Beginning in 2010, the Explore Bowhunting curriculum was developed by the Archery Trade Association (ATA) to teach students (aged 11-17) basic skills used to bowhunt. The program not only teaches students how to interact with nature using ageless hunting skills, but it also teaches an appreciation of what is around them and enhances their encounters with the outdoors. As one of the first states to pilot Explore Bowhunting, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is excited to coordinate with state schools to conduct the program, particularly as a compliment to the highly successful National Archery In Schools and Oklahoma Hunter Education in the Schools programs.
The Explore Bowhunting curriculum contains 22 different lessons covering such topics as: how to use calls to lure animals into range, how to estimate the distance to a target, how to field dress game animals, how to shoot a bow from different positions and understanding animal ecology - specifically the white-tailed deer. One of the most popular is the activity called: Shot Placement.
Example activity: Shot Placement
In the activity, students are given common food items such as pudding, corn kernels, whipped cream and food coloring to construct the simulated internal organs of a white-tailed deer. After the heart, lungs, liver and intestines are formed with different sized sealed bags, the “organs” are placed inside a large cardboard tube used for anchoring fence posts into the ground with concrete (available from home improvement stores). After the simulated deer is built, students take turns shooting the target and then examining their arrows to determine how effective the shot was. According to one trained Explore Bowhunting teacher who is also an avid bowhunter, the exercise mimics real-life bowhunting scenarios.
How can your school join the program? Explore Bowhunting Training is being offered to a limited number of schools each year who have been conducting both the National Archery in Schools Program and the Oklahoma Hunter Education in Schools Program. Due to finite funding, a limited number of schools will be offered the Explore Bowhunting Training each year. Schools who are actively participating in the OKNASP and Hunter Education programs will receive the highest priority.
What is required of teachers? Attend a one-day training workshop, teachers will receive the curriculum, student handbooks as well as training materials such as deer anatomy charts and DVDs. Additionally, each school system receives a resource trunk that has a large collection of visual aids. Within each trunk there are three different types of bows (compound, crossbow and recurve), game calls, camouflage clothing, shooting release, broadhead samples, deer lures and scents, a trail camera, arrows, and much more.