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The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has once again awarded nearly a half million dollars in grants to help state agencies expand hunting opportunities. The grants were awarded through NSSF’s Hunting Heritage Partnership program. Among the states to receive grants are Alaska, Montana and Wyoming.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game received two grants, for $15,296 and $15,000. The first will be used to help identify strategies to recruit new hunters–particularly from the state’s urban areas–and to develop a network of experienced hunters to take newcomers into the field and mentor them. The second will help fund a series of hunting clinics aimed at recruiting new small-game hunters.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was awarded $55,000 for a project designed to enhance waterfowl hunter recruitment and retention. Identifying trends associated with regulations and participation, officials said, is key to making more informed and effective management decisions and will provide a stronger platform for retaining existing hunters and recruiting new hunters.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department received $35,000 for promotional and educational materials for its “Private Lands, Public Wildlife” program, which works with private landowners to gain access to private or landlocked public lands. Since 1998, the program has added 354 landowners and 482,396 acres for walk-in hunting access, and 578,672 acres in hunter management areas.

Woodsmanship 101

If squirrels suddenly begin to bark and you’ve done nothing to disturb them, be alert. Their chattering may signify that game is nearby or approaching.