All things outdoors to all people outdoors.
At Northland Outdoors, that’s what we’re about — trail-breakers when it comes to content variety and demographics-busters in regard to audience.
Fortunately for outdoors types — and, even more so, those who don’t get outdoors or those who have strayed away — agencies across Northland Outdoors country also are embracing this mindset.
Mostly, those efforts involve women (although more and more are joining the ranks of outdoorsman, or rather, outdoorswoman each day) and children. And those who, in this case, don’t hunt or fish — or those who once did but, for whatever reasons, have not returned.
Recently, North Dakota Game and Fish, the natural resources departments in Minnesota and Wisconsin and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks all have stepped up with programs, efforts and initiatives directed toward getting the aforementioned outdoors.
Most involve hunting and fishing — there is so much more to outdoors in the Northland. But if they can get these outdoors hopefuls comfortable with hunting and fishing, other outdoor pursuits could follow; hunting and fishing can be among the most intimidating of outdoor activities for those not in the know.
North Dakota has both upcoming hunter education classes and an ice fishing workshop just for women.
As of Wednesday, there still were openings for hunter ed classes in Bismarck (Feb. 29-March 16) and Fargo (March 14-31). To enroll or for more information on both classes, go to apps.nd.gov/gnf/onlineservices/lic/public/online/hunterEducation/hunterEdCoursesList.htm.
Hunter education classes for women are nothing new across Northland Outdoors country. Nor is the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, with a winter and summer workshop upcoming in 2016.
Also in North Dakota, and in the next few weeks, is the Beyond Becoming an Outdoors Woman Winter Workshop. Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 9 at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles northwest of Minot, it’s intended to give women a feel for all things ice fishing.
Together with BOW instructors and staff, women will drill holes in the ice and set up fish houses. Gear — from ice augers to lures — will be on display, and instruction will include getting set up to ice fish as well as jigging techniques. Then it’s onto the ice for traditional ice fishing, and even spearing, along with hands-on instruction on filleting fish.
Cost is $50. To register, go to gf.nd.gov/education/becoming-outdoors-woman/online-registration.
In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources is hoping to reach yet another sector, with a new grant program aimed at recruiting hunters and anglers and keeping them outdoors.
According to the DNR, Angler and Hunter Recruitment and Retention Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $50,000 out of a total of $175,000 available during the first round of the newly created grant program. Application deadline is Jan. 29.
“This grant program will aid groups in trying to help more people take up fishing and hunting,” said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment and retention supervisor. “At minimum, we want to get people interested in the outdoors.
“Ultimately, we want more participation in these activities and we want those who already hunt and fish to continue to do so.”
Eligible projects must have a purpose that supports angler or hunter recruitment and retention. Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops, camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation.
Also according to the DNR, among other requirements, projects must have either a dollar-for-dollar match of the state grant award amount, or a match of the value of labor, materials or services of the state award. First-round projects must be completed in Minnesota, and be finished by July 2017. For more information, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/angler_hunter_grants.html.
In Wisconsin, a successful fishing equipment loaner program already is in place. The program, aimed at making gear available to beginners/kids, offers a variety of gear, including ice fishing equipment for the upcoming season, at no charge at more than 50 sites around the state.
The Wisconsin DNR currently is offering groups looking for service projects an opportunity to help with the program — in the form of routine maintenance of existing gear. For more information, go to dnr.wi.gov/topic/Fishing/AnglerEducation/LoanerContacts.html.
An offering from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks also is geared toward kids — the monthly South Dakota Children in Nature electronic newsletter. The December newsletter is about all things sledding, and the newsletter as a whole helps give kids a place of their own in South Dakota’s outdoors.
The getting-kids-outdoors message is subtle here. And no, it doesn’t involve hunting or fishing. More along the lines of all things outdoors.
And all people outdoors.
Now that’s what we’re talking about.