkey shotguns from some of our mentors and two LTH Program 20 gauges set up for turkey hunting. The main thing--if you do not have a 20 gauge turkey gun for the child to use, or the family does not, we are here to help. We need great mentors, and we can always find a firearm if there is a need for one.
Other equipment available for free for the mentors to use include, cheek comb risers to get the kids faces down onto the stock, the snap tube sights, monopod gun rests, etc…. Believe me--if you need it--we can get it for you usually!!
We hope that you can at least help us out on one of the days the kids can hunt. Although ANY days you can help are very much appreciated, we are hoping that you find this experience one of a pure mentorship for the entire process. A mentorship where you provide that much needed insight, skill, and love for the outdoors to our youth that goes way beyond just calling in a turkey for them.
On our website, you will find the agenda for the Learn to Hunt Program, a Mentor Registration tab, our Coordinators list, and a landowner permission letter for you to use to help you obtain hunting permission for this LTH Program. We will also have tri fold pamphlets that will help you with this process and can be given to those potential landowners explaining what our program is about. (All of our past landowners that have helped us in previous years will be receiving a letter in the mail with a copy of our new LTH brochure).
This year we are hoping each mentor can find and scout their own chosen properties for the hunt. We would like to see you try to secure at least 2 private properties within our area. Your Team Captain (which will be determined after you register and we talk) will be a great resource for this also for all areas of our school district and surrounding areas. So if you need any help, please drop your Team Captain an email. One stipulation we have, is that if you do obtain permission to bring youth into these new lands because of this program, PLEASE do not count on hunting there yourself later in the season or in future years. We have been doing this for over 22 years in the community and the only time we lose properties is when the overzealous mentors, or parents, hound the landowners for permission later in the season for themselves.
What we need to remember about our landowners
Understand that these landowners are there for the kids and if you are hunting there later in the season, or the following years, that is one more opportunity for a child lost. We have landowners that let us use their properties for our youth hunts only. If, however, these are properties that you have always hunted in the past and are friends of yours, that policy will not apply. Feel free to ask permission for any other times. We hope that you will extend that land opportunity for this hunt to the kids you are mentoring, since you probably know the lay of the land there better than anyone else. We also want you to know that if you gain permission to hunt on this land with one of our children in the program, that you and only you will be allowed to go on to this property unless you tell us otherwise. In doing this, we hope to secure the trust and relationship with the landowners and the mentors.
This is a special hunt and many of us bring children into our various “honey holes” around the area. We would not want it to be overrun by hunters one after another for the season! We are extremely cognitive to the limited hunting land opportunities and that many lands could not handle hunting pressures like that week after week. Understand that no other children or mentors can hunt on that property you have secured without your permission. Please make sure the Landowner understands that.
We need each hunter and mentor to stay on the property they have picked, unless their lands go "dry." Then we will change our overall plans at that time after a quick call to Mentor Coordinator Pat Kryzanek. Please plan on doing some hard core scouting of your properties prior to the hunt weekend to be sure of the area and boundaries you are hunting. (Use Google Earth and print off aerial maps to go over boundaries with the landowners.) This should also give you a good idea of where to set up for the hunt according to the turkey sign found in the area. We need each mentor to stop in and see the landowner of the property they are hunting before the big day so they can meet the people that are allowing you to hunt on their property. Please try to set up your large LTH (3 person) pop up blind, a shooting stick, three chairs for the parent, you, and the child, a few days before the big hunt, so the kids experience is smooth and enjoyable. Remember too, the turkeys this early in the year are not where they are in late April or May.
The Rules and Regulations
All normal hunting laws will apply. Safety is the highest priority along with respecting property and others while in the field. You are a representative of the Pulaski Area learn to Hunt Program during this program and are expected to teach / show the student good hunting ethics, respect, turkey hunting and some of the many things there are to see and do in the great outdoors. We also do not want you to let the new hunter carry a loaded gun while walking in the field. When you are safely in your blind, seated, and have reviewed all safety rules, then you may hand the loaded gun to the novice hunter. If you can bring along extra equipment for the hunter; hand warmers, gloves, head nets, camo clothing, toilet paper, etc., just in case the hunter doesn’t have sufficient equipment for their hunt, that would be great!!
Other policies of this program require you to have at least 5 years of turkey hunting experience and you must have a valid Wisconsin Driver’s License in case an emergency situation occurs. The LTH Coordinators will provide emergency contact information of the child and their parents before each hunt. We also must stress that there is no possible way for you to become a mentor if you have ever been convicted of a felony, have any illegal game violations, or criminal records which do not allow you to own a gun or hunt in the state of Wisconsin. Any law that prohibits an individual from purchasing a weapon also prohibits participation in this program. The Wisconsin DNR also has a Background Form that MUST be filled out, approved, and on file before you will be allowed to participate in this program. This form is also found here: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/anglereducation/LTFWaiverBackgroundCheckMentorAuthorization_4100-217_fillprint.pdf If you have already done the background check, the DNR will automatically re-run your check every 5 years. So you will only have to fill this out once. You will not need to apply again unless asked to by the DNR. Absolutely no smoking within the turkey blind with the children. Please have a cell phone with you on the day of the hunt to take care of any emergency situations and a digital camera to make that special day a lasting memory!
How do I sign up?
Online forms are available on our website http://www.learntohunt.net/. Complete the registration form for mentors and make sure that you have completed the DNR Mentor Background Form. At: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/anglereducation/LTFWaiverBackgroundCheckMentorAuthorization_4100-217_fillprint.pdf Download the other forms and letters you may need.
LTH Program Agenda (found in Range/Class Day link)
LTH Coordinators List
Landowners letters (found in landowners link)
Agenda for the LTH Program
On our website, you will find the detailed outline of activities for our DNR, Pulaski FFA/NWTF sponsored events.
All classes and activities, as explained, are mandatory for you unless you have contacted Mark VanUs or Terry Erdmann ahead of time. But remember, ANY time you spend with this new young hunter will pay HUGE dividends in the future! On this day the child will be actually practicing with a turkey shotgun provided to them at the Pittsfield Trap Club. We will have trained Hunters Ed Range Instructors on hand to help the child safely handle the 20 gauge shotguns at each station. We will provide the shotgun shells, targets, and advice that day.
Please try to take the youngster and their parent out to the hunting property to help set up the blinds and discuss strategies. Remember, our goal is not to just have the child harvest a tom, but also to understand the various hunting techniques in this sport AND HAVE FUN!!!! Please make sure the child and parent accompanying you on the hunt are dressed appropriately for the hunt. You will be amazed how the majority of people do not know how to dress for warmth. Talk to them about not wearing cotton on their skin and the value of polypropylene. A big thing is the boots the kids will have. Many will not be warm enough, so plan on having the kids come over with their parents with the clothes they want to use and actually see if what they plan on wearing, is going to work. Remember, these are 10 year olds and not hard core hunters like us!!! If you just do not have clothes, a 20 gauge turkey shotgun or boots that will work for the child, please contact Gary, Dave, or your Team Captain, right away and they will help you out. If you will be mentoring a girl, please make sure you have discussed with the parents and the child about bathroom breaks. Example, I have a Luggable Loo I use, which is basically a five gallon pail with a toilet seat clipped on to the top, for the young ladies to use that I keep in my truck. I know this sounds funny, but many girls have NEVER had to pee in the woods. So make this a discussion point before the morning of the hunt.
For the hunt itself, a good rule of thumb is to always make sure YOU have the LTH tag, the gun, the shells, and anything else that is needed for a successful day. These are kids that have never hunted before and may only be 10 years old. Help them to have success. They may not realize that their mentor will also be providing such things as hunting chairs, blinds, shooting sticks, decoys, calls, etc. Please try to get a great picture of them and their parent, with a digital camera, for later use in the newspaper and Facebook page.
We will also have a few other events for the children or mentors and we hope that you can accompany the child to these events so they help to give our children the “whole” experience from start to finish. We hold our annual LTH Landowner/Mentor/family Appreciation Potluck Lunch at the Pulaski High School Commons. We are asking that everyone, except the landowners, please bring a family sized dish to pass. The Pulaski Area learn to Hunt will provide BBQ, chips, and drinks. We are hoping to show the landowners the excitement in the eyes of the kids, show them our appreciation, and also give us an opportunity to personally give them our thank you letters!
In May, we have a special Mentor and significant other get together at Wouters Front (adults only) with many laughs, and stories!! Also--our annual NWTF banquet occurs and we hope that you can come to be recognized as we highlight our kid’s hunts to the community!
In June, we will have a special Turkey Fan Display Taxidermy Day for all of the kids and any mentors that would like to help! We will be providing pizza and soda for that event. You will find out that we are a very tight knit group of volunteers that love to help kids but also enjoy the camaraderie that all hunters enjoy!!
Other Helpful Notes:
Please call Pat Kryzanek, if you are interested in helping out in any capacity, as a mentor, guest demonstrator at the class, to help on the shooting range, or help with the landowner potluck, etc. at 920-655-0090 Please check our Facebook page titled "Learn to Hunt" for any updates or questions.
Pulaski Area Learn to Hunt Lead Mentor Coordinator