The NWTF New Jersey WITO Chapter recently hosted a three-day mentored archery deer camp event. Prior to arriving at camp, the WITO hunters participated in a six-week virtual deer hunting workshop. After weeks of anticipation, it was time to implement the newfound skills.
The New Jersey WITO Chapter partnered with the New Jersey State Park System, which provided lodging in the scenic High Point State Park, a 16,000-acre area home to unrivaled views of three states and a picturesque landscape.
The WITO participants hunted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s nearby Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge, a location for many other NWTF hunting heritage events.
“The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge opened their doors to our hunters and allowed us to hunt on refuge land, as well as provided much-needed resources and assistance in preparing the hunt and blind locations,” said Cristina McGannon-Jones, NWTF New Jersey WITO Chapter President. “The Wallkill River Refuge has been a generous partner of the NWTF mentored hunt programs since 2014, and this year was no exception. We are grateful for the time, dedication and enthusiasm of their employees and FWS law enforcement who made this year's hunt possible.”
On Saturday, the hunters and volunteers met Violet, a deer tracking dog, and her handler Renee Gyuro who spoke to the ladies about their program and services. Violet is certified by the United Blood Trackers and permitted by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Hunters were also joined in camp by Allen Sutton, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife conservation police officer, who spoke on several topics, including safety in the woods, game violations and what to expect when you are field checked by an officer.
“In camp, the ladies were welcomed by our camp chef, who prepared amazing wild game meals and also led a workshop in wild game cooking on Sunday morning,” McGannon-Jones said. “The ladies prepared venison in cast iron and sous vide styles, which provided lunch for all. Several mentors, some of whom are Deer Camp graduates, spoke about different types of hunting and demonstrated using climbers and saddles.
And, of course, the novice hunters got in the field to archery hunt deer.
“This hunt program was created to provide a safe, fun and encouraging environment for women to learn and gain confidence archery hunting deer with a focus on hunting public land,” McGannon-Jones said.