The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has teamed up with the University of Montana Wildlife Biology Program to offer the first ever ‘Wild Sustenance’ curriculum to college students.

RMEF spokesman Mark Holyoak said the classes highlight ‘the fundamental role that hunting plays in society and wildlife conservation.’

It's called the wild sustenance program or the wild systems curriculum I should say,” said Holyoak. “Basically it's a three credit course that we're working hand in hand with the University of Montana to create, and it basically gives an opportunity for students and different majors to give hunting a go and learn quite a bit more about it.”

Created especially for those with little to no hunting experience, but would like to learn, Holyoak described what to expect in the Wild Sustenance classes.

“It offers different modules that will allow them to learn about hunting,” he said. “Maybe some of the classes will help them overcome some of the obstacles. Because a lot of people who don't hunt or haven't had that background just don't know how to get started and so the course will focus on that. “There are different types of technologies that will be used to help them learn about anything from safely handling firearms to field dressing, and then just how to communicate about hunting, and how to talk about others about it.”

The main emphasis with the Wild Sustenance curriculum is conservation and to better understand hunting as it pertains to conservation and responsible wildlife management.

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“Some of the other things that are really important to us as an organization are that we strongly believe that hunting is conservation, and that there are some really strong ties between hunting and conservation,” he said. “Hunting is a key cool a key tool in wildlife management; in putting good objective numbers on the ground of both predator and prey to make sure our wildlife populations are healthy. In addition, hunting supplies all sorts of funding for wildlife management and to help look after our animals and our landscapes that are out there.”

Holyoak said additional workshops will be available to the general public including curriculum and virtual reality modules at the RMEF Elk Country Visitor Center.

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