TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —  Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is working to introduce more women and youth to hunting.

The foundation recently announced a $13,000 grant to the National Wild Turkey Federation – Gator Gobblers.

Their recent actions come as a result of a sharp decline in the number of Americans who hunt. The foundation says while the older generation is retiring from hunting, too few younger people are taking their place. The decline in hunters leads to significant ecological and economic issues.

“We’re committed to getting people outdoors and preserving our outdoor heritage,” said Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida President and CEO Andrew Walker in a press release. “This project is an important step in exposing new audiences, including the next generation of conservationists, to hunting.”

In order to pass on the traditions of safe, ethical hunting, and teach conservation principals, new hunters will learn all aspects of hunting and harvest their first animal in a safe environment.

To ensure that environment, 40 acres of slash pine plantation will be converted to a healthy, diverse groundcover for the benefit of wild turkey, northern bobwhite quail, and the insect species those species depend on for food, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

“This grant will allow us to continue our initiative of ‘Save the habitat. Save the Hunt,’ which focuses on wildlife habitat conservation and restoration as well as create new hunters through mentored hunting events,” said National Wild Turkey Federation President Missie Schneider.

Hunting provides an essential funding source for conservation work and is an important and effective tool at maintaining population balance of game animals. By leasing lands for hunting, hunters provide an important economic incentive for farmers and other private landowners to manage their lands for wildlife.

Grant funding came from the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” license plate, which includes an image of a deer. Twenty-five dollars from each purchase of the deer tag supports protection and management of lands open to public hunting, hunting safety programs, and training in archery and other shooting sports.