Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hunters Safety, Day One:

Well, Monday night was the first night that my daughter attended her hunter’s safety class. I’ve been introducing her to her outdoor heritage the last two years through Michigan’s Hunters Apprentice program. Through this DNRE program, “The apprentice hunter program allows individuals to hunt without the required hunter education course if accompanied and closely monitored by a licensed hunter 21 and older who is mentoring them in the sport. An apprentice hunter may participate in the program for two license years before being required to take a hunter safety course.” Now that her two years have passed and she’s still interested in hunting (wahoo!), it’s time to take the course.

I signed her up at the Livingston County Wildlife and Conservation Club for their 4 day course. The DNRE mandated minimum class time is 10 hours, LCWCC is providing 14 hours of instruction to better prepare and educate these new hunters. Also, while the state allows for up to a $10 fee to cover materials, LCWCC provides their classes for free (donations excepted).

The first night over 50 new hunters were in attendance and LCWCC had close to 10 certified instructors present. The new hunters included boys and girls as well as a few adults. Parents were encouraged to stay (and most did).

One thing I noticed from the first night was the amount of interaction the instructors maintained with the students. They not only used charts and demonstrated safe hunting and gun handling but, brought students up front and included them in their demonstrations.

Different types of firearms were discussed (break open, pump, bolt and Semi-auto). Ammunition types were covered as well as why you do not mix them up. A bit graphic, but pictures were circulated that showed what could happen if you don’t pay attention and load the wrong ammunition in your gun. The kids thought the exploded gun looked cool…until they looked at what was left of the shooters hand…yuck. (We’ve all probably seen those pictures, taken in the ER…and I agree, yuck). The instructors had a nice segment were they had the kids demonstrate the safe fire zones and carry types in a group (they made sure they had a left hander in the group too). All in all, an excellent first class.

As a parent, knowing how bored and rambunctious a group of young children can get, I was very impressed with the attention and respect these youngsters gave their instructors. An excellent sign their taking this class seriously and paying attention (and a miracle they did it for 3 ½ hours!).

Next; Day Two.