Macon County’s Hunter Education Course was held this past week at MCJH Auditorium. Safety was the first and foremost topic of the class. Game Warden Jim Dooley was the instructor. Captain Larry West and Joe Barber assisted with going over gun safety with the students as they were to participate in firing a pellet rifle on the last night of the course.
Dooley states, “It’s all about educating your hunters so they can hunt safely and responsibly for themselves and for the people they’re hunting with. This class is a good starting point but in order to be proficient and enjoy it, they’re gonna have to be mentored by older people. That’s why, for instance with this juvenile hunt, everybody six years or 16 years of age… when they participate in the juvenile hunt, they have to be accompanied by someone at least 21 years of age, and they have to stay close enough where [the 21 year old] can take immediate control of the weapon so there is that kind of mentoring process.
“When they get to this point, we just don’t turn them out on their own. They’re just beginning the process to become responsible and ethical hunters. Our accident rates are not real high. Biggest problems we have with the hunting, is situations where people fall out of the tree stand. In this case we try to encourage everyone that hunts in tree stands to wear a full body harness to where they can strap themselves to the stand.”
When students were asked about some of aspects of the class that stood out the most to them, some responses were: learning the difference between male and female turkeys, learning the parts of a gun, bullets, and shotgun shells, and also how to handle a gun.
Dooley also wanted to express his deepest thanks to MCJH Principal Bobby Bransford, Vice Principal Phillip Stafford, and to any and all staff of the MCJH for all their help and support. It is a great facility with plenty of space and parking. All this helps with the class being offered free of charge.