Author: Cassie Scott
Whether you’re a retailer or an outdoor educator affiliated with a wildlife agency, you can teach families and aspiring hunters about white-tailed deer with the Archery Trade Association’s board game, “The White’s Tale.” The game’s connection to the nation’s No. 1 big-game animal helps promote hunting and can boost business for the archery and bowhunting industry.
The game challenges players to “become” white-tailed deer and survive in the wild throughout spring, summer, fall and winter. Players learn about whitetail ecology and the deer’s eating, breeding and travel patterns. They must also find food, water and breeding partners; and avoid predators, hunters, diseases and other dangers. To win, a player must successfully raise five fawns.
“The White’s Tale” was designed originally as an educational tool for the Explore Bowhunting program, which helps instructors and program leaders teach students basic bowhunting skills. And, educators love it.
“As an Explore Bowhunting instructor, I was excited to have a board game that related to deer and hunting,” said Jay Rouk, Oklahoma’s Explore Bowhunting coordinator. “We had several lengthy games as our ‘deer’ faced the good and bad times. I soon discovered I needed more than one game and more time to play it during my classes. It quickly became a classroom favorite.”
It’s also a fun, family-friendly game that promotes hunting and is available for ATA-member retailers to sell. It doesn’t teach specific hunting tactics, but it educates prospective hunters about a big-game species that can be pursued across most of the nation. That knowledge helps any hunter hoping to get close enough to carefully place a lethal shot on a whitetail.
Why Sell ‘The White’s Tale’ Game?
“As an Explore Bowhunting instructor, I was excited to have a board game that related to deer and hunting,” said Jay Rouk, Oklahoma’s Explore Bowhunting coordinator. “We had several lengthy games as our ‘deer’ faced the good and bad times. I soon discovered I needed more than one game and more time to play it during my classes. It quickly became a classroom favorite.” Photo Credit: Dave Parker
“The White’s Tale” is professionally designed, and features the same high-quality packaging and display benefits of other top-shelf games sold in stores across America. It’s designed to grab the attention of kids who often visit archery shops for introductory classes, practice or leagues.
Writer Shannon Rikard explained three reasons retailers should stock “The White’s Tale” in a previous article on ArcheryTrade.org. She noted the game attracts attention, boosts profits and enhances youth offerings. Plus, part of the proceeds helps develop and support archery and bowhunting education materials and programs.
That’s why this game is also a great product for ATA-member retailers. Who doesn’t want to sell products, make money and promote bowhunting? Sounds like a win-win-win.
Agencies Love the Game
“The White’s Tale” is part of the ninth lesson in the ATA’s Explore Bowhunting curriculum, which has been adopted by 22 state wildlife agencies. Photo Credit: Cassie Scott
Twenty-two state wildlife agencies adopted and teach the Explore Bowhunting curriculum. We zeroed in on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to see how that state’s educators like using the game.
According to Rouk, “The White’s Tale” is included in each of the 50 Explore Bowhunting kits given to Oklahoma schools each year. Rouk said the game is good for outdoor education because it’s fun to play, and introduces students to whitetail biology.
“The topics presented in the game model what deer encounter as they struggle to complete a successful life,” Rouk said. “These are the same factors used when developing our strategies in keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”
The ODWC launched the program in 2011, and estimates that about 300 schools are teaching the Explore Bowhunting curriculum. Rouk said each school teaches about 56 students annually, which means about 16,800 Oklahoma students complete the program each year. Meanwhile, the ODWC provides 50 Explore Bowhunting kits to schools each year to expand the program.
That means all those students play “The White’s Tale” as their ninth activity in the course.
Oklahoma Educators Vouch for ‘The White’s Tale’
The White’s Tale can be played by two to six people ages 8 and older. It was created for the ATA’s Explore Bowhunting program, and is also available for ATA-member retailers to sell to families with beginning hunters. Photo Credit: Cassie Scott
Frank Blair, Owasso 8th Grade Center:
“‘The White’s Tale’ has been a great boost to our curriculum. It’s an innovative way for my students to learn about the lifecycle of deer in a fun and instructive way. In the students’ view, they’re just playing a game, but they’re asking me questions: ‘What does this term mean?’ or ‘Why does the buck get this and the doe doesn’t?’ That shows me they’re learning and processing information in a way that’s much more interactive than just passive listening.”
Brad Cowan, Locust Grove Middle School:
“‘The White’s Tale’ brought to life several things we talked about during Explore Bowhunting. The students could see a bigger picture of just how hard it is for a white-tailed deer to survive! We could discuss in detail what carrying capacity really means, and see how limiting factors, such as road crossings, can affect the population of deer in a habitat. As with any activity, the more experienced players were able to help and explain some of the terms. It was a great teaching tool for my outdoor-education class. ”
Ty Rhoades, Chandler High School:
“My students understand that to become an effective hunter, they must learn about a deer’s habitat and environment. With ‘The White’s Tale’ board game, students not only learn about seasons and how deer adapt to their environment, but also how they rely on their habitat for survival.”
Those endorsements send a clear message: “The White’s Tale” makes learning child’s play, and it’s even fun for adults. Trust me on this one, or see for yourself!