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» Trad Gang.com » Main Forums » Hunting Legislation & Policies » Hunter Education Bogus? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Hunter Education Bogus?
Sam McMichael
Trad Bowhunter
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I think the concept of hunter education is good, but I am not sure the course content is always particularly good. I took the course, even though I was in the "excused" age group. However, my son was in middle school, so I took the course with him. He made the second highest grade in the class (only missed one question), as many of the adults simply did not take it very seriously. Archery was not an important factor, because firearm safety was the major focal point. No separate archery proficiency course was required.

Like Bisch, there are a lot of people I know who have passed this test that I don't want to be close to in the woods. Like anything else, some people are more attentive to required training than others. Whatever your opinion is of these courses , due to liability issues, they are here to stay. Luckily most of the trad archers I know, take safety and common sense seriously, so I don't feel too much concern over the effectiveness of the course (I almost never hunt in close proximity to gun hunters), but in all honesty, I thought the course I took was not bad. I have always been suspicious of any on-line course whether something like this or the academic environment.

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Sam

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ChuckC
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I am involved in teaching Hunters Ed and have been for a long time. This included both the Hunters Ed and Bowhunter courses although it has been a while since we put on a Bowhunter course.

Recently, there has been a change to "on-Line" courses with a field day. This is due to families not having the time to actually commit to a full course. As one who has seen both, I am saddened. I bet none of those families miss any TV or cell phone time.

The youngsters are doing well in the courses, as seen by scores on exams, however the real issue is that in the past, these kids had hands on experience with the "guns" in every single class. Handling / parts of the weapons / shooting and carrying positions. It was ingrained into them and when test time came they did VERY well.

On the other hand... we have seen examples of adults doing the test outs ( on-line...no field day, just an in person and a paper test) that showed a huge difference that hands on experience makes. One particular example even commented to me, after I spent an inordinate amount of time working with her on the field test, that she should probably take the full course.

I agreed.

Having to take the course s a good thing. Everybody having to take it is a better thing. Taking updates ( like every five years) might be the best thing. But, then we would miss TV time.
ChuckC

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YosemiteSam
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Shooting isn't hunting. Bureaucratic decisions aren't always smart for everybody. As you probably know, a good marksman isn't always a good soldier. And rules are made to fit the lowest common denominator in society. Those people of higher caliber have to just go along for the sake of others.

I took my hunter's safety course at age 13 and only after I demonstrated to my step-dad that I could safely carry my Red Ryder all day in the field without pointing it at anybody AND could still shoot proficiently to 100 yards with open sights with a 30-30 (steel butt plate on that old pre-64). That season afield carrying a bb gun was my ticket to be allowed to take the class. Needless to say, there was a lot of education that happened long before that class.

But much of what I learned from the class was less about safety and more about law, regulations, identification of bird species, etc. I don't now how it is nowadays but we had to distinguish about 10 different waterfowl species and know the bag/possession limits on each. These are the more practical matters that we need to know, regardless of our weapons proficiency. Honestly, I wish they'd hold a fishing version of this kind of class since I can hardly keep up with what is and isn't legal in the Pacific coastline anymore. Makes me scared to even try.

If my boys decide to try their hand at hunting, I'll probably take the course again myself but with them. If nothing else, it's good stuff for dinner table conversations and teaching values. The apprenticeship model works well for hunting since there are so many ethical issues involved.

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"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

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ChuckC
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Sam, I do too, but that wont happen. Hunter safety WAS a real entity and it was important, but folks nowadays "don't have time. Soccer is more important as is TV and cellphone time.

They are dummying up the class. Still.... from what I have witnessed, the classes are the main point of contact between folks and actually touching firearms for more than half our classes.
Granted, where I teach and live is urban and suburban on the fringe. Up in the north part of the state that same may not be true.

The classes are important and they are not THAT long any more. Take them and help teach them. Share your knowledge with others that came after us.
ChuckC

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calgarychef
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Hunter education isn't all about shooting, it's about game identification, hunting ethics, rules and regulations specific to your state/province, it's about field dressing, treestand safety, hunting methods ... it's about understanding the role that conservation plays in our modern ways. I could go on and on with this stuff. WHile knowing how to throw a grenade is a good thing in certain circumstances it has nothing to do with hunting. And that's why hunter education is important and should be required.
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toddster
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The answer lay's with your State Legislation. I am an Illinois Hunter Ed instructor and old enough to never needed to take it. But, did because go out west and hunt. One thing "we" hunters did in Illinois is to educate the legistlators, and they amended the law to where if you are a veteran, you can take the online portion and be done.
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Sam McMichael
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This has been an interesting and useful thread. After hearing of the experiences of many, here is how I would design a class. It would not be online.

1. A lot of content would be based on safety, ethics, regulations, game identification and such topics.

2. At the end of the classroom section, there would be a weapons proficiency test. Any body failing this test would be required to attend and pass a weapons specific seminar. This would not be geared toward military trained firearms experts, but would be geared towards competency in safe handling.

I know this would never be accepted, because, as has been said, most people feel they just don't have the time to be bothered with it all. However, I don't feel that simply paying and sitting for the test does not automatically buy a certificate. I have been pleased to read many of the responses here by people who have actually taught these classes that they insist on performance as well.

I wish DNR could become involved in things like Boy Scout summer camps and other similar institutions and include courses in the week's activities. That might not be feasible, though. I also support free classes for veterans but not for exempting them from the class. Just a few more thoughts on all this.

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Sam

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Bowwild
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Hunter Safety Education has always been a very strong argument to people who think hunting and hunters is/are unsafe (it and they aren't by the way, -unsafe).

When my now 37 year old son was 10, I signed him up for Hunter Education in the state we lived in at the time. My age precluded me from having to take it. I was curious how much my son had learned from me, simply tagging along and from all the conversations he and I had about hunting and firearms safety. I was not a hunter education or bowhunter education instructor at the time. I was merely a dad eat up with hunting with a son who loved tagging along and talking about it with me. We remain very close today - he lives across the creek and woods from me that I'm looking at as I type this post.

As an experiment, I was able to give him the exam before he took the class. He scored a 96 (I was pleasantly surprised by the way).

When he took the class a few days later (me with him) he scored a 98 on the exam (missed one). I also scored a 98. We both missed the same question, how moving the REAR sight on a firearm affects point of impact. Archery (front sight vs. rear sight) was why I missed the question and I was, of course the reason my son missed it.

Obvious lesson is that quality time spent with our children is extremely effective. By the way, I've used this anecdote many times over a 30-year state wildlife biologist/director in policy discussions about Hunter Education.

My son and I both took the class again in Kansas just for fun. I included him in one of my Bowhunter Education classes when he was 32 years old.

There is no substitute for proper parental guidance. I will readily admit there are some parents who need a lot of guidance themselves. I fear a poacher begets a poacher? If the parent climbs a fence with a firearm or puts a loaded one in the truck, etc. So, in those cases maybe a quality HE instructor has a chance to break that chain?

Several years ago a survey was conducted to determine the recruitment or barrier impacts of Hunter Education. It was found that hunter education is a barrier that 2% of would be hunters aren't willing to surmount.

The one thing I wish could be removed from some hunter education classes is the bias of some instructors. Some instructors stray from the lesson plan and inject their own opinions. Some of those opinions are invaluable, some aren't. I'd gladly give up the valuable ones for the bad advice.

I'm a fan of on-line courses although I've never taken one. One of the reasons I like on-line (besides the convenience) is the standardization in represents ... only the facts please. Some may argue that hunting is important enough for a wannabe to undergo some inconvenience. I don't disagree. Imagine the liability agencies would incur if they dropped hunter education requirements completely and then the non-certified and non-mentored hunter is hurt or hurts someone?

I'm even a bigger fan of the new "Mentor" laws that allow a would be hunter to go with a hunter education certified person the first year. Then, if they want to continue hunting, they have to take a course. This let's hunting sell itself before asking your neighbor, son-in-law, etc. who might have only a mild interest in hunting to try it before spending 10 hours of precious time taking a course. Some who take HE courses never follow up hunting. These laws are so smart.

For years wildlife officials implored hunters to invite their neighbors, friends, and co-workers to keep hunter numbers strong. I've had such discussions with those non-hunters. You invite them to go and they agree, until they find out they have to spend 2-5 nights/week to take and pass a Hunter Education class. This kept my son-in-law out of hunting for nearly 8 years (he was overseas military most of that time). Now they can try hunting in more than half the states through these mentor laws ($5 permit plus proper licenses here in KY). The agency can then track whether or not that mentored hunter takes Hunter Education later.

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If the mind wanders, so too will the arrow.

Member of various archery organizations.

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Deno
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Lots of really good points there Roy. I like the idea of mentor laws. Sounds good to me. Not sure if NJ has that.

Deno

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United Bowhunters of New Jersey
Traditional Archers of New Jersey
Howard Hill Wesley Special 70#
Howard Hill Big 5 65#

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YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Bowwild:
Hunter Safety Education has always been a very strong argument to people who think hunting and hunters is/are unsafe (it and they aren't by the way, -unsafe).


I talked to a local politician & hunter about a year ago who laughingly told me a story about how he & his buddies got so drunk sitting around their hunting camp that they took a shot at "something in the bushes" and almost shot one of their buddies. He was thinking I'd find that funny or somehow relate. It only confirmed how much I detest politicians. I've heard plenty of stories over the years -- they're not all that rare. I hate to say it but hunters are all too often our worst enemies. I love to hunt. But I avoid other hunters as much as possible while in the field out here. It's a stereotype but one that has kept me safe from the crazies during the rifle season.

Granted, it's probably more a CA thing. I've met some truly good people in AR while hunting. And hunters who use self-imposed limits (traditional archery, muzzleloaders, even single-shot rifles) tend to be of a much kindly sort.

--------------------
"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

Posts: 437 | From: CA | Registered: Sep 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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