Classes introduce students to outdoor activities
Each year people look forward to joining family or friends in the great outdoors. Some come together through hunting, fishing, hiking, viewing birds and other wildlife, photography, harvesting berries and mushrooms. Then there are some who enjoy solitude outdoors. There are endless activities to undertake in the outdoors and each person develops their own personal preferences.
Hunters are required to take classes that teach hunting ethics and responsibility as well as firearm safety, survival skills, wildlife management, conservation, habitat, and respect for wildlife and landowners. Some students take the class just to see what it is about with no intention of ever hunting. Upon completion of the course students are certified to purchase hunting licenses and apply for concealed weapons permits.
The hunter education program in Lake County is fortunate to have support from both Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and The Salish and Kootenai Tribes. This relationship may not be unique in Montana but it sure sets an example for the entire state to follow. Different agencies within the Tribe contribute classrooms, hunting vests, suicide prevention, tribal game wardens and press releases.
Adults are encouraged to attend classes right along with their children and share that time with them. Giving young people a chance to take part in the out-of-doors is not always easy. Some youth don’t have adults to help them get started becoming a hunter or an outdoor enthusiast. It only takes one person to give them that opportunity. Each year we have someone who steps up and does just that. Sometimes a grandparent, a family member or just a mentor, takes the time to get students into a hunter education class and accompany them through the whole course.
Last fall’s class included a grandfather — Bill Hammond, from St Ignatius — who took the time to bring four of his grandchildren to class and the field day. Bill also shared his outdoor experiences. On graduation night I am sure he was as proud of his grandchildren as our instructors were of him. Bill commented, “… no big deal, I have done this for others in the past.”
A hunter education class is being planned for spring 2018 in the Ronan/Pablo area. These classes are open to everyone 10 years and older. For more information, call 406-250-3386.