In an effort to provide a complete Hunter Education experience for the future outdoorsman in Georgia, we suggest an educational approach that involves participation on three separate levels. While participation in any one level of the program does provide the participant with some knowledge, we feel that there will be a synergistic effect that occurs when an individual is immersed in all three levels of Hunter Education; thereby producing a more safe, responsible and ethical future hunter.
Level I: Basic Hunter Education Instruction
Basic Hunter Education Instruction provides the basic knowledge required in order for a potential future hunter to receive their Hunter Education certification and eventually purchase a hunting license.
Concepts covered in Basic Hunter Education Instruction include: (1) the history and need for hunter education, (2) parts of firearms and how they operate, (3) how to hold, aim and fire rifles, shotguns and pistols, (4) basic hunting skills, (5) primitive hunting equipment and techniques, (6) hunter safety, (7) hunter responsibility and ethics, (8) hunter preparation and survival skills and (9) wildlife conservation.
Basic Hunter Education classes are conducted by DNR staff, volunteer instructors or as a part of a school or extension service program. A portion of the Basic Hunter Education class may be completed online to be followed by a review and exam. Depending on location and facilities, some classes may include a live fire component.
Level II: Competitive Skills Challenges
To build upon the concepts that were taught during the Basic Hunter Education class, the next logical step in a young hunter’s growth and development is to sharpen those skills through competitive activities under the direction of coaches and volunteers. Many local groups, clubs and schools offer opportunities or youth programs that accomplish this task.
The Georgia DNR administers or coordinates several programs that are competitive in nature that also provide a skills challenge for emerging hunters. Examples include the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), Hunter Education Field Days and the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP).
Level III: Hunt and Learn Opportunities
A natural progression in the young hunter’s educational experience leads to their first hunt. Participating in a Hunt and Learn offers young hunters and their parent/mentor the opportunity to take part in a planned hunt that is coordinated and supervised by DNR staff, volunteers or selectively chosen outfitters.
The goal of a Hunt and Learn is to provide a safe, positive first-time hunting experience while improving hunting skills and conservation knowledge.
There is overlap in the knowledge and skills gained in Basic Hunter Education, Competitive Skills Challenges and the Hunt and Learn Programs. A young hunter that participates in only that part of our programs will benefit only from the knowledge gained from that program. Should that same young hunter progress through our entire program, gathering more information and experience along the way that is when the greatest concentration of learning that will take place. In order to produce safe ethical future hunters, we must explore any opportunity available that will involve young people in a complete Hunter Development Program.