Hunter safety classes could be tweaked
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently changed its hunter safety course. It may consider doing it again.
The agency trimmed the class, which once was 12 hours long, back to six about a year ago. That was to get ahead of the curve and address a looming shortcoming, namely a lack of instructors, executive director Carl Roe said at the board's quarterly meeting Monday.
“The challenge is we're not meeting the demand,” Roe said. “Our instructors are an aging volunteer force, to say the least. In five years, 10 years, we won't have enough capacity to meet the demand.”
A shorter class, designed to resemble the length of a typical school day, better serves students, too, said commissioner Ralph Martone of New Castle, a former school teacher and a hunter safety instructor for 23 years.
“I think the old course was good for instructors. But having taught middle school kids, expecting them to sit still for 10 hours was difficult. I think we were fooling ourselves,” Martone said.
Clubs can offer voluntary live fire training as an addendum to their hunter safety class, he said. Many have found creative ways to do that, he said.
But some instructors want more.
State Rep. Greg Lucas, a Crawford County Republican, is also a hunter safety instructor with the Lake Edinboro Sportsmen's Association. He told commissioners Monday that his instructors want to teach a 12-hour course that provides times for live fire exercises and more. If they can't require that, they don't want to teach at all, he said.
“It's a safety issue,” Lucas said. “You wouldn't let your kids go out and drive having only taken a written test. You practice, you train, you get experience. It's the same with hunter education.”
He understands the reasoning behind the move to a shorter class, he said. And if there are instructors willing to offer such a course, and students and parents willing to settle for that, so be it, he added.
“But we want to go above and beyond. And we want your blessing to do that,” Lucas said.
At least a few commissioners seemed open to some sort of compromise.
Commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County said he supports the concept of offering a basic six-hour course that would give a first-timer the chance to hunt. But perhaps clubs could be given the option to offer a “level 2-” or “level 3-type” safety course that would include live fire, trap setting and other hands-on activities, he said.
“It seems like we could do that,” Putnam 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.
- Frye: Antlers worth another look
- Outdoors notices: Sept. 15, 2014
- Fishing report: Slow fishing around region
- Outdoors notices: Sept. 7, 2014
- Profits have illegal trafficking in fish, wildlife on the rise
- Outdoors notices: Sept. 14, 2014
- Outdoors notebook: Game Commission will publish 2 books