If you support QDMA; if you have donated to help us keep Working for Whitetails; if you are a member or a raffle-ticket buyer or in any other way stand behind this organization and our mission, then you need to see the photos of what you accomplished. Below are some of the adults you took hunting for the first time this past season, and a lot of them got their first deer.
The photos below are just a few from the 25 Field to Fork events QDMA organized across 17 states last season. QDMA’s Field to Fork is a food-focused hunter recruitment program for adults from non-hunting backgrounds first piloted by QDMA in 2016. It has expanded rapidly since then through the work and support of our network of Branches, volunteers and industry friends. Attracted first by the opportunity to acquire a wild, healthy, local, sustainable food source on their own, Field to Fork recruits then participate in a season-long mentored program that teaches them how to hunt.
The success of Field to Fork has far exceeded expectations. More than 80% of participants are continuing to hunt on their own after the mentored program ends. Many of them are introducing others, sharing their venison, buying hunting equipment, and becoming actively engaged in hunting and wildlife conservation.
We intend to grow Field to Fork even larger, but we need your help. If you’d like to help us create many more new adult hunters this season, become a QDMA donor or member today. If you’d like to participate by organizing a Field to Fork event in your community, contact Hank Forester now.
Help us keep Working for Whitetails by recruiting new adult hunters this season like the ones below.
Georgia – National Headquarters
The first QDMA Field to Fork event in the nation was the pilot project held in 2016 at QDMA National Headquarters in Athens, Georgia. With the help of mentors and volunteers from the Athens Branch, the program has been more and more successful each year. Many of our first-time hunters are now returning as mentors to help others learn how to hunt, a trend we’ve seen in every location.
Our community-based pilot in Athens, Ga. continues strong with many of our past participants mentoring for the program and in their peer groups. One neat evolution was the addition of Academy Sports as a sponsor of Georgia Field to Fork events.
Mentor David Kidd (left) and Joerg Mayer with Joerg’s first deer, which he killed on David’s hunting land.
Frank Kennedy (left), who is a former Field to Fork hunter now returning as a mentor, instructs participant Tom Schuman during the training portion of the event.
After several outings with her mentor, Becky Peter was ready to try hunting on her own. She killed her first deer, this yearling buck, while hunting alone on QDMA National Headquarters and successfully blood-trailed it by herself.
Georgia – South
The former QDMA National Youth Hunt has now been converted over to a “Destination” Field to Fork hunt for new adult hunters, and the same generous private landowner continued to host the event. Because the site is near Georgia’s Fort Benning, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit was again able to participate and provide rifle training for all participants.
New hunter Ashley Webber learns to use a rifle and gets marksmanship tips from SGT Jarrod McGaffic of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
Field to Fork hunters learn how to field-dress, skin, quarter and butcher a deer from guides at the host property.
New hunter Josh Devereaux (right) and his mentor Jonathan Screws admire Josh’s first deer.
QDMA and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosted a Field to Fork event on QDMA Board Chairman Rick Dahl’s land, joined by Natalie Krebs of Outdoor Life. Four new hunters age 20 to 38 were given proper deer hunting knowledge and the opportunity to harvest their first deer. Photos provided courtesy of Natalie Krebs of Outdoor Life and Emily Porter of MDC.
Participants and mentors in the Missouri Field to Fork event.
New hunter Archimedes Stuk (left) poses proudly with his first deer alongside mentor Natalie Krebs.
The success of Field to Fork has far exceeded expectations. More than 80% of participants are continuing to hunt on their own after the mentored program ends.
Field to Fork mentee Lauren Ferland poses with her first deer.
QDMA Board Chairman Rick Dahl instructs his mentee and new hunter Emily Collins about proper shooting techniques.
Ysabel Guevera handles a firearm for the first time under the guidance of QDMA employee and Field to Fork mentor Jake Grages.
New hunter Ysabel Guevera (left) finds a unique memento from her experience – the remains of her mushroomed copper bullet just under the hide of the deer she harvested. QDMA’s Matt Ross and other volunteers look on.
New York – Greater Rochester Southern Tier Branch Event
QDMA’s Greater Rochester Southern Tier Branch led by Branch President Bob Rose built on their 2018 success with more new hunters and mentors. They hosted their second annual community-based Field to Fork program for eight local hunters.
Participants of the Greater Rochester Southern Tier Branch Field to Fork event in New York.
Kate Graham used her own .243 to take the biggest buck of the class with her mentor Mo Tidball.
After an all-day sit, Myles Enstrom, with mentor Terry Ackerson, made a great 60 yard, off-hand shot.
Chas Belfield was the first participant to fill his tag on opening day with QDMA employee and mentor Mike Edwards.
J.T. Haag was able to take this spike buck with mentor Bob Rose just 10 minutes before legal shooting time was over. The buck was about to shed and knocked his antlers off when he went down.
New York – Upper Hudson River Valley Branch Event
QDMA’s Upper Hudson River Valley (UHRV) Branch held its inaugural Field to Fork program in 2019, which included hosting sign-ups at two county farmers markets, two evenings of deer hunting instruction, an official full-day New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hunter Education course, range day, two butchering demonstrations and a Culinary Social. In total, nine new hunters ranging from age 29 to 64 participated, of which six got their first deer. Program support in various forms helped make the event successful, thanks to Cornell Cooperative Extension – Saratoga and Warren County, QDMA’s Capital District Branch, Slate River Farms, as well as the New York Chapter of BHA.
Participants of the Upper Hudson River Valley Branch Field to Fork event in New York.
New hunter Dieuseul “Deuce” Joseph of Manhattan with his first deer, killed with a single shot at an amazing 162 yards. The shot was possible because his mentor provided a Caldwell DeadShot shooting tripod, a welcome addition for a new hunter.
The words “life changing” were muttered after Nick McDowell, pictured left, with his mentor and UHRV Branch president Dave Collins, killed his first deer. Nick went on to say the Field to Fork program was “one of the most transformative, exciting and memorable experiences I’ve ever had. I just want to say thanks to QDMA for being a pivotal influence in our nutrition and way of life.”
Sandra Reulet of Saratoga Springs with her first deer, an adult doe that she killed with her own firearm, an heirloom passed down from her father-in-law, and on 60 acres of land which has been in her husband’s family for several generations.
Hany ElDiwany of Catskill with his first deer.
New hunters were given the opportunity to see how to properly butcher and field dress a deer shot earlier that day.
Pennsylvania – John Heinz NWR
QDMA was approached by the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge to help with a mentored deer hunting program at “America’s first urban Wildlife Refuge.” The program recruited 36 local mentors and closed the park for two, four-day hunts.
Hunters, mentors and staff of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania gather for a group photo for the Field to Fork hunt.
Nile Jones of Philadelphia steadies his aim while Dominique Brown, also of Philadelphia, watches the target.
New hunter William Rechner poses with the mature buck he harvested at the John Heinz NWR with mentor James Harbert (middle) and Lamar Gore, refuge manager.
Meagan Thorpe (left), Hunter Education Administrator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission , with her mentee Natalia Zhadanova of Philadelphia.
Youth hunter Zubin (far right), age 13, poses with a mature doe (his first-ever deer) that he harvested at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge while mentored by Derek Stoner, Hunter Outreach Manager for the Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania – The Bearded Buck
The Bearded Buck of Pennsylvania invited QDMA to partner on a Field to Fork hunt for Traeger Grill employees, which made for an amazing event! If you want to have the time of your life, host a Field to Fork hunt for first-time adult hunters who are professional chefs!
QDMA’s Kip Adams (left) shows Pennsylvania Field to Fork participants the different cuts of venison from a white-tailed deer.
Mentor Corey Slater (left) with Remick Smothers of Traeger Grills with Remick’s first deer.
Austin Lawerence of Traeger grills (right) and mentor Hank Forester with Austin’s first deer.
Danielle Bennett, better known as barbecue champion DivaQ, with her first deer.
Pennsylvania Field to Fork participants enjoyed many wild game meals off the Traeger Grill as part of the event.
QDMA hosted our second-annual “Destination” Field to Fork hunt at the Clear Fork Ranch near Albany, Texas for 10 new adult hunters (photo below), in partnership with the Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA). Photos courtesy of QDMA volunteer Luke Laha.
Lorraine Madewell gets rifle instruction from a guide and mentor before the hunt begins. She used what she learned to make an effective shot on her first deer ever (below).
New hunter Phillip Larson (left) gets help dragging out his first deer from his mentor Ryan Vaughan.
Tyler Witmer not only got his first deer on the Field to Fork hunt with QDMA, he also got a great buck!
Mentor Kristian Santibanez (left) congratulates new hunter Luke Burcham on his first deer.
Robert Byford with his first deer, photographed against a beautiful Texas sunset by QDMA volunteer Luke Laha.
Fun, fellowship and good venison meals are a key part of Field to Fork. Here the Texas hunters enjoy venison meatballs and social hour after the day’s hunt is over, while QDMA’s Hank Forester shares a story.
Would you be willing to recruit and mentor new adult hunters? If not, would you be willing to donate to QDMA to help us expand the Field to Fork program to more communities? We need your help, now more than ever. Visit the Field to Fork page to learn more, and thank you for making Field to Fork possible!