Friday, July 1, 2011

Teaching Hunter Safety - Something Every 4-H Agent (& Parent!) Should Do!

As an Extension Agent for the University of Florida and Brevard County, it is not my responsibility to teach the Florida Hunter Education course as put forth by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  I do it as a volunteer, and gladly so because of all of the benefits it has to me and my programs.


Here are just a few...
I get to meet some of the best people in the world at the gun range where it's taught.  All of my colleagues in Hunter Education are there because they want to be.  None of us get paid.  Their one and only concern is making sure those who take the class will leave and carry the message of safety and wise outdoor stewardship by word and deed, into the woods.


Sidebar - Did you know that unlike a drivers license, a Hunter Safety Certification card never expires?  That is a point I bring up to my students, that once they leave the classroom, they are free to carry a firearm in the woods for the rest of their life!  What a privilege and a responsibility!


Out of all of these people I meet, a bunch of them are kids and their parents.  I've found about equal amounts of Moms and Dads in the class.  As agreed upon by my Supervisor, one of the benefits I have as a 4-H Agent teaching this class is I get to "plug" the 4-H program.  I have recruited some of the best families in the FWC Hunter Safety Program in to 4-H.


Lastly I'll mention how Hunter Safety helps me hone my skills, and gets my name out there in the community to gain credibility.  People care how much you know, and this allows them to get to know me.  My safety, shooting  and teaching skills are reinforced.  In firearms training, the skills we learn are perishable and they need to be practiced and hopefully constantly improved.


I'm grateful for this opportunity to teach, and recommend it to all of my professional and volunteer colleagues.