Saturday, September 19, 2015

Michigan DNR honors 10 long-time hunter education instructors

Avid hunters encouraged to volunteer as instructors

Ten veteran hunter education instructors, each volunteering 40 years of service teaching hunter safety classes to new hunters, were honored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at the Sept. 1040-year hunter ed instructor Edward Beckermeeting of the Natural Resource Commission in Lansing.
“The service of these volunteer instructors is greatly appreciated by the DNR and the communities in which they serve,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “Our hunter education program trains nearly 20,000 students a year, and we could not do this without the help and expertise of the more than 3,000 invaluable volunteer instructors who provide important training to Michigan’s citizens and future hunters.” 
Michigan has conducted hunter education classes for nearly 70 years, teaching firearm safety and the regulations for being a safe and responsible hunter.
Each year, instructors who’ve reached the four-decade teaching milestone are honored during special recognition ceremonies around the state. Instructors honored at the recent NRC meeting include:
  • Edward Becker, Allen Park
  • Charles Brown, Cheboygan
  • Terry Davis, Macomb
  • Jeffery Goyt, Harrison
  • Donald Khodl, Grand Haven
  • Richard Kiessel, Roscommon
  • David McMurray, Otsego
  • Mark Nastally, Hanover
  • James Russell, West Bloomfield
  • David Westmaas, Marion
Edward Becker and James Russell were in attendance to receive their service award plaques and letters of appreciation. Becker, a Navy veteran, began teaching hunter education through the city of Volunteer hunter ed instructor James RussellDearborn. He was recognized for teaching at least two hunter education classes a year for the past 40 years. Russell started out teaching hunter education through Novi Community Education in 1974. He, too, has taught a minimum of two hunter education classes a year for the past 40 years.
During the ceremony, all 10 instructors were recognized for their contributions. Instructors not able to attend will be presented with their plaques and letters of appreciation at a later date when the awards are hand-delivered by DNR hunter education staff.
While having veteran instructors is an advantage for Michigan’s hunter education program, there also is a need to recruit new instructors in all regions of the state, according to Lt. Tom Wanless, who manages the recreational safety programs for the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division.
“We very much appreciate our veteran instructors, many of whom have been an invaluable part of the program for more than 40 years,” Wanless said. “If you’re interested in passing along your knowledge and experiences in hunting to new hunters, consider volunteering as a hunter education instructor. It’s a great way to ensure that the sport you enjoy today is enjoyed by future generations.”
Those interested in volunteering as instructors should call the DNR Law Enforcement Division at 517-284-6055 to obtain an application packet.
For more information on Michigan’s hunter education program and on becoming a hunter education instructor, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationalsafety.