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West Virginia Wants to Train Hunters in Schools

February 6th, 2008

Many of you may have already read the article released by the AP at the end of January outlining the possibility of Hunter safety being an elective in schools. If you do a Google Search, you will find a lot of comments about this proposition, most of which are not favorable. The problem is, most of those writing about the proposition are not from West Virginia, and do not understand our setting and culture. So, without further ado, I will tell you why this is a great idea for the state of West Virginia, and why it is probably a good idea for a lot of other predominantly rural states.

First, as this article points out, the number of hunters is declining. That is in direct result of the poor economic climate in the state. Simply put, young people don’t often stay here. If they are not planning to work in a coal mine, they will pack their bags after college and set out to other places. However, if these young people are introduced in a favorable way to the outdoor opportunities available here, even if they do decide to leave, they will come back to hunt. How, you ask, do I know this? That is exactly what I did! I left the state for over 10 years, but I purchased a WV lifetime hunting license so that I could come back and hunt. If these kids do not have an someone in their family who is encouraging them to learn about outdoor sports, the chances of them coming in contact with someone who can help them are slim.

Secondly, it is important for kids to have activities that occupy their time that are good and wholesome. Though many anti-gun proponents try to tie kids who hunt with shootings, the truth is that is rarely if ever true. Think about it…how often have you heard a report of a kid shooting up a school with a “hunting rifle”, or a “hunting shotgun”? They always throw “hunting” in there, even if that gun had never seen a day of hunting in its life! Kids who are taught to enjoy the outdoors through camping, fishing, and hunting are better behaved, more respectful and better adjusted kids. How many “thugs” do you know who enjoy hunting and fishing? I think that we can use a program such as this to get kids who are not really interested in “team sports” or clubs into something that will be healthy for them.

Thirdly, it seems to me that this would be a good way to “waste money” in the school systems. After all, money is wasted all the time on things that are completely useless. I for one would like to see them, if they are going to go beyond what schools were originally designed for, to put it to something that I can support. We as hunters are often the brunt of social prejudice, so it would be nice to have a program in place that would put us in a good light from the beginning. Of course, the animal rights people are going nuts over this proposal, since they believe they are the only ones with a right to access children at such a young age, and on the tax payers dollar.

Fourthly, the chances are that the students who participate in the program would be hunters in the end anyway, so this is a good way to make sure that they learn proper gun handling, and safety techniques, as well as good ethics from the start. While most hunters are safe, and ethical, the truth is there are some who are not, and they pass on their own set of ethics. If this program is instituted, I hope that it is run in a qualified way by qualified people. It has the potential to make a great impact on hunting in the Mountain State, but as with any thing run by the government, it also has the potential to be a colossal failure.

Fifthly, this type of program has the real potential of softening the anti-hunting biases that we face. There are many people who are non-hunters, but not anti-hunters, and there is a big difference. If we can convince those that are not really inclined to hunt that we are really and truly concerned about our environment, the health and welfare of the animals, and the people in the areas we hunt, then we may snuff out those anti-hunting feelings before they have a chance to get going. I am convinced that the anti-hunting agenda thrives off of lack of information and misinformation. If we could do even little things that would help defeat their agenda, it is a victory for us!

So, I think, in the long run, this plan has some real potential for good. I just hope that the government does not mess it up (if it is indeed passed). There would be nothing worse than allowing animal rights nuts, with their agendas, to teach these types of classes. And that is a possibility if State DNR offices are going to be run by the wrong people!

7 Responses to “West Virginia Wants to Train Hunters in Schools”

  1. I actually think it is a great idea in areas that have a significant amount of young people hunting.

  2. I’ve read about this, and I don’t see why it couldn’t be an elective course like band or orchestra or drama. Or it could be considered a sport like basketball or football. Competitive shooting and competitive archery are sports.

    Personally, I think it is a good idea, but I would be surprised to see it really happen.

  3. Chief Stillaughing Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Will these courses result in hunter-safety certification?

  4. Chief, if I understand it correctly, it will result in a hunter-safety certificate. It appears that they want to do much more than the state required safety classes with this program.

  5. I wish they would do that here in New York.

  6. […] few days ago, I wrote a post about a new class that some of our State Legislators are trying to get into the public school system, and why I […]

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