KINGMAN - Twenty-nine residents of Mohave County ages 10 through 52 graduated on Sunday from the Arizona Game & Fish Department's Hunter Education Program at the Mohave Sportsman Club's 7 Mile Hill Range, joining hundreds of other local residents who have taken this 35-hour class.
The class, which is one of the longest in duration in the state, covered a number of subjects, including but not limited to firearms and bow safety, game laws and regulations, survival and compass, conservation and wildlife management, and hunter responsibility.
All of the students, regardless of their age, participated in classroom and field exercises, which also included demonstrating the proper shooting positions for both firearms and bows.
After all of the field day exercises were completed, the students then had to take a comprehensive written test of 50 questions.
Even though 50 percent of the class was between 10 and 14 years old, almost one third of the class got a perfect 100 percent on the final test.
Russell Perkins was the only youngster in the class to get a perfect score, which helped him be selected as the top honor graduate for the class by the team of volunteer instructors who included Lynn Tonkinson, Marsha Rute, Jim Jett, Rad Green, Jim Rich, Jerry Eaton, Bill Riehle, Page McDonald, Carl Allen and Chief Instructor Don Martin.
According to Tonkinson, who keeps statistics on all of the classes that are taught by the hunter ed team, the class average was just over 95 percent.
"Considering how many young people that were in this class, the class average on that final test was awesome," Tonkinson said.
The four honor students for the class as chosen by the instructor staff included 11-year-old Brittany Weese, 11-year-old Amanda Murphy, 14-year-old Drew Hannah and Perkins.
These four students were selected on the basis of class participation, completion of assigned homework, field day exercises and academic accomplishments.
They will now be entered into a drawing by the Arizona Game & Fish Department that may result in them being selected to participate in an all-expenses-paid pheasant hunt at the Chauncy Ranch, near Orme in 2009.
Perkins also was awarded a certificate for a fishing trip with the chief instructor for him and a parent or guardian as a result of his accomplishments during the two-weekend class.
Also receiving a certificate for an overnight fishing trip on Lake Mead with the chief instructor was Sheldon Racher, whose name was drawn out of the hat that contained the names of all of the students.
Students who didn't have any behavioral issues and complete their work on time were eligible for this drawing.
Perkins' good luck continued, as he also won a pair of 10-by-50 Tasco binoculars that were donated by the hunter ed staff for a drawing.
The graduates will all receive a permanent bonus point from the Arizona Game & Fish Department that will assist them in future drawings for all of Arizona's big-game species.
Students in the class who were between 10 and 13 years old needed to take and pass the class before they were eligible to hunt big game in Arizona.
The next two-week resident class will be given in March.