I’d like to take a minute to comment about the new Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) all-online hunter-education course , launched this month. Like many new ideas, it’s easy to be against a concept at first blush. My first thought upon hearing about this at the Conservation Federation of Missouri conference in March was “Are they nuts? What are they thinking?” My mind jumped to memories of youngsters, sitting at the back of the hunter ed class, messing around who would later fail the test or be asked to leave. The human component of watchful instructors was critical to making sure those who displayed behavior showing a lack of appreciation for firearm safety should be denied hunter education certification. This human monitoring can’t take place online and who knows who is really filling out the test, right?
My second concern was where does MHHF’s hunter education clinics fit now that people can be certified not only without a supervised live-fire session and mentored first hunt, but without participating in-person in a class?
I spoke with MDC Deputy Director Aaron Jeffries during a visit in April and on the phone last Monday. Some points he made…
-The big objective is to create a variety of opportunities for new hunters to get certified in order to counter the declining number of hunters. That is something on which I think we can all agree.
-Students must be 16 years of age or older. It is designed for a slightly older demographic than most MHHF clinic participants. Aaron said in the first week the majority of online students were over 21, definitely not our target market.
-The department will include verification as to how a shooter was certified in any hunting incident investigation. In other words, the department is watching. If incidents grow with this new means of getting certified, they will not hesitate to make changes.
Although I can’t say I’m totally comfortable with this new certification option, I applaud the Department’s continued, and innovative, efforts to keep the hunting tradition from fading away. As to where MHHF’s efforts fit in, I believe we provide the best and safest way to introduce a young person, who lacks access and opportunity, to Missouri’s hunting heritage.
Once again I’m excited to report how our Directors and members are engaging in MHHF’s Mission the last several weeks. Here are just some of the results of their efforts…
Treasurer, Mike Borgerding completed and submitted applications for two grants for MHHF.
The Cass County chapter has added two new clinics to the fall schedule.
The Board of Directors have added the Joplin/Webb City, MO area to our list for chapter development.
The board has updated our Purpose/Mission/Vision statements. You can review these statements on our website under ‘what we do’ which is being updated by new member, Bruce Keith.
Director Emeritus, Sam Goller has been keeping our Facebook page current.
Director, Steve Rulo and Clinic Coordinator Jerri Lynn Keith represented MHHF at Cabela’s Family Outdoors Day, last month. The event had over 300 attendees.
The Instructor Mentor Rendezvous will take place Sunday, August 13th from nine to noon at D.H. Restoration in Grandview. This provides an opportunity to review the operations of our clinics, capturing new, best practices and creating solutions for problem areas. We will also introduce some new and improved plans for gathering participant feedback and promotion of future clinics.
President-Elect and Event Chair, Stacie Hubler has announced this year’s Sportsmen’s Gala September 28th will be at the Emaline Ballroom in Lee’s Summit.
Director J.D. Selby, and the committee for the Gentlemen’s Wild Game Dinner fundraiser (Thursday, November 9 at Affare Restaurant), announced the ticket price has been reduced to $150, one hundred dollars less than previous years. Invites will be in the mail soon.
Whew! That’s a lot going on during a time of year when we are not even staging clinics!!! Soon, we will be holding a New Mentor Orientation meeting in preparation for the fall clinics. If you know someone who would be interested in participating in any of the above activities please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for all you do to support and help grow Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation.