It’s no secret that the numbers of hunters are decreasing across the country. A group of students at Eastern Kentucky University has taken upon themselves to do what they can to reverse the trend through peer-to-peer recruiting.
Humans are social by nature and that is no less true of college students. In fact, it may be more so. The members of the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) chapter came together to bring their friends into the great outdoors.
The group started in late 2013 with just a few members and has grown to over 20 members that meet regular with their faculty sponsor, Dr. Charles Elliot. Meetings are run by the students with guidance from Elliot and the NWTF Regional Director.
During meetings, students develop, plan, and execute events for introducing other college students to hunting. Many of the members have never hunted prior to joining the chapter. Activities are also in cooperation with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s College Mentor Program.
Not all hunts and activities are centered on the group’s namesake bird, but include a recent squirrel hunt for fellow members and students. Above is Katie Fletcher (left), chapter president, and fellow member Becky Bloomfield (right). This was Bloomfield’s first squirrel hunt.
The group also has hosted events for area high school students to introduce them to the outdoors and the NWTF. They plan to select a local high school senior to recieve a college scholarship in the future. The NWTF scholarship program is a strong mechanism for recognizing young outdoorsmen and women.
The chapter attends the NWTF National Convention each year in Nashville, Tennessee. The above picture shows some of the chapter’s founding members at the convention in 2015. The contingent attending the upcoming convention has almost tripled in number.
While at the convention, the group meets numerous industry notables and has participated in forums for youth about conservation and industry trends.
The EKU student chapter came about when current chapter president, Katie Fletcher, contacted the NWTF about starting Kentucky’s first college chapter. Fletcher has been a member of the NWTF for years and grew up in a family devoted to the outdoors. She simply wanted to find a route to bring her friends and fellow students into the outdoors.
Anyone that is interested in findout more about the NWTF college chapter program or any other of the programs they offer can contact the NWTF by clicking visiting their website.