CASPER - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department seeks volunteers to teach hunter education classes. Hunter Education Coordinator Jim Dawson said the need for new hunter education instructors is ever-present and recruitment of instructors to meet public demand is an ongoing task.
Dawson said the need for more hunter education classes and instructors is magnified this time of year. Interest in taking classes is greatest just before season openers and hunter application periods for big game. Spring and summer classes fill quickly. Volunteer instructors typically offer the greatest number of classes in March and April, but there is always a big demand for classes in August and September.
“Some communities experience voids during these periods in hunter education classes usually due to instructors preparing for their own hunting seasons, moving away or work schedule changes,” Dawson said.
In 2012, Wyoming’s volunteer instructors taught 230 classes through which 5,200 new hunters were certified. This amounted to over 5,800 hours of community-service time. Dawson said the service hours are important since the time put in is submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which in turn determines funding for the state hunter education program. More students and instruction hours result in more funding which supports the hunter education program. The Pittman-Robertson Act provides funds for hunter education instruction through excise taxes on firearms,ammunition, and archery equipment.
Wyoming’s hunter education instructors are not paid, but Dawson said many report satisfaction from helping youth and others become safe, responsible hunters while maintaining Wyoming’s hunting traditions and values.
Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds and include game wardens, wildlife biologists, law enforcement officers,professional educators, and volunteers interested in hunting.
Those who wish to become certified Wyoming Game and Fish Department hunter education instructors need only follow these simple steps:
• Complete hunter education certification in a previous class.
• Complete the hunter education instructor application form.
• Attend the entire class of a mentoring instructor.
• Teach one lesson of the class under the direction of the mentor.
• Submit a formal lesson plan in writing to the hunter education coordinator.
• Complete the Instructor Worksheet with the help of the mentor.
• Have the mentoring instructor complete the practice teaching evaluation form.
• Complete the Wild Work Volunteer Form.
• Complete Child Abuse/Neglect and Adult Central Registry screens and Wyoming Criminal History Record Prescreen.
• Submit all paperwork for review to the hunter education coordinator.
• Attend a new instructor orientation within two years of certification. The orientation academy is conducted during a weekend each summer at no charge to the new instructor. The 2013 New Instructor Academy will be held at the Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp near Dubois July 19-21.
Those interested in becoming a hunter education instructor should call Game and Fish in Cheyenne at (307) 777-4538 or Jim Dawson at the Casper office at (307) 473-3439 for more details. Instructor forms are available at wgfd.wyo.gov. Click on “Education” then on “Hunter Education.”
(Contact: Margaret James (307) 777-4538)