Do you enjoy hunting? Do you like to work with youngsters and first-time hunters? If so, then Fish, Wildlife & Parks needs you to help teach Bowhunter Education to a new generation of Valley County archers.
All prospective Bowhunter Education instructors in Valley County are invited to an informal gathering on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Eugene’s Pizza in Glasgow’s Big G Shopping Center to discuss the Bowhunter Education program and the need for more instructors in the county.
Pizza will be provided by Fish, Wildlife & Parks and veteran instructors will be on hand to discuss the program, which is required of all first-time Montana bowhunters, regardless of age. Attendance doesn’t compel you to become a certified instructor, but it’s an opportunity to learn about the program and its value, says Andrew McKean, FWP’s regional hunter education coordinator.
“I see two incompatible trends developing in Valley County,” says McKean. “On the one hand, there’s a growing demand for bowhunter education as more beginning and experienced hunters take up archery hunting. On the other hand, the number of certified volunteer instructors has been steadily declining. Currently there are only three certified instructors in the county. If the trends continue, we could face a situation where we’re unable to meet the demand locally for bowhunter certification. On the other hand, the more instructors we have, the less work each individual teacher has. The state’s most successful programs have a variety of instructors who take turns teaching various parts of the curriculum.”
Instructors must pass a background check, attend an instructor workshop and spend their first year as an apprentice instructor. That apprenticeship involves teaching with a certified instructor. Valley County typically has two or three Bowhunter Ed classes each year. The first course for 2005 is scheduled for March 9-12 in Glasgow.
“Becoming a Hunter Education or Bowhunter Education instructor isn’t something to do lightly,” says McKean, “but its rewards far outweigh the time and energy that instructors invest. Most instructors describe their work as a labor of love and an opportunity to give something back to an activity – hunting – that’s central to their identity.”
If you’d like to know more about the Bowhunter Education program, instructor training opportunities, or can’t make the Feb. 8 meeting but are interested in the program, call McKean at 228-3723.