Tag Archives: Rookie Sportsperson Program

Field Notes of a Rookie Sportsperson: All-day Upland Adventure

Aaron Berscheid gives last-minute instructions to a group of novice hunters
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Aaron Berscheid gives last-minute instructions to a group of novice hunters who are members of the Rookie Sportsperson Program.

One of the things my daughter, Natalie, and I have enjoyed about learning to hunt is the friends we’ve made during the process.

For the past 10 months, we have attended Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) offered by CPW’s Southeast Region headquartered in Colorado Springs. The RSP takes people like Natalie and me, who have little or no outdoor experience, and teaches them outdoor skills. Hopefully, attendees are inspired to get outside and sample all the adventures available in Colorado’s great outdoors.

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Field Notes of a Rookie Sportsperson: My first dove hunt

Sunset on the farm
Photo by © Travis Duncan/CPW.

My first dove-hunting trip as a member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) had nearly everything I could want in an outdoors weekend: camaraderie with friends, dinner of fresh game, card-playing and storytelling, camping in a beautiful and remote wildlife area and a chance to use my new skills as a hunter.

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Field Notes of A Rookie Sportsperson: The Language of Hunting

RSP participants receive archery instruction.
Rookie Sportsperson Program participants receive archery instruction as part of CPW’s recent Bang ‘N Twang event.

First we learned about “Bang ‘N Twang.” Then we were taught to “keep your chicken wing up.” Finally we were instructed about our “cheek weld,” how to “stay in your gun” and taught to identify “puddle ducks” and “potholes.”

Who knew hunting has its own language? Thanks to our participation in the year-long Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) offered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Southeast Region in Colorado Springs, my daughter, Natalie, and I are becoming fluent in hunting. 

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Field Notes of A Rookie Sportsperson: Walleye Fishing

Natalie shore fishing at  Lake Pueblo State Park.
Shore fishing with Natalie at Lake Pueblo State Park. Photo by © Travis Duncan/CPW.

Back in May, my daughter, Natalie, and I experienced our first hunt together and came away with great father-daughter memories, even if we didn’t bag a turkey as we hoped.

In July, Natalie and I went on our first real fishing trip together. Oh, we tried fishing before, but I was clueless about catching fish. This trip we knew what we were doing because we’d been taught by Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts on how to bait, cast and land fish. And CPW officers even accompanied us and coached us as we fished.

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Field Notes of A Rookie Sportsperson: Evaluating the Harvest

Hunting blind and turkey decoys.

At an early meeting of the 2019 Rookie Sportsperson Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Frank McGee told us we should each have our own individual response to the question: Why do you hunt?

“Because I guarantee you,” McGee said, “at some point, you will be asked that question.”

After a couple turkey hunting trips with our Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) mentor, District Wildlife Manager Logan Wilkins, and with my daughter, Natalie, I feel like I’m a little bit closer to knowing my answer.

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Field Notes of a Rookie Sportsperson: Excitement Builds for our First-ever Turkey Hunt

Natalie examines turkey feathers
Natalie Duncan, 14, examines turkey feathers during a Turkey Hunting 101 class that was part of CPW’s Rookie Sportsman Program which introduces newcomers and novices to Colorado’s outdoor opportunities including hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. Natalie is taking the class with her father, Travis Duncan, who is a CPW public information officer.

Calling a turkey is much different than being called a turkey. In fact, it’s much harder to call a turkey than I ever dreamed because the birds are really smart.

Thanks to what we learned about the wild, upland ground bird in our Rookie Sportsperson Program (RSP) classes in April, my daughter, Natalie, and I have a much deeper appreciation for wild turkey and are more excited than ever as we prepare to go seek them out on what will be our first-ever turkey hunt.

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