First Hunt Foundation gets boost from RMEF

FHF Idaho State Director Mark Rumbaugh of Kooskia teaching a new hunter in Montana how to shoot before his successful whitetail deer hunt at the Boone & Crockett Ranch event.

KAMIAH — The First Hunt Foundation (FHF), headquartered in Kamiah, has just received a grant for $96,850 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Torstenson Family Endowment for the year 2021.

“This grant is very timely and appreciated,” said Rick Brazell, founder and President of First Hunt Foundation. “Covid has slowed our operations down, but now we’re building back up to full speed and the funds will help expand our operations across the country.” The foundation is now operating in 29 states with the goal of being in all 50 in the future. Brazell started the foundation to help train new hunters and keep our hunting heritage alive when he retired from the US Forest Service in 2015.

“It’s amazing to see the energy and growth since we started and all the things our amazing volunteers are doing across the nation,” Brazell added.

There are currently 524 background checked volunteer mentors operating across the country. The funds will be used for a variety of things, which could include equipment for taking youth and others hunting, publications, and attending outdoor shows to recruit even more mentors to train new hunters.

FHF recently started a new program called, “Connecting Heroes & Hunters” where they seek out veterans and first responders who either hunt or want to learn how to hunt. The goal is to give veterans and others a new mission of teaching hunting skills to others in their peer groups. It is starting to take off and expand, as well, according to Brazell, and the grant funds will be used to help it grow.

FHF’s local partnership with Freedom Northwest Credit Union also gets some of the credit for its success, according to Brazell.

They purchased the foundation’s truck, which is a traveling billboard as it goes across the country attending numerous outdoor shows where new mentors are recruited.

“We’re hoping to work more with FNWCU to expand their membership base, as well as ours, as we both continue to grow,” Brazell said. One of FHF’s next goals, he said, is to find a suitable location for an office location in Kamiah where the foundation could establish a full-time position helping coordinate our efforts across the country.

To learn more about First Hunt Foundation, go to www.firsthuntfoundation.org.

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