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Old 09-23-2011, 21:13   #1
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Rant - hunter safety instructors

So, I guess this is a minor rant. I have enrolled my son in a hunter safety / firearm safety class. I went to one a little over 15 years ago to get my hunting license. Tonight was a 4 hour class, and then this weekend is two eight hour days to complete the class. Tonight was mostly going over basic safety, ethics, and especially laws. It was a bit boring.

What was really bugging me, was how the instructors were "presenting" the information.

For instance: Instructor to class; "What minimum distance do you generally have to be from buildings to fire a firearm? ....... (class is quiet)..... Anyone? ..... (class is still quiet)..... Anyone? (another few minutes of silence).... Well, you usually have to be at least 500' and ...."(then the instructor talks about it)

Another one: Instructor to class: "Can you legally hunt with a handgun?..... (class is quiet).... Anyone? ..... (class is quiet).... Anyone?.... (another few minutes of quiet)...." Finally the instructor talks about the issue.

This is a safety class for people who are not hunters, but want to do it. The people DON'T know the laws!!! They don't know the rules!!! That is why they are in the class!!! This went on for 4 hours. I almost stood up and screamed "Why are you asking us? You are supposed to be teaching us!"

I can understand a certain amount of the instructors asking "do you know...", but this just went on and on.

If any hunter/firearm safety instructors are in these forums, PLEASE don't "teach" like this!

Okay, off my box....
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Old 09-23-2011, 23:17   #2
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I am a hunter's ed instructor and I teach with a group of 4-5 people. Our group will have approximately 18-20 students per class. Ages ranging from 12 to 18, sprinkled with a few 20 something, and occasionally a 40 something. Although the curriculum/material is developed at an 8th grade level, teaching a 15 year old is not the same as teaching a 29 year old. Kids learn in different ways than adults.

Fortunately, all of us instructors are on the same page with presenting/instructing/teaching the material. For example, we instruct students how to get in and out of a tree stand, but teach them to ensure their harness is strapped and locked in properly. We instruct students on how to load the rifle/shotgun, we teach them on what shooting position works for what. In asking those types of legal questions, your instructor may be "feeling" out the knowledge base of his/her class. However, as an instructor, when you are standing in front of a group of 12-18 year olds, you should assume they don't know anything about the law. Teach to the lowest common denominator. Besides, what happens if a student answers that you can legally hunt with a handgun?. Does the instructor go one step further and ask, "what kind of handgun must you use (e.g., barrel length, caliber, etc.)? Or does the instructor say, "Yes, Johnnie is right, you can hunt with a handgun?" Regardless of a correct/incorrect answer, the instructor is going to drill further and ask about what type of handgun can/can't be used, etc. Why do they do this - I would like to know too. Could be some sort of display of control/authority. Maybe a psychologist on the board can answer the question.

I see parents in the back of the room while their kid(s) are going through our course, and the parents are just as into as the kids are. At the end of each session, I have parents tell me that the hunter's ed they went through in the past was more of a "right of passage" vs. educational experience. As time goes on, what I am seeing occur within the hunter's ed corps of instructors is that instructors are required to obtain continuing education hours by attending one day training programs every 2 or 3 years. These courses are conducted by, at least in Wisconsin, DNR Wardens, DNR employees, and other hunter's ed instructors selected by DNR staff. This group of people evaluates not only what the instructor knows about the material, but also how the instructor presents that material. Good constructive criticism, that is presented within each group of instructors, by their instructors -in other words, if you don't know what you are doing, you WILL have your a** handed to you at the end of the day. So, if you as an instructor asks your peer reviewed class, "Can you hunt with a handgun?" The DNR Staff/Peer group immediate response will be, "Is it OK to ask a student who is taking a hunter's ed course something that, we as instructors assume, they don't know?" The corrective minded questions reminds you as an instructor to consciously remember not to ask such types of questions. Sometimes the instructor needs to be the student in order to become a better instructor. Reading straight out of a book/training manual, and/or PowerPoint presentation doesn't do it. Hopefully your state has or will be implementing some type of peer reviewed training/re-training requirement. If it does, the problems that you mentioned will, probably and eventually, go away. Unfortunately, that doesn't help you now.
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Old 09-26-2011, 14:35   #3
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I went through any classes I could with my Son a few years ago. I had to work for some. I didn't have any complaints with the instructors. I will say it's just a step in the process. Once one has the certificate they still need a lot of follow on supervision. I just don't like to hear, 'he's(she) been through hunter's safety, they should know better'.

I recently read a bit about an old accident. The one 12 y/o hunter accidentally shot his brother, luckily he lived & had a full recovery. His dad had taken at least 4 young teens in the woods, didn't say how many had guns. Either way there was a lack of rules to keep them safe. This event turned the shooter off from hunting or guns for the rest of his life. Just like with a new dog, when out with a new hunter one's main job is supervision, not bagging a limit. Sorry if it's unrelated.
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Old 09-26-2011, 16:00   #4
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My son aced the class (Whooho!).

It was a pretty good class, and the instructors were pretty good considering so much of the material is pretty dry -- as in, boring... but necessary to be taught. As I said, it was just the style of teaching that bugged me.

Son and I are talking about trying some hunting next fall. It is a bit late in my area to arrange for tags and land permits. We might do some "camera hunting" early next year, after the season(s) are over to scout some areas.
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Old 09-28-2011, 17:54   #5
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The instructors were probably trying to keep the class engaged.

If you just read to someone and show them power point slides they fall asleep.
"If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years,
educate children." -- Confucius
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Old 09-28-2011, 21:17   #6
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Originally Posted by vafish View Post
The instructors were probably trying to keep the class engaged.

If you just read to someone and show them power point slides they fall asleep.

Agreed. With every new law/regulation that gets passed it becomes more complicated with understanding the hunter education aspect of it. Hunter safety should be taught at home.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:49   #7
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When I took my hunter safety class about 36 or so years ago, it was 2 nights, 2 hours each night. Ah those were the days. The instructor talked for an hour and a half and then we took a test on what he taught. It was all common sense back then. The next night was firearms safety out in the field. Three people at a time shooting at clay targets. Which way the target is moving and who's shot it is. I remember when I got up there they said to the three of us put the safety on, now point the gun in the air, now pull the trigger. The other two kids guns went click. He told them to leave. Ah the good ol days.
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