MONTGOMERY, W.Va. – Cadets at Mountaineer Challenge Academy recently got the chance to hone their deer hunting skills with the assistance of some West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Police officers in Roane County on Dec. 10.

WVDNR Police partnered with the academy, which is a educational program for at-risk teens, to help the cadets in a special antlerless deer hunt as a continuation of a years-long partnership between the WVDNR and Mountaineer Challenge Academy dating back to 2009.

WVDNR have worked with the Mountaineer Challenge Academy dating back to 2009 (WVDNR Photo)

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the Natural Resources Police to partner with the Challenge Academy staff in providing an opportunity for these young cadets to harvest their first deer safely and ethically,” said Col. Bobby Cales, chief of the WVDNR Law Enforcement Section. “We enjoy watching these young hunters take what they’ve learned in our hunter education program and utilize that knowledge in a field setting.”

According to a release from the WVDNR, “the four cadets chosen for the hunt had never hunted or fired a gun before.” Money and equipment for the hunt was donated by the Jackson County Hunting Heroes organization and the West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officers Association.

“We want to thank everyone who helped make this hunt possible,” said Cales. “Retired Florida Game Warden John Partain and his wife Julie opened up their farm and home to the cadets for a meal and Mr. Ronnie Stone, a neighboring landowner, made his farm available for the hunt.”

Paired with a WVDNR Police officer and a volunteer, three cadets were ultimately able to harvest a deer during the hunt, which were then processed by Hunters Choice in Shady Springs.

“The Mountaineer Challenge Academy is an exceptional program and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come and for even more opportunities for our agency to mentor these kids and help them get on the path to success in life,” Cales said.

To learn more about the Mountaineer Challenge Academy, you can visit You can also visit for more information about the WVDNR Police.