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Hunter education classes available

Hunter education classes available News from Tom Fieber, Lake County’s lead Hunter Safety instructor 

LAKE COUNTY – Learning to be safe in today’s world has been paramount in the hunting community. It is now standard across America that states require hunters to attend and pass Hunter Education Classes to become certified to hunt. 

In these classes students of all ages are taught many facets surrounding hunting. The classes start with the purpose of Hunter Education and who is responsible for administering the program, and then, they focus on what makes a responsible hunter, laws and regulations, ethics, and learning the parts of firearms. A lot of time is spent on firearm safety: how they function, how to handle them, how to transport and store them, the safest way to carry and shoot them and when to shoot. 

We cover understanding ammunition, shooting skills, and how to improve them. We also cover how to prepare for the hunt and outdoor safety. Talking about fitness, where to hunt, avoid getting lost, how to dress for safety and what you should have with you at all times are part of the class. Covering topics such as where to aim and how to handle the game after the shot are also stressed.

We cover special safety concerns such as tree stands, ATV’s, colors in hunting turkey, and being bear aware. Conservation, wildlife management and identification are all instilled. 

The above items are covered in the ten hour classroom work, and a mandatory three-hour field day is also required. During the field day, students are required to dress appropriately, carry survival items in a hunting pack, demonstrate safety skills in handling firearms and much more.

In our classes, I always encourage adults to accompany the students. It is really special to see an entire family group on graduation night beaming with pride. Please feel welcome to join in as many usually do. These classes are entirely free to all. We have many adults and students take the class that do not intend to hunt but just want to learn firearm safety and outdoor survival skills. 

These classes are taught by local instructors who volunteer their time and experience to share with anyone who wishes to take these state controlled courses. Here in Lake County we are very fortunate to have a very solid group of instructors. We are looking for additional people that would be interested in becoming certified and assist in future classes. 

The support that this program receives from our community is strong. Without schools donating classrooms; sporting good businesses assisting with manuals; Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Mission Valley Power, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and many others, it would not be possible. 

We offer these classes in the spring and fall each year to meet the needs of new students throughout the county. Arlee, St. Ignatius, Charlo, Pablo, and Polson all present classes that amount to a lot of volunteer hours and opportunity for students. We are winding down classes for 2018, but you can look for future classes. Go to fwp.gov/education to find details and preregister. The classes typically fill quickly. If classes are filled, call me at 406-250-3386, and we will try to fit you in somewhere. We average around three hundred students a year that we are able to certify. 

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