“September 23 is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Held every year since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates outdoor sports and their conservation contributions. It’s also the perfect day for sportsmen and women to share their passion by mentoring future generations of hunters, anglers and conservationists.” (US Dept of Interior)
I have been a Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructor for nearly 20 years. My volunteer efforts through this program have reached nearly 3000 students, and I’m pleased to say that consistently about 25 to 30% of the students are female.
In Wisconsin Hunter Education is currently open to anyone 10 years of age and older. Through hunter education, students learn about hunting with a gun and a bow. They learn how to be responsible and safe, how to handle their firearms and care for them, and how to survive in case of an emergency. They learn about hunting conservation and ethics. But most of all they learn the four rules of firearm safety TABK:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
- Be certain of your target and what’s beyond
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot
Most states require Hunter Education Certification to hunt for wild game — big and small mammals, waterfowl and other game birds. Some require special certification for archers. Since hunter education has become mandatory, hunting incidents in Wisconsin have dropped dramatically.
Offered by local shooting clubs and sporting goods stores, a hunter education class is a good way to learn about firearms and the safe way to handle them regardless of one’s desire to hunt for wild game. Many states also offer special hunt days and mentored hunter programs for novice hunters.
I’ve been “hunting” since my husband and I returned to Wisconsin from New Mexico many, many years ago. We’re fortunate that we have private hunting land on which to enjoy this adventure. Thankfully, we eat very little beef during the year, unless we are not so fortunate in shooting a white tail deer the previous hunting season.
Whether it’s deer hunting season or turkey hunting season, the favorite thing I enjoy about hunting is getting out into nature and seeing the beauty of the natural landscape — and occasionally, a critter which I may or may not choose to shoot.