Thanking the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act
November 22, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
In the heart of Yuma, Arizona, lies a beacon for ethical and responsible outdoor recreation: The Southwest Wildlife Foundation (SWF) and Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club (YVRGC). While they may have different names, the two organizations are part of a greater whole — a sort of partnership with conservation and community at its center.
Local Yuma sportsmen founded the YVRGC way back in 1936 under the original name, “Yuma Rifle and Revolver Club,” before shortly changing it to its modern incarnation just a week later. While the gun club initially allowed both men and women to participate, it eventually became an all-men’s club, with women forming their own separate organization for most of the 20th century; however, in the early 2000s this changed, and the club allowed both men and women to join in on the outdoor fun.
Nowadays, the gun club is perfect for any outdoorsman in the area. They pride themselves on being inclusive for everyone with an interest in the outdoors. This is especially true for anyone who wants to get the youth involved: The organization has a plethora of free activities to interest younger generations in the great outdoors. They understand the importance of recruitment in pursuit of keeping these cherished outdoor traditions alive in a time of modern distractions. There’s nothing like spending time outdoors to calm the mind and reconnect with what’s important after all.
The club practices these principles all the time in a myriad of ways. The YVRGC offers free education classes, free fishing events, free youth archery, and more. They even reach out to the public too, like when they went to a local women’s organization to teach archery. On top of that, the club also hosts events such as the youth dove hunt and annual quail camp. These come with food provided by the club with volunteers operating the entire activity. As for members-only events, they feature big fish competitions that require a reservation and entry fee. There’s something for everyone at the YVRGC and it couldn’t be easier to participate; check out their website and join today.
What makes this club stand out from the rest is how comprehensive it is when it comes to conservation. Whereas other organizations might focus on specific species, the SWF and YVRGC work on everything to do with wildlife. They are one of the oldest hunter education programs and the sheer variety of opportunities makes them truly unique.
Recently, the club increased their involvement in their local conservation scene. The organization is advocating for positive wildlife laws, attending game commission meetings and improving general rules over time. One example of their impact on their community is how they made a difference to a law involving fishing that affected the whole state. The organization argued that there’s a difference between warm waters and cold waters and that a law like that shouldn’t flatly apply across the whole state of Arizona, and they successfully got it changed.
They are currently fighting a solar plant that wants to turn the Sonoran Desert into a solar farm. For the organization, it’s important to keep outdoor areas accessible to the public and in a natural state. Additionally, they are working to continue the club’s greatest success of building water holes, wells, and windmills. This is to increase access to key resources throughout the Arizona wilds with their current Water for Wildlife project.
Overall, the YVRGC has an active community that is passionate about conservation and increasing access to the outdoors. Their work is inspiring a new generation of recreationists.
So, if you enjoy seeing wildlife in the desert southwest of America, being able to see animals like the bighorn sheep in their natural habitat and spreading the love of the outdoors to a younger generation, then you should consider joining the club — you would be welcome with open arms.