Outdoor activities are better with friends – including hunting. Noah Luedtke introduced his friend, Preston Cuddy, to turkey hunting last fall through the Take ’em Hunting challenge and gave him the start he needed. Now, Cuddy is keeping active in the field.
On July 13, Luedtke, of Martell, accepted the Take ’em Hunting grand prize John Deere Gator utility vehicle, donated by AKRS Equipment, in a ceremony at the AKRS Crete store.
Luedtke, 24, was selected randomly from more than 1,100 participants in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s challenge to take a beginner hunting and submit a photo online. It was the third year for the seven-month challenge designed to encourage people to invite others to try the sport. Since the program began, it has introduced hunting to an estimated 5,400 Nebraskans of all ages.
Luedtke, whose father introduced him to hunting, took Preston on his first ever hunt; they hunted turkeys in southwest Nebraska.
“He grew up always wanting to learn how to hunt, but never had the opportunity to do so with his family,” Luedtke said. “He told me he wanted to experience hunting but did not know where to start.
“Preston’s passion for hunting grows more with each trip,” Luedtke added. “I am thankful to have been the person to kindle his ever-growing love for hunting.”
Said Cuddy, a 24-year-old from Bellevue, who has gone hunting with Luedtke at least six times since their first hunt: “It was an awesome experience. I’m grateful for everything he and his family has done for me. They didn’t have to do that. It was just something they were willing to do in trying to get a little fire burnt in me to keep doing that.”
Participation in outdoor activities such as hunting fund the conservation of the state’s fish and wildlife and is a great way for people to spend time outdoors getting in touch with nature.
“Hunting, spending time outdoors and recreation bring people and communities together,” said Kent Kirchhoff, vice president of sales and marketing with AKRS Equipment. “We are proud to partner with Nebraska Game and Parks and other partners to encourage people to spend time outdoors and take up the sport of hunting.”
Nebraska Game and Parks and partners ask hunters to bring someone new because not everyone had the opportunity growing up. It’s also a sport that takes support to get started.
“It is great to see hunters like Noah introducing friends to hunting,” Game and Parks Director Tim McCoy said. “The best hunting experiences are with friends, and we hope our hunters keep inviting people along. Thank you to AKRS Equipment, our partners and all the participants in the challenge. I encourage you to keep taking ’em hunting to help give beginners the confidence they need to pick up hunting.”
In addition to AKRS Equipment, Take ’em Hunting sponsors included the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Heartland DSC, all which provided prizes, such as gift cards or outdoor gear. Prizes were awarded throughout the challenge to participants drawn randomly.
To learn more about the Take ’em Hunting program, or to see participant stories, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/TakeEmHunting.