Non Profit Spotlight
The Hunter Recruitment Project (HRP) out of Americus, Georgia is dedicated to hunter education, integration, and opportunity. HRP founder, Jamey Shirah, along with Baker Leavitt, joined Riton CEO, Brady Speth, and VP of Sales and Marketing, Austin Legg, on a podcast to talk about the HRP mission along with past and future hunts.
HRP and the Riton podcasters are avid hunters and grew up hunting. They recounted their first hunts as young boys. Brady remembers shooting elk in Montana when he was young and the HRP team have similar stories. They share their true passion for the sport and say that one of the greatest rewards of HRP is teaching and seeing others experience the same passion they have for hunting. Georgia provides ample opportunity for both new and experienced hunters to gain confidence and improve skill. Everyone benefits from their hunts in Georgia as the deer are abundant and ratios are proportional.
Jamey and Baker elaborate on how HRP isn’t just shooting deer left and right, but rather, a holistic hunting experience. This includes observing the animal and gaining an understanding of how it operates, setting up a blind, zeroing, and processing the animal. Jamey explained that even experienced hunters like him can still learn as he asked, ‘Did you know that a doe will grunt? Yeah, she’ll just look back at the baby deer and let out a grunt for them to follow. I just learned that’. Another reality of hunting that HRP participants experience is understanding what a successful hunt is. Baker and Austin describe their experiences mentoring hunters who’ve been on a hunt for days without a kill and begin to lose confidence and patience then on their last day shoot a buck. It’s not just about the kill, they explain, it’s about integrating new hunters that wouldn’t otherwise have such opportunities and educating them on all aspects of the sport.
Members of the Riton team have participated in HRP hunts. I sat down with Riton Marketing Manager, Emily Phillippi, to chat about her experience with HRP one month ago.
Q: What were you anticipating going into HRP?
A: Going in, I didn’t have many expectations. I have never hunted before, and I was unsure if I was even going to take “the shot” if it presented itself to me. I was excited to go back east and enjoy the fall leaves!
Q: Describe the mentor-hunter experience.
A: I went hunting with Julia Stallings. She is on the USA Trap and Skeet team. It was great to hunt with another female. We had a great time in the blind and she was very helpful with helping me relax and breath before my shots.
Q: How many days were you out there?
A: We hunted Thursday evening – Saturday Evening
Q: How long did it take for you to kill a deer?
A: I attempted a shot on Thursday night but missed a bit high. It was a tough shot. But then I got a doe on Saturday morning and then another one Saturday evening.
Q: How has the HRP experience changed your outlook on hunting?
A: I never had a negative view on hunting, I just never was given the opportunity to learn and experience it. I really appreciate the excitement that seasoned hunters have taking new hunters out and them being successful.
Check out Emily’s experience on YouTube: Whitetail in Georgia – Emily’s First Hunt | The Hunter Recruitment Project – YouTube
Chris Varas, Riton Quality Control, will participate in an HRP hunt this month. I had an opportunity to ask him about what he’s anticipating.
Q: What are your expectations going into this experience?
A; Being an immigrant, my family didn’t bring a hunting culture to this country from Chile. I gained an interest when I came to the US, so I’m self-taught. I loved reading books about the outdoors like ‘Hachet’ when I was younger. Now I’m building hunting into my own family tradition. I want my kids to learn this skill.
Q: What’s your hunting background?
A: I’ve hunted in AZ (dove season), and Michigan.
Q: What are you hoping to gain from your HRP hunt?
A: Experience and skillset in order to pass down to my children.
Be sure to listen to Riton’s latest podcast with HRP and you can find out more information about HRP at How the Hunter Recruitment Project Recruits New (Adult) Hunters (freerangeamerican.azurewebsites.net) and @thehunterrecruitmentproject.