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Rock County hunters safety classes popular

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ANN MARIE AMES
November 5, 2009
— When most people think of hunters safety, they think of a class for 12-year-olds. That’s often the case.

But a small number of adults—some experienced hunters and some not—take the class every year. In Wisconsin, the class is a requirement for all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1973.


About 4,500 volunteers teach hunters safety in Wisconsin, said Jon King, a recreational safety warden with the state department of natural resources. In 2008, 993 classes took place around the state, King said.


Still, it can be a scramble to find a seat in a hunters safety class in October.


Retired Rock County Deputy Jim Dilley has been teaching the class for about 15 years. Potential students called him from Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Portage to take the class in Janesville.


More than 70 people showed up to register for a different class hosted by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office. The class only had room for 35.


A handful of adults bowed out of the lottery-style drawing that night so a few more kids could keep their seats.


Local hunters safety teachers Rick Turner and Janesville Police Department Deputy Chief Dan Davis put together a class to meet the overflow and to see how an “adults-only” class might work.


The department of natural resources maintains a list of classes on its Web site, dnr.state.wi.us.


Hunters safety students use workbooks and practical lessons, and much of the work focuses on safe weapon handling. Students also learn about wildlife management, advocating for natural resources and first aid, among other things.


Students take written and practical exams. They must show a teacher they can load, unload and carry a gun safely, and show they have some basic knowledge of Wisconsin hunting regulations.


To teach a class, volunteers must have taken hunters safety themselves. Most work with an experienced teacher before taking on his or her own class, King said.


Workshops are available for interested volunteers, he said.



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