Why Volunteer for Hunter Education?
Last week the Missouri Conservation Commission met and presented the 2008 Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor Award to Mark Burns (who is shown in the center of the photo with his wife Diane and Conservation Commission Chair Chip McGeehan). With as many as 2,000 people volunteering as Missouri Hunter Education instructors, this recognition attests to Mark’s outstanding service.
Want to volunteer to teach hunter ed? Contact your local MDC office.
Mark has volunteered his time for 14 years as a hunter education instructor, and he also took on bowhunter education instruction and support of the new online/field day testing. When people are asked why they don’t take part in outdoor recreation, lack of time is one of the top things they mention. We lead busy lives. That makes the time a volunteer contributes even more unusual in today’s society.
So I asked Mark he why he does it…why volunteer to teach hunter education? He quickly responded, “If all my hours of volunteering prevent one hunting accident, then it’s worth it. Plus, I have a group of instructors that work with me and together we make it happen. And Conrad (Mallady, who is the Missouri Conservation outdoor skills specialist who coordinates hunter education in his region) is awesome.”
I was going to put that up today in this blog, but this morning I got an email from Mark that makes it even clearer.
“You asked why I teach hunter education. My standard answer is, if my many hours of volunteer work helps prevent one hunting incident, or saves one life, it is well worth the effort. But the truth is, it’s much simpler than that. Here is a list of the reasons I enjoy teaching these classes:
- The smiles on the faces of the kids when we give them their certification and patch.
- The times when an older person has to take the class to get certified to go out of state (but in their minds they don’t need it) and afterwards they come up and shake your hand and tell you how much they enjoyed the class.
- The times when a former student stops you on the street to tell you a hunting story, even though you probably don’t remember their name.
- The times when you see a young former student with their father at the local store and they recognize you and visit. In the course of the visit you find that the youngster had corrected the unapproved actions of the parent during a hunting trip.
- The times you teach young people in the company of a non-hunting adult and they get something out of the class, just because they were there.
- The times when a parent of a student tells you a story of a time their child refrained from taking a shot at game, because of something we taught.
These and many other reasons make it all worth it.
Volunteer Missouri Hunter Education Instructor