2016 GALLERY OF GUNS FUTURE LEADERS OF CONSERVATION ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS
IHEA-USA is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Gallery of Guns Future Leaders of Conservation Essay Contest winners! Each will receive a $2,500 scholarship from Gallery of Guns for their winning essays.
Christian Moroder, 18 of Mequon, WI
Breck Heller, 17 of Waukesha, WI
Christian’s and Breck’s essays were chosen by a panel of volunteer Hunter Education instructors from over 100 entries received from recent Hunter Education course graduates across the country tasked with answering the question: “Now that you have completed a hunter education course, what do you feel is the best way to reach new hunters and/or shooting sports enthusiasts in the future?”
Congratulations Breck and Christian!
CHRISTIAN MORODER PLANS CAREER IN NURSING WHILE VOLUNTEERING TO IMPROVE HABITAT
By Joe Arterburn
Also, Hopes to Pass On Hunting Heritage He’s Learned From Father, Grandfather
An active student/athlete, Christian Moroder participates in basketball and soccer, and was named captain of the soccer team during his senior year, and is active in school assemblies, liturgies and theater. He also volunteers with the Boys Scouts and Campus Ministries, work which he says has influenced his desire to serve others.
He is a trained hospital volunteer and works for his father’s landscape company to save up for college expenses. Christian’s goal is to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering School of Nursing and earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and sees that as a step in helping others not only through health services but also the ministry.
A waterfowl and deer hunter, Christian was introduced to hunting by his father. “Since I was very young, my father introduced me to and helped me appreciate nature and the outdoors,” he said. “As I grew, I could see the bond my father had with his dad and siblings when they hunted, even discussed hunting, at my grandfather’s land in the Sheboygan Marsh. I sensed hunting was fun for them. But the planning—where everyone would be, the expected weather, neighbors’ boundary lines—was just as important.”
Christian knew what it would take to join that circle of hunters. “So I learned early on that enrolling in hunter safety class would be an important step in learning to hunt,” he said. “In the spring of 2010, when I was 12 years old, I earned my Hunter Safety Education Certificate. My hunter safety class, sponsored by the Fredonia Hunter Education Group, was exciting because after each classroom lecture session there were demonstrations and practical exercises. Our instructor, Mr. Momper, even had a Wisconsin DNR warden come in for a lecture with a question and answer period.”
Near the end of the course, the class moved to the Ozaukee County Fish & Game Club where participants were allowed to choose firearms to shoot. “All the practical exercises enhanced the learning process,” Christian said. “It also helped develop and grow my confidence to hunt. I feel very fortunate to have taken such a high-quality course with dedicated volunteers who stressed all aspects of safety, not just handling guns safely, but in creating a safe hunting environment for all.”
There is a lot to enjoy about hunting, Christian said. “When hunting or being outdoors, I truly enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, wildlife and water, and the peacefulness—all so very different from the urban environment and daily life,” he said. “I have certainly enjoyed each experience as I have learned something of nature, and of myself, each time—be it seeing a deer rub, identifying a duck in flight, or coming home wet and hungry. But my favorite experience has always been the feeling inside of sharing that outdoor experience, that time, with my family.”
After college, Christian plans to switch his volunteerism to a conservation group. “Since I’ve learned a lot working for my father’s landscape business, I would like to get involved in habitat restoration,” he said. “And someday, down the road, I hope to pass on the hunting heritage and knowledge of my father and grandfather.”
BRECK HELLER HOPES TO FOLLOW FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS AS HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR, MENTOR
By Joe Arterburn
Breck Heller spends springtime on the soccer field and summertime playing baseball, but come fall you’ll find him hunting pheasants with his father and two dogs, Nuka and Kita.
His ultimate quest is to be the best sportsman he can be, as he says, “Winning a big game or bagging a rooster is an awesome feeling. However, doing it with integrity and respect gives me even greater satisfaction.”
“My hunting heritage starts with my family,” he said. “I have fond memories of going to my uncle’s hunting cabin in northern Wisconsin when I was young. Deer camp was an annual ritual that consisted of my dad, grandfather, uncles and great-uncles. Although I was too young to carry a gun, I enjoyed the atmosphere of being with the guys and listening to all the hunting stories of years past. Becoming old enough to hunt was a rite of passage.”
Breck started hunting at age ten, thanks to Wisconsin’s then new Mentor Hunting Law, passed in 2009, “just after I turned ten, so I was part of the inaugural group who benefited from the law,” he said. “I learned a lot those first two years under the Mentor Hunting Program.”
Breck hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps as a hunter education instructor (more than 20 years) and hunting mentor. “I was fortunate my dad always took me on youth hunts or learn-to-hunt trips,” he said. “However, some kids aren’t as fortunate. I would like to someday mentor kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. I have to finish high school and college first, but I think this is a good way to give back to the sport I really enjoy.”
A straight-A student through high school, Breck, currently a junior, plans to study biomedical engineering in college. He finds it rewarding to help others learn, volunteering as a tutor for his psychology class as well as participating in Key Club, which has afforded him the opportunity to volunteer at a local food pantry and other community causes. He is an active 4-H member and has served as treasurer and has shared with others his interest in entomology and rocketry.
For Breck, hunting and being outdoors is a welcome break. “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually enjoy getting away from my normal routine of classes, homework, soccer practice, baseball games and even my X-Box,” he said. “Hunting is just different. The quiet solitude of patiently waiting for a whitetail to pass my deer stand or a brisk walk following my dogs hot on a pheasant trail gives me time to just relax.”
In addition to pheasant, deer and turkey hunting, he also enjoys fishing, camping, hiking and working on his grandparents’ 300-acre organic farm near LaCrosse, Wis. “Although some kids may not appreciate spending spring break planting crops, I have a better appreciation for taking care of our environment. Maintaining a healthy habitat on the farm also proves to be great for hunting. I shot my first turkey on the farm two years ago, making all that hard work worthwhile.”