The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department wants to keep the woods as safe as possible for all hunters. That is why Hunter Education Classes are held for first time adult license holders. Michael Sawyer the Recreation Safety Coordinator for the Department feels the classes have helped make the woods safer for everyone.
“Hunter education is one of the constants when we look at the educational effort and overall safety approach we have for hunting.”
250 thousand people have graduated from the class over the years. Michael Sawyer the Recreation Safety Coordinator for DIFW says there are two different ways to take the class
“We actually have two approaches now. We have our standard class which is 12 hours of classroom time and then we have home study. The home study approach takes eight to nine hours in the classroom. The student studies a lot more on their own.which will entail four to six hours of study.”
Hunter Education Classes became mandatory for any first time adult license holder back in 1986. Sawyer says that people of all ages have taken the course
“Quite a cross second of people now. We have the youth who are required to take it at age 16. I see a lot of people that start hunting at a later age maybe they are out of college maybe they are mid life. They have more time and they take up the sport. Even retirees who are just taking up the sport of hunting.”
John Graves has been a volunteer teacher since 1986 and has taught over 12 hundred students.
“We teach them about the safe handling of firearms in the home, a brief first age class in the wilderness. How to read a map and compass and how to be safe in the woods with a gun around people.”
Graves says he is a hunter and enjoys spending time in the woods and wants to help insure that everyone can have a safe day enjoying Maine’s wilderness
” To be safe in the woods and be respectful of people and property. They can enjoy the sport of hunting without causing any damage to themselves or others. Respect property so that land owners will continue to let us recreate on the land and also so the tradition of hunting can continue to be a sport we can all enjoy if we want to.