CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking volunteers to teach hunter education classes. Game and Fish 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.
“Once announced, new classes usually fill very quickly,” Dawson said. “The need for more hunter education classes is a continuing process.”
Interest in taking classes is greatest just prior to season openers and hunter application periods for big game. 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 of hunter education classes during these periods usually because instructors are preparing for their own hunting seasons.” Dawson said.
So far this year, Wyoming’s volunteer instructors have taught 253 classes in which 5,628 new hunters have been certified. This amounted to nearly 5,300 hours of community service time. Dawson said the service hours are very important since the time put in is submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where funding for the state hunter education program is determined. More students and hours result in more funding which is used to support the hunter education program. The funds come from federal funds under the Pittman-Robertson Act where excise taxes are collected on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.
Wyoming’s volunteers are not paid, but Dawson said many instructors have commented on the satisfaction they get from helping young hunters 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, and professional educators and volunteers interested in hunting.
Those wanting to become a certified WGFD hunter education instructor need only follow these simple steps:
• Must have completed a hunter education certification in a previous class
• Complete the Hunter Education 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 Wyoming 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
• Completion of background check
• Attend a new instructor orientation within 2 years of certification. The orientation academy is conducted over a weekend each summer at no charge to the new instructor. The 2014 New Instructor Academy will be held at the Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp near Dubois on July 25-27.
Those interested in becoming a Hunter Education instructor call Game and Fish in Cheyenne at 307-777-4538 or WGFD hunter education coordinator Jim Dawson at the Casper office at 307- 473-3439 for more details. Instructor forms are available on the Game and fish website wgfd.wyo.gov. Click on Education then on hunter instructor information.
(Contact: Joetta Osborn (307) 777-4538)