Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation, a two-year-old nonprofit organization based in Pleasant Hill, Mo., is poised to expand operations throughout Missouri, according to its president, Lee Vogel. MHHF conducts free weekend hunter education clinics designed to introduce youth, ages nine years and older, and their families to hunting and the outdoor way of life.
“The population of existing hunters is aging, and too few young hunters are coming along behind them,” Vogel said. “At the current rate of recruitment, Missouri cannot maintain good conservation levels. Our expansion will introduce and help to safely and ethically engage more youth in the sport.”
MHHF was founded to help recruit and retain young hunters. To date, MHHF has organized 13 hunting/trapping events in seven counties around the Kansas City metropolitan area. Ninety-nine youth and their families have attended these events, and MHHF now envisions a program that would provide clinics in all of Missouri’s 114 counties.
At its Sept. 13, 2009, annual meeting, MHHF unveiled a newly created PowerPoint presentation that its members plan to present to hunting and conservation groups statewide. The presentation explains MHHF’s purpose and goals, and seeks cooperation in raising awareness of the organization’s free clinics.
A recent $10,000 grant from JB Reynolds Foundation also has boosted MHHF’s ability to expand statewide, Vogel said, allowing the group to purchase equipment that will be used to recruit new members throughout the state and provide training in how to conduct free hunter education clinics using MHHF’s proven techniques. The organization also is working to secure funding for a full-time executive director position.
Also at its annual meeting, MHHF announced the recipients of its highest award, named in honor of Keith McCanse, the conservationist who, in the 1920s, laid the groundwork for modern-day conservation in Missouri. Dan Hertzog, owner of Hedge Hollow Ranch in Bates County, Mo., and Ty Green, assistant manager of the ranch, received the award. Both men were instrumental in securing early funding for MHHF’s hunter education clinics and in providing land for youth hunts.