It wasn’t too terribly many years ago when hunter education classes were offered in the public school system. These took place in Ag class, FFA clubs, and elsewhere. Hunter Ed. in the school was just what small rural towns did. It was a way of life. Sadly, those days seem to have left us. Animal rights and anti-gun groups have run rampant in an effort to stop any such education in the schools. And, in many cases, hunters sat back and watched it happen. However, some schools in the state of Iowa have made a move to bring back the opportunity for Hunter Ed. through the local school system in an effort to promote safety and the rich heritage of hunting and the outdoors.
Chris Eger, of Guns.com, recently posted the following story regarding schools in Iowa adding Hunter Ed. to the PE curriculum in some school districts.
Beginning next Spring, middle school students in two Iowa school districts will receive hunter’s safety as part of their physical education class curriculum.
Both the North Butler and Clarksville Community School Districts will deliver a mandatory hunter safety course in the 7th and 8th grade PE curriculum reports Radio Iowa. Students in grades 9 through 12 will be given a chance to take voluntary classes.
“What we do best is educate our kids,” said Superintendent Joel Foster. “We feel if we educate our kids in how to use weapons responsibly, how to respect them, understand it’s not a video game and those sort of things, that maybe we’ll cut down on our chances of having a severe incident.”
Parents who do not want their children participating in the training can opt out of the class.
Besides a robust hunter’s education program — required by law as a prerequisite to buying a hunting license for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972 — the Iowa Department of Natural Resources also supports apprentice and mentor hunting programs as well as a number of initiatives in schools to impart shooting sports. These include the Iowa Scholastic Action Shooting Program that uses rifles, pistols, and shotguns in steel target matches and the Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program.
A quick scroll through social media will show that sportsmen seem to love what is happening in Iowa with this new Hunter Ed. effort in the school system. But will it move us to action? Will other states follow Iowa’s lead? Will we simply applaud their effort and nothing more, or will we push to see the same take place in our states?
Should Hunter Ed. be required in schools? Do we really believe that?
If we say we believe it, then we need to act on it. Hunters should be contacting their local and state officials to let them know this is a good move. Our kids need the education, and they certainly need the opportunity to spend time safely hunting in the great outdoors.