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Teller Wildlife Refuge and the Montana Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program partnered recently to present a Women’s Waterfowl Weekend.

Ten women from Montana and as far away as North Dakota traveled to Teller Wildlife Refuge to spend the weekend learning about all things waterfowl.

Staff from Teller and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and a group of knowledgeable volunteers delivered lessons on the history of waterfowl management, Montana waterfowl hunting regulations, Duck ID, gear and decoys.

Ducks Unlimited donated mallard calls and caps and local chapter volunteers presented a lesson on basic duck calling. The Hamilton Trap Club hosted the shooting safety portion of the day and assisted with helping everyone practice shooting that mimicked an actual hunting situation.

At the end of the day, the group had a hands-on demonstration on how to process their harvest in addition to being able to sample some favorite recipes of the volunteers. The following morning, the ladies and their instructors headed out to the blinds for their first duck hunt.

The Women’s Waterfowl Weekend was an excellent opportunity to introduce the community to the Teller Wildlife Refuge and the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. Both organizations are committed to introducing people to the outdoors and to the importance of wildlife conservation.

State and federal fish and wildlife agencies depend on funding from hunting and fishing license and permit sales to manage wildlife populations. Providing workshops like this demonstrates how private landowners, nonprofit conservation organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies can work together to support the national R3 movement that focuses on recruitment, retention and reactivation of sportsmen and sportswomen.

“We had a wonderful group of enthusiastic women,” said The Teller Wildlife Refuge’s Karen Zumwalt. “They were all engaged and excited to get out there and find more opportunities to practice what they had learned in this class. I have heard positive feedback from everyone and one student sent me a picture of a beautiful roast duck that she prepared for her family.”

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