Shane Vernon of Nucor Steel passes out gift bags of safety items to members of hunter education class R-2-2014 on Sunday. Looking on is Instructor Johnnie Hoeft. For more on Nucor’s special relationship with hunt education, see Page 18.
|DON MARTIN/For the Miner|
Hannah Martin holds the pair of 10 X 50 binoculars donated by the Mohave Arms Collector Association that she won during graduation ceremonies at the 7 Mile Hill Range.
Arizona now has 34 more sportsmen and women who are graduates of the Arizona Hunter Education program after graduation ceremonies on Sunday afternoon at the Mohave Sportsman Club's 7 Mile Hill Range.
Those who took the class ranged in age from age 9 to 76 and included men, women, boys and girls. Twelve students in the class were 9 or 10 years old.
Students came from as far away as San Francisco and Peoria, but most were from the Kingman area.
The students experienced different weather conditions just like they would if they were hunting. It was hot and humid during the first weekend of their 32-hour class, where they were taught the basics about how to become safe, lawful and ethical hunters.
A cadre of state-certified hunter education instructors taught the students a wide variety of subjects ranging from conservation and survival skills, to becoming a responsible and ethical hunter. Marksmanship and firearm safety were also taught.
This two-weekend class is held twice a year in the classroom and range facilities of the MSC's 7 Mile Hill Range.
Jim Rich is one of the chief instructors for the Kingman area team, and he was impressed with both the number and quality of the students who took the class.
"In this class were young adults and adults who were interested in learning how to be a safe, responsible and ethical sportsman," Rich said. "The Kingman area always has a lot of folks who want to take hunter education."
During the second weekend of the class, the weather changed and on the field day of the class, the students were treated to rain and even cool temperatures as they watched and then participated in exercises in which they demonstrated to the staff that they had indeed learned the concepts of being a safe, responsible hunter.
Students were given demonstrations by the staff on the different properties of gun powder, ranging from smokeless pistol and rifle powders to synthetic black powder and black powder itself.
Demonstrations by staff showed the students how bullets transfer energy and why it is important to make a good shot when hunting.
Safety was a subject that was talked about continuously during the class. "Firearms are not toys and should never be used by children unless they are under the direct supervision of an adult," Rich said.
After the demonstrations were concluded, the class was put in small groups, where they fired .22-caliber rifles at targets in the shooting positions they had been taught.
They also went on a simulated hunt and participated in a blood-trailing exercise.
Students had to demonstrate how to safely cross a fence, how to safely remove firearms from vehicles, and identify all of Arizona's big game animals.
Once they were finished with the outdoor portion of their field day exercises, it was back in the classroom, where the students took a 50-question, multiple choice final test.
Then it was time for the awards and recognition part of the program.
Staff picked out a number of students who were designated as class "Honor Graduates." These students were recognized for going above and beyond in all phases of the class.
Those selected were Joshua Cox, Katie Buhr, Dante Amaya, Garrett Geisler, Josh Wallin and Thomson Himes. The top honor graduate went to Kalyse Whitehead.
Those students will now have their names sent to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, where they will be entered into a draw with other honor graduates from all over Arizona. Those selected will be invited to attend and all-expenses paid pheasant hunt next year at the High Desert Hunt Club near Cordes Junction.
Other students were also selected to receive special trips that were donated by the instructor staff.
Bob Shaw, who is a very accomplished varmint caller, donated three one-day trips to students, who - while accompanied by a parent - will experience the exciting sport of varmint calling. Those who were awarded a varmint hunting trip included Whitehead, Whittington and Buhr.
The instructors who taught the class and where they reside include Jim Rich (Mohave Valley), Bob Shaw, Deanna Shaw, Don Martin, Jay Chan, Cristi McReynolds, Annette Bravo (Peach Springs) John Rodriguez, Brian Powell, Kenny Bellm, Page McDonald, Johnnie Hoeft, John Schmidt, Kevin Ward (Mohave Valley) and Tim Thibedeaux (Bullhead City).