The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

June 1, 2014

Hunter education classes are making a difference

Although I am just a simple writer of outdoor-related stories and I have little or no authority to give awards, I’m going to do it anyhow.

Besides, I don’t think anyone will mind and if they do, they can file a claim with my complaints department. A simple warning though, you might be on hold for quite some time — just saying.

I am unofficially giving our state’s turkey hunters an attaboy award for safety. According to a recent news release from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the 2014 spring turkey hunting season was a milestone in West Virginia. For the first time since spring turkey hunting was instituted in the late 1960s, no fatalities and no injuries were reported to the Law Enforcement Section of the Division of Natural Resources (DNR).

The four-week spring gobbler season began April 28 and concluded May 24. Historically, the spring turkey season has been associated with unfortunate hunting-related incidents, such as mistaken-for-game shootings. Spring gobbler season is a calling sport, with camouflaged hunters imitating the call of hens as they attempt to lure male turkeys into range. Thanks to hunter education classes that became mandatory in 1990 for any hunter born after Jan. 1, 1975, the number of hunting incidents has steadily decreased over the years. The last spring turkey season hunting-related fatality occurred in 2009.

A “hunting incident” is defined as a case where a hunter is injured or killed while hunting or preparing to hunt. Lt. Tim Coleman of the DNR Law Enforcement Section credits the Hunter Education Program for the steady improvement. “In the early 1990s, spring turkey hunting incidents had double digit figures with near double digit figure fatalities before hunter education became mandatory,” Coleman said. “Thanks to the volunteer instructors and natural resources police officers of the West Virginia Hunter Education Program, and to the hunters who have made safety a part of their culture, incidents and fatalities for the spring turkey season were eliminated this year.”

Hunter education classes are scheduled throughout the year across the state. Hunters can find information about classes in their area at the DNR website. Lt. Coleman encourages hunters who have already taken the course to take a refresher to learn about updates in hunter safety and hunting laws.

I agree with Lt. Coleman. I recently assisted my son with studying for his Hunter’s Education Card and was pleasantly surprised at how informative and well organized the entire process was. I enjoyed the experience with him and was extremely proud when his name was written on his card. He was so excited to hand his card to the clerk behind the counter when he presented it to him and stated, “I need a hunting license please.”

There is no doubt in my mind that upon completion of the hunter’s education course, hunters are more aware of safety and conscious of creating good habits based on The Ten Commandments of Gun Safety.

Over 360,000 students have passed the course since the first hunter education class taught in West Virginia was in 1968. I commend the WVDNR for their hard work and dedication to safety and education — job well done.

1
Text Only
Outdoors
  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

  • Get on up, or you’ll get left behind

    “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” —
    William Shakespeare

    July 3, 2014

  • Catfish, it's whats for dinner

    I think for far too long the catfish has had an image problem. They seemed to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the fish world. You know, they got no respect. Fortunately though (maybe unfortunately if you are a catfish), that seems to be in the past. They are a fish whose time has come.

    June 28, 2014

  • It’s more than a boat, it’s an adventure

    Growing up on Elk River, I couldn’t help being connected to the river and its waters. It is where I caught my first fish, learned to swim, paddle a canoe, to read water and throw a buzz bait, killed my first duck, gigged frogs and spent many a Saturday night fishing for catfish. We lived in a river bank community, and the Elk provided us with everything from water for our homes to all the recreation a young boy would need to fill his youthful requirements for adventure.

    June 28, 2014

  • Old friends at the beach

    If your summer vacation plans include a trip to an east coast beach, I can’t predict everything you might see. But one bird that I guarantee you’ll encounter many times is the laughing gull.

    June 28, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
Helium
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts