Area 'hunter ed' teacher honored
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bill Chessman just can't help himself.
The Forest Hills man put in 35 years as an educator, working as a teacher and guidance counselor. Then, several years ago, he retired.
And he's still teaching.
He's doing it well enough that he recently was named the 2012 hunter-trapper education instructor of the year for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's 10-county southwest region.
The commission annually honors one instructor from each of its six regions. Chessman, who has been teaching “hunter ed” for 45 years, was nominated by Allegheny County conservation officer Beth Fife.
She singled him out for teaching not only hunter ed, but also for doing firearms training, Boy Scout events, youth programs and more.
“Bill, he goes over the top. He does so much stuff, it's just amazing to me,” Fife said.
Chessman said his motivation is simple.
“It's rewarding to see kids go out there and participate in a sport that I've enjoyed all my life,” he said.
Things have changed in hunter education, Chessman said. The course has gone from four hours to 10 hours and back, with lots of “cyber” homework involved. But the “kids are kids,” same as ever, he said.
“They just have more distractions these days, especially if you want to get them into hunting,” he said.
Chessman does most of his teaching at Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club. But he's taught elsewhere, including in the Wilkinsburg School District.
“I taught 45 Amish boys in a one-room schoolhouse with a kerosene lamp,” Chessman said. “We couldn't show the movies we normally did, of course. And things were a little formal at first. But by the time we were done, they were switching hats with us and we were switching hats with them. That was kind of neat.”
Chessman's family surprised him with news of his award when he was teaching his most recent class at Pitcairn-Monroeville. It is an honor well deserved, said his son, Jerry.
“If you think about the impact he's had, all of the thousands and thousands of kids who have been out hunting and shooting and trapping over all the years because he taught them, it's amazing,” he said.
Chessman is humble about what he does. There are lots of good instructors, all volunteers like himself who are “just as deserving, if not more so,” he said.
But he enjoys teaching. That, combined with his love for the outdoors, keeps him going.
“It's been a fun, productive activity,” he said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fish and Boat Commissioners not settled on wild vs. stocked trout
- Bass, bluegills, catfish keep anglers busy
- Changes made to senior lifetime fishing licenses
- Young angler lands rare fish from Allegheny River
- Frye: Research projects study unique topics
- Outdoor notices: July 21, 2014
- Frye: Drawing the lines on deer
- Outdoors notebook: Fly casters, tyers to test their accuracy
- Outdoors notices: July 7, 2014
- Sportsmen’s groups defend lead ammo use
- Outdoor notices: July 20, 2014