While everyone has been on lockdown from the nationwide pandemic, Georgia Coordinators have taken this time to put together and execute a plan to grow the conservation effort within Georgia S3DA. Georgia S3DA State Coordinator, Jake Martin, decided to take the state scholarship program and give it a conservation theme. S3DA students were encouraged to participate in an essay contest called “Increasing Participation in Conservation Within Georgia S3DA.” During the review and selection process, one of the students had an idea to generate a questionnaire and Georgia S3DA State Conservation Coordinator, Trip Penn took the suggestion and developed a questionnaire that students participating in the 2020 Georgia 3-D State Championship answered. The questionnaire was such a success that sixteen students were invited to a clinic held at Team On-Point S3DA in Appling, Georgia.
In this clinic, S3DA archers were taught ethical hunting, shot placement, tree stand safety, ground blind techniques, and crossbow familiarization. The original idea started with a Georgia S3DA sponsor, Casey Crawley of Culpepper Outdoors in Evans, Georgia. Casey approached S3DA about a program vision he had called “Bustin Bucks” and he worked directly with Trip Penn to make this event possible.
The event started with a quick presentation of explanations and definitions of terms such as broadside, quartering-away, and quartering-towards. A 3-D deer vital was used to help understand shot placement. Soon after, students were fitted for safety harnesses and were climbing a tree. For all the students present, it was their first time using climbing sticks and lock-on stands. The importance of safely ascending and descending the tree while using a lifeline and three points of contact was stressed throughout. “Safety always” was enforced but the focus was on shot placement, ethical shot choices, and proper technique while shooting from an elevated platform. “We recognize that many of these kids are not shooting high enough poundage to ethically hunt with a vertical compound bow yet, so we made a decision to add crossbows to the mix,” stated Jake Martin. The crossbow was a huge hit also as students and parents alike realized that they could hunt this year and not have to wait until they were strong enough to pull more weight.
The end of the clinic resulted in ten kids from six different S3DA clubs understanding that they have the knowledge, skill, and courage to be part of the North American Conservation effort. Everyone that attended the event will have the chance to go on either a deer or hog hunt during the Fall hunting season. Georgia S3DA would like to thank Culpepper Outdoors and Team On-Point S3DA for providing the equipment during the clinic and hosting the event.