The United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation (USYF) introduces American youth as young as six years of age to hunting and conservation.
“What we do is we get young people anywhere from six to seventeen or eighteen or so and get them out in the field. What I mean by getting them out in the field is get them out on the hunt after they’ve taken their hunting safety course and have their safety briefing,” Dahl said. “What we’ll do is teach them what they’re about to hunt. For instance, if it’s going to be a pheasant hunt, we’ll say to them before they even go out into the field what that bird eats–what its habitat is–what its tracks look like so they know what they’re going after–what are its predators,” said USYF Director David Dahl to Breitbart News on Thursday at the annual Shot Show in Las Vegas.
Located in Freeport, Illinois, USYF is a 501c3 that is staffed by volunteers. The volunteers are the ones that taking the kids and teens out on hunting and clean up excursions.
“Right along with that there’s a thing we do at our headquarters which is in Freeport, Illinois. We have what they call ‘river clean.’ Our river clean every year in the summer is cleaning up 26 miles of a local river that we have. Now with these local chapters that we have spread across the country, we’ll also incorporate going to a city park–go to any national park and clean that one up,” Dahl explained, adding, “We get these other chapters involved doing the outdoors things as well. You’re getting young people not doing the stuff with their thumbs and playing video games.”
According to Dahl, USYF gets their funding from different raffles and donations. For example, the brand new state of the art SOF223 sitting on USYF’s table at Shot Show will be raffled off. “And we have our banquets. People will contribute certain things like Africa safaris and at banquets we’ll auction them off,” Dahl said.
Dahl has a separate group of 15 to 20 young people he teaches trap to, because he is an hour and a half from USYF headquarters.
“They’re trappers, I call them. They’re all responsible. They’ve gone through my safety. So they’ve gone through the hunter’s safety course. So they know all about the shot gun. They know its safe, because I’m giving the instruction. And if I’m not giving the instruction, my wife will give the instruction. We’re bringing in more females as well. So these young ladies are ever so ecstatic to say, ‘Hey, I can bust some clay birds and I’m having a good time.’ It all boils down responsibility.”
It’s always better in the rural areas. We’re making inroads in the urban area. In a case and point is a lot of young people we get going through our classes go through our hunter program. We look for young people from an urban setting. We look for that young person from a broken home–that young person that is disadvantaged. And they in turn, explain to their peers, ‘Hey I had a good time today. I really did something cool.’