Scholastic 3-D Archery is pleased to announce Ryan Miller as the Wisconsin S3DA State Conservation Coordinator. Ryan will work with Patty Reel, S3DA National Conservation Coordinator and Scott Fuchs, Wisconsin S3DA State Coordinator, to provide S3DA members across the state with outdoor-related activities and education that is centered around conservation. Ryan states, “Any day that I can be outdoors with my family is a good day. I hope to be able to pass down to these children the values that my dad and grandfather instilled in me. If we are not taking care of conservation by properly managing the resources we have and ensuring hunting friendly legislation remains, we could lose a lot.”
Ryan Miller was raised in a small fishing town in what is known as the Fox Valley in Winneconne, Wisconsin. He was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age. He spent a lot of his time fishing on Lake Winnebago and would often go deer hunting with his dad and grandpa. They installed strong morals and taught Ryan how to be a safe, ethical hunter. Before Ryan was old enough to go hunting on his own, he recalls sitting with his dad or grandpa when they went hunting and learning from them. Ryan primarily focused on gun hunting for deer, turkeys, and bear in northern Wisconsin. However, he gained an interest in learning how to shoot a bow and started bowhunting and shooting 3D archery to give himself more opportunities to get outside. Shooting a bow has also allowed Ryan and his dad the opportunity to spend even more time together.
In 2009, following a job offer in Tucson, Arizona, Ryan and his wife Sarah moved. Ryan loved Tucson, but he missed the woods of Wisconsin and couldn’t see himself raising children so far away from their family. In 2012, they moved back to Wisconsin and soon welcomed their daughters, Grace and Clara.
Grace has grown up watching the family shoot each week. She enjoyed shooting the toy bow her family got her so much, that at the age of five, they got her a Mission Radik as a Christmas present. Grace started shooting with the family fairly often but wanted some friends to shoot archery with as well. There were no archery programs in the area for someone of her age, so Ryan began looking for people to shoot with informally. He found a huge interest, but nobody knew where to start. That led Ryan and Sarah to offering beginner archery classes. They partnered with Critter’s Wolf River Sports and the American Legion Giles Luce Post 364 to get equipment and a safe place to hold a class, received training on how to be a coach, and things took off.
Ryan established Winneconne Youth Archery as a nonprofit. Last year, Winneconne Youth Archery more than doubled in size with about 35 youth participating at one point. He has offered free classes to over 260 youth. In addition, he has run “try archery” tents at community events, the largest of which was the 2022 Sovereign State Days family night, where over 150 youth went through the course.
Ryan said, “I learned about the S3DA program from Dan Schroeder with the Wisconsin DNR while Sarah and I were getting our coach certification. There were several kids in our classes that were interested in shooting competitively, so we decided to jump in and try it out. We had about a dozen kids join our team in the first year. We found a great group of parents and youth with similar values to ours and made many new friends that we enjoyed spending time with. I decided to apply for the conservation coordinator position because I feel it is important to have someone encouraging these youth to be outdoors and teaching them how to maintain and improve the resources we have.”
Ryan is currently working with Raised at Full Draw to host a half day bowhunting skills workshop. They will be teaching an overview of the basic skills needed for a safe and ethical beginning bowhunter. He is also planning to host some bonus events during some of the 2024 Wisconsin S3DA regional and state events. He plans to offer some contests and incentives to encourage participation in conservation projects and activities. Ryan’s long-term goal is to start a food plot and trail camera project with the Wisconsin S3DA members.