Club hosts hunter education

Participants completing the state Department of Fish and Wildlife hunter education course included, from left, Kelly Gilpin, Gabe Gilpin and Empire Press correspondent Adrienne Douke. At right is instructor Brian Schmidt. (Provided photo)

 

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

Kadence Carrington completed the hunter education course at the Mansfield Sportsmans Club on Aug.19. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

The Mansfield Sportsmans Club hosted a week-long hunter education course Aug. 15-19.

The course, sponsored by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), was offered to anyone who wanted to learn about hunting and firearms.

Instructors were Brian and Mikia Schmidt, Taylor Rains and Chuck Ray, Region 2 coordinator for WDFW. They presented a comprehensive course covering basic hunter safety; firearms identification, use and care; state rules, regulations and laws; conservation; survival; and sportsmanship.

Participants were Kelly Gilpin, Gabe Gilpin, Adrienne Douke, Jonah Taylor and Kadence Carrington.

In the class, hunter orange was a fashion statement for staying safe. “Wearing hunter orange saves lives and is a requirement for hunting big game or upland birds in 40 states,” Rains said.

Four three-hour classes were held Tuesday through Friday evenings. The course concluded Saturday with a review, a test, a mock hunt to demonstrate firearms safety in the field and a clay pigeon shoot. The students showed more confidence and respect for firearms by the end of the course and everyone passed.

The course is a requirement for obtaining a Washington state hunting license for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972.

Jonah Taylor completed the hunter education course on Aug. 19. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)

To be certified to teach hunter education, instructors must complete an initial test, undergo a background check, assist a currently certified instructor in teaching and complete a new instructor training and orientation program. Once applicants have completed all required steps, they are certified to teach hunter education. The instructors enjoy teaching young and old about hunting and firearm safety.

“This is a volunteer program,” Brian Schmidt said, “And we encourage everyone over the age of 21 to consider becoming hunter ed instructors.”

Mansfield fourth-grader Gabe Gilpin said, “I’m learning a lot about hunter safety.”

Gilpin’s mom, Kelly Gilpin, took the course with her son and said, “I have really learned a lot about hunter safety, there’s a lot of great information in this class, I’m glad we could take it.”

Hunting is a time honored tradition passed down from one generation to the next. The course reinforces those early lessons in a safe environment. It is especially important for young people, and people who are not familiar with firearms. Those taking the course learned that good hunters should be safe, legal and ethical.

“A good hunter has good hunting skills, a basic knowledge of wildlife laws and a positive attitude,” Schmidt said.

Hunters contribute to the management of wildlife habitat through their purchases of hunting licenses and fees. Controlled hunting also helps provide a healthy wildlife habitat. “And, people get to enjoy some outdoor activity,” Schmidt said.

Mikia Schmidt concluded by saying, “The hunter ed safety course is an excellent opportunity for local Mansfield residents to learn gun safety right here at home at the Sportsmans Club, in a safe environment.”

For more information, visit the Mansfield Sportsmans Club Facebook page or hunter-ed.com/washington.