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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Field to Fork workshop aimed at helping inexperienced hunters learn archery skills

Designed for adults with little or no experience hunting white-tailed deer with bows and arrows, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) will host a Field to Fork workshop on Saturday, July 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Field to Fork workshops have been held in Kentucky for several years.This is the first year for an archery workshop, but in the past workshops have been held on wild turkey and waterfowl hunting.

“It’s an opportunity for those who want to harvest their own venison and learn archery skills,” said Samantha Seaton, who will conduct the workshop at the Fern Creek Sportsman’s Club, at 15400 Brush Run Road, in southeastern Jefferson County.

Field to Fork workshops have been held in Kentucky for several years. “This is the first year for an archery workshop, but in the past, we’ve conducted workshops on wild turkey and waterfowl hunting,” said Seaton.

The workshops are an outgrowth of the Locavore (local food) Movement, which started in the early 2000s. Locavores purchase beef, lamb, pork, vegetables, honey and canned foods at farmer’s markets, or directly from local farmers through community supported agriculture (CSA) shares — not food shipped in from other states, but food that comes from within 100 miles of where they live.

They want to know where their food comes from and how it was handled, and they want to be invested in the process, so harvesting food from the wild is a natural extension to that philosophy. The workshop will teach locavores how to become hunters so they can harvest venison from local deer herds.

Venison as table fare is unmatched. It’s the original local, free-range, grass-fed red meat, with fewer calories than beef or pork, and less cholesterol than chicken.

Venison as table fare is unmatched. It’s the original local, free-range, grass-fed red meat, with fewer calories than beef or pork, and less cholesterol than chicken.

The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory reports that a serving of three ounces of venison has 133 calories and only about seven grams of fat. This includes more than four grams of monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke if eaten in moderation, according to the American Heart Association.

Venison is a good source of protein, too, as well as vitamins B12, B6, B3, and B2, and trace minerals – phosphorous, selenium, zinc, and iron.

Deer in the wild are also free of the growth hormones and antibiotics that commercial beef cattle typically receive when they are fed corn and other grains while being “finished” in feedlots.

The so-called Golden Triangle, the counties in northcentral Kentucky, between the state’s three largest metropolitan areas of Louisville, Lexington and the suburbs south of Cincinnati, have dense deer herds.

Archery hunting opportunities abound on farms, wildlife management areas open to public hunting, and rural subdivisions and gated communities where firearms hunting is not practical. Kentucky’s archery season for deer is more than 4 1/2 months long and bag limits are generous. Harvesting antlerless deer (does) helps reduce herd growth and keep buck to doe ratios in balance.

Kentucky’s archery season for deer is more than 4 1/2 months long and bag limits are generous. Harvesting antlerless deer (does) helps reduce herd growth and keep buck to doe ratios in balance.

Seaton, who is an archery specialist and outreach coordinator at Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, 2,600 acres in Meade County, said attendees will learn the essentials of bowhunting deer and processing venison.

“We restructured the deer workshop from less time lecturing to more hands-on involvement,” said Seaton. “In the morning we’ll take about deer biology and the history of deer hunting in Kentucky, then Jefferson County conservation officer Cristian Casper will discuss deer hunting regulations.”

Attendees will then be served a venison-based lunch, and a chef will discuss ways to prepare venison.

“After lunch, we’ll split into three groups, and everyone will learn about field dressing and skinning deer, treestand safety and shooting (bows and arrows).” said Seaton. “Field to Fork workshops are a way to connect with nature through the personal development of skills.”

Participants must be at 18 years of age or older and the event is limited to 21 people. Additionally, a valid hunting or fishing license is required to take part. The registration fee is $25.

A mentored hunt if offered to everyone that takes the program.

For workshop registration click here: app.fw.ky.gov. Contact Samantha Seaton directly via e-mail at samantha.seaton@ky.gov

Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for KyForward. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

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