The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that about 5,000 students each year complete their Wyoming Hunter Education program. Game and Fish says that 18 different schools in Wyoming have offered hunter education classes during their regular school day over the last two years. “Recently, sixth grade students attending Burlington Middle School earned hunter education certificates as part of their regularly scheduled physical education class,” Game and Fish said in late December. The middle school students completed 16 hours of coursework related to hunting ethics and responsibility, wildlife education, Wyoming hunting laws and regulations, wildlife conservation and management and firearms safety, Game and Fish said. “In November, the class culminated in a field trip to Gunwerks to shoot .22 long rifles and practice marksmanship,” the department added. Game and Fish Information and Education Specialist Tara Hodge said: “The field trip gave students an opportunity to practice safe firearms handling practices they learned as part of class and was a fun way to finish the course.” Hodges helped facilitate the class in conjunction with Burlington Middle School P.E. teacher Lanning May and Big Horn County Sheriff Deputy Nate Kreider who serves as Burlington Middle School’s school resource officer. “After the field trip, the students were treated to a pizza party to celebrate the successful completion of the class,” Game and Fish said. Hunter safety courses were first designed over 60 years ago with the goal of reducing hunting accidents.
“While the major purpose of hunter education is still the prevention of hunting and firearm related accidents, more and more emphasis is being placed on improving knowledge about the heritage of hunting,” Game and Fish said. “The importance of the young hunter developing a sense of ethics and responsibility is stressed. Both the first time and veteran hunters are encouraged to become involved in all matters related to hunting, wildlife and the environment.” “Responsible, ethical behavior by hunters and personal involvement in the local community will be essential to the future of wildlife and the continuation of hunting for future generations.” [full article]