Like a lot of whitetail hunters, Bobby Warner’s next hunt begins as soon as the current one ends. He moves tree stands in the winter, plants food plots and picks sheds in the spring, dials in his 25 trail cameras on a couple thousand acres throughout the summer, and come fall, he sits in his stands as long as it takes to arrow a mature buck.
But what makes him remarkable is his work with Beyond the Backyard, an organization he founded in West Virginia to help get kids involved in hunting. Bobby was about to take his oldest son on his first hunt, when the boy asked why none of his friends were hunting that year. It was the first year in West Virginia's history that hunting license purchases had gone down from the year before.
Bobby found that a lot of parents didn't hunt and didn't know what to do with their kids in the outdoors. Among the parents that did hunt, he found that they didn't make it a year-round pursuit, so when out of the blue they said to their kids, "Hey, let's go hunting this weekend," there was no preparation or anticipation, and "No wonder the kid's freezing and bored."
So he decided to do something about it. He didn't really think he'd be able to make an impact, but he made a hunting club just for kids, where only kids could be members, and if nothing else, his kids and their friends would have something to connect over.
"I thought if we were really lucky, we'd have maybe a couple hundred kids in West Virginia," he says. But the club grew legs, and there are now 15,000 members in 21 states.
Membership is free, and each week, Bobby and his single employee send the kids emails and Facebook updates with cool ideas of what they can do with their parents in the outdoors year round. They also get entered to win hunting trips and invitations to fish at club fishing derbies.
"The pipe dream is to one day pull away from my law firm and work full time on this and give the kids more opportunities," he says.
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