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October 14, 2010

DNR merges two successful youth programs

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Education section has been able to successfully merge two of the agency's most popular programs. The Take One Make One program (TOMO) conducted a hunt featuring Archery in the Schools students.

"The TOMO program provides more than 30 different hunts a year, but an archery-only hunt hasn't made it out of the planning stage until now," says Lynwood Kearse (TOMO Coordinator). "Archery in the Schools Program involves over 150 schools and 14,000 students in South Carolina." The hunt at Millaree Hunt Club in Columbia is the first of what is expected to be ongoing coordination between the two programs.

TOMO is an innovative approach to introducing and re-introducing the youth and families of South Carolina to hunting, fishing, and shooting sports. The program has the ultimate goal of halting the local and national downward trend in participation in these activities. TOMO is designed to teach students about the total outdoor experience, and to increase their awareness of the value of wildlife and the natural environment by encouraging experienced adults to "pass on" traditional outdoor skills.
"With so many children involved in our Archery in the Schools Program, we knew it was time to offer an opportunity for some children to transition into an archery hunting experience," says DNR Lt. John "Billy" Downer.

The hunt would not have been a success without David Shull, president of the Bowhunters of South Carolina, and his members who acted as guides for the students. Seven students from Georgetown Middle, Mid-Carolina High (Newberry Co.) and Burgess Middle School (Horry Co.) participated in the hunt. The four girls and three boys hunted using four compound bows, two crossbows, and one traditional bow. Tom Jeffery from Jeffery Archery fitted each archer with a bow as the members at Millaree Hunt Club in Columbia prepared a lunch for all. "This hunt is one of the greatest ideas by DNR to fill our ranks with more hunters and fisherman," says Jeffery.

Each archer was able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors, although no game was harvested on this hunt.

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