KINGMAN - There are now 28 more graduates of the Arizona Hunter Education program after ceremonies were held recently at the Seven Mile Hill Shooting Range.
Students from ages 9 to 71 years old participated in a two weekend class and were taught how to be safe, lawful and ethical sportsmen or women. Students received instruction on archery and firearm marksmanship, wildlife identification, wildlife conservation and management, survival, maps, compasses and GPS, hunting skills and Arizona wildlife rules and regulations.
The class was taught by a cadre of volunteer instructors including chief instructors Jim Rich, the writer, and Bob Shaw, along with Page McDonald, John Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Annette Bravo, Johnnie Hoeft, Brian Powell, Jay Chan and Ken and Cristi McReynolds. The class assistant was Ryan Borden.
The first three days of the class were classroom instruction with the last day incorporating a field day where students had to demonstrate to the instructors that they knew and understood the concepts that had been taught to them. Field day started off with several demonstrations by the staff on the use of firearms and archery equipment.
The students were then placed into four different groups where they participated in shoot-don't-shoot exercises while on simulated hunts, live fire with a 22 rifle, firearm and ammo identification , fence crossing and demonstrating the proper way to remove firearms from vehicles.
Students then had to take a 50-question final test and had to score at least 80 percent to graduate. Then the class staff was tasked with selecting the top five students in the class.
"This was extremely difficult this time as all of the kids were great," said chief instructor Jim Rich.
To show just how difficult this was, the instructors collectively nominated 15 of the students for top honors. In the end, the top graduates were Lyndsey Day, Kyrstn Wise, Randa Short, Jillian Marks and Elissa Bruno.
"This is the first time that we've ever had the entire honor graduates be young ladies," Rich said.
In recognition of their hard work and dedication to the class, all five of the honor graduates are receiving a one-day varmint calling trip from Bob Shaw. Bruno and Marks, who were the top graduates as selected by the staff, also received certificates for an all-night striper fishing trip for them and a parent courtesy of the writer and Striper Hunters.
Winning the good student fishing trip was Talyn Gordon, who was selected from a list of students who qualified by being good students during the class.
Other students, who received prizes of new 10 X 50 binoculars, were Guage Short and Cassidy Connor.
The top scoring youth in the class on the final exam was Kevin Arana, who scored 98 percent and received a pair of new, 10 X 50 binoculars courtesy of the Mohave Arms Collector Club. This local club is a huge supporter of the Arizona Hunter Education program and donates binoculars for each class to deserving young sportsmen and women. All persons in the class under 18 years old received a prize.
"The boys and girls in the spring 2014 class were an exceptional group of kids, and I look forward to hearing of their success in the field in the coming seasons," Rich said. "A tip of the hat to them, and the adults that attended for a job well done."
Rich also wanted to thank Bank Street Guns which donated the .22 ammo used for this class.
The next two weekend class at the range begins July 26 and end on August 3.