---- — Hunting is a safe activity and is growing safer all the time. Over the past several decades, hunting-related injuries have seen a dramatic decline. Indiana’s deer and turkey populations have skyrocketed and so have the number of those who pursue them. So why the decline in accidents? That can be explained with two simple words: Hunter Education.
Formal education programs of this nature are actually nothing new. In 1972, the Indiana Legislature directed the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to provide a course of instruction in hunter safety, principles of conservation and sportsmanship. Then several years later, the Legislature stepped up to the plate again making Hunter Ed. mandatory for everyone born after Dec. 31, 1986, before being able to purchase a valid Indiana hunting license.
This winter has been a dandy and many are now feeling the effects of cabin fever, making it the perfect time to complete this type of program.
In their continued effort to provide quality comprehensive educational programs, Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region has now added the IDNR-certified Hunter Education class to its long list of degrees and certifications. The program will be held in the college’s spacious Kokomo Event Center. The 10-hour class will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 15 and from noon to 4 p.m. on March 16.
Better yet, Hunter Ed. certifications are good for life. Plus, all states and provinces that require mandatory hunter ed training accept Indiana’s endorsement.
Indiana’s Hunter Ed. program is designed to benefit not only sportsmen and women but also non-hunters. Everyone will take something worthwhile away from the class.
If you ever have plans on hunting in other locations, it is important to note many states and provinces also require this type of formal training regardless of age. I personally believe this class should be taught in every school system, along with science, English and math.
Hunter Ed. can be completed either online or by attending a class where you will receive face-to-face instruction. I highly recommend attending the class sessions. The online program costs $20 and is time consuming and seems to be much more difficult. You will also find yourself spending hours staring at a stale computer screen.
Class sessions offer face-to-face presentations and the opportunity to ask questions. Plus they are free. All segments are taught by our area’s most knowledgeable, state-certified instructors and conservation officers. Howard County coordinator Denny Heaton has specially handpicked his group of teachers who not only possess a wealth of knowledge, but also present the information in a way that makes it interesting and retainable.
Students have the opportunity to learn complete firearms safety, whether in the field or at home. Everything is covered including handguns, rifles and muzzleloading equipment. Archery safety measures also are presented. Other topics include tree-stand safety and wildlife identification. Participants also will learn about first aid, conservation, game care and hunter ethics.
To become a certified graduate of Indiana’s Hunter Ed. Curriculum, students must complete the 10 hours of classroom instruction and obtain at least 70 percent correct on the 100-question final examination. Although there is no age requirement for those attending the program, I highly recommend students under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult.
Registration for the Ivy Tech-IDNR Hunter Ed. Program is required. To sign up go to www.ivytech.edu/kokomo/ and click on the Hunter Ed link on the left side of the page.
If you are looking for a fun event while benefitting a worthwhile cause, a community-wide concert will take place March 8 beginning at 7 p.m. at Celebrations Banquet and Conference Facility.
Bobby Jones and the Rendition Band will perform their mix of classic rock and upbeat country music. Miscellaneous door prizes and a silent auction featuring numerous outdoor equipment and art work will also be held. All proceeds will go towards this summer’s 31st annual Jim “Moose” Carden Kids Fishing Clinic. Tickets are modestly priced at $5 and may be purchased at the door or in advance by contacting Craig Carter at 765-438-1193.
Kokomo’s Kids Fishing Clinic is a nationally recognized two-week long youth program where children between the ages of six to 15 learn almost every aspect of the great sport of fishing, taught by our areas most successful and knowledgeable anglers. What began as a youth fishing program has evolved into a regional event. All participants receive their own rod and reel and assorted fishing equipment. To date, more than 3,000 children have taken part in the event, held the last two weeks in July. In addition to informative class presentations, all students have the opportunity to take part in the graduation tournament where children compete from boats operated by qualified, adult boat captains.
Registrations will be held in June. All clinic details and information will appear in this outdoor column later this spring.
John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.