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Where to Learn How to Hunt Deer Day 5: How Adult Mentored Deer Hunt Programs Work

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Editor’s Note: Many of us learn to hunt deer from family members and friends. However, today fewer adults have the time to train young people in the sport of deer hunting. Most Fish and Game Departments across the U.S. offer courses to teach young people and adults how to hunt deer. My home state of Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) ( has set-up several days a year for an Adult Mentored Deer Hunt Program that is known as the R3 Program where adults can learn how to handle firearms safely, shoot, sight-in rifles, find deer and learn the equipment needed to be successful. These adult-mentoring programs aren’t only for in-state outdoorsmen but also for out-of-state adults who want to learn these outdoor skills. These newcomers to the hunting world learn the skills to become a deer hunter and are given instructions on how to hunt public lands and be successful. For instance, Alabama has more than 1-million acres of public-hunting properties where hunters can begin to apply the skills they’ve learned.

Students sit in on a lecture Recruitment:

“The first R in Alabama’s R3 Adult Mentored Deer Hunt Program means recruitment,” says Justin Grider, Coordinator for Alabama’s Adult Mentored Deer Hunt Program. “We want to recruit more hunters and teach them to hunt white-tailed deer, turkeys, waterfowl and small game. To recruit hunters, we need to teach and show them how much fun and how successful they can be when they participate in any or all of the hunting opportunities mentioned.

hunters practice aiming and shooting riflesRetention:

“The second R stands for retention, which means the ADCNR is bringing adults back into the game of hunting that may have left the sport of hunting at some time. Some adults may have hunted in their youth, but for many different reasons haven’t hunted in a very-long time.

Two hunters pose with their downed deerReactivation:

“The third R is reactivation. We’ve learned that oftentimes when people have hunted in their youth, then once they become adults, the strain of work, family and other activities limits their time for hunting. But as they’ve gotten older and have more time to hunt, we want to give them opportunities to return to hunting with a refresher course. They also want to have opportunities to interact with our instructors, who have had many years of hunting experiences. Rules and regulations and places to hunt change every year, so we want our students to be able to take what they’ve learned and use that information at the beginning of the season and/or the first deer-hunting trip of the season.

Deer in the field“In these courses, you’ll:

  • “Learn New Rules: One of the courses that’s taught is teaching the new rules and regulations for hunting Wildlife Management Areas – WMAs that are state-owned public lands. We also teach how to learn the specific rules and regulations that apply to each of the WMAs. If our students are from different states, we teach them how to find that same information for the state where they live. We also want our students to learn how to act and react and learn from wildlife biologists on these public lands.
  • “Know about New Hunting Equipment: The ADCNR also offers a session on new hunting equipment on the market that’s often better and easier to use and drastically can increase hunter’s chances of being successful. We discuss different kinds of blinds, how to set them up and how to use them. For example, apps like onX ( is one of the newest and best hunting tools for the hunter, showing boundary lines for WMAs, listing the name of property owners around the WMAs, allowing you to mark the places where you’ve discovered deer sign and helping prevent you from getting lost by using satellite receivers on your cell phone or GPS or even a compass.
  • “Understand How to Register for the Adult Mentored Hunt Program: The requirements to take these courses are the individual:
    • must be at least 19 years old;
    • be registered online at Outdoor Alabama’s website (; and
    • have a valid driver’s license.

hunters pose for a group photo“Go to Outdoor Alabama’s website, and click the hunting tab to find the link for the Adult Mentored Hunt Program to access all the information you’ll need, including dates and locations. There’s also a sample agenda on the website as well as the link for you to register. The basic course costs $20, and that includes lunch. All you have to do is show-up at the appointed time, date/location of that workshop.

“Learn about Public Lands to Hunt: The ADCNR has learned that one of the reasons many would-be hunters don’t hunt is that they aren’t aware of the public lands available that they can hunt, and how well these lands are managed to try and increase hunter success. However, if our students have private lands to hunt, everything they learn through our Adult Mentored Deer Hunt Program also will apply to private lands. The ADCNR has more than 750,000 acres scattered throughout the state, and these well-stocked WMAs are often within easy access to hunters from any section of the state or for out-of-state hunters. When you include U.S Forest Service lands and other public lands available, Alabama has over 1-million acres of land where the public can hunt (”

Cover - Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and BowsTo learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ brand-new Audible book, that became available August 2, 2022, and now is in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows” at Also look at “PhD Whitetails” at also available in Kindle, print and Audible versions. You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser. (When you click on either book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the books for free.) On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.Cover: PHD Whitetails

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