McKean Minute: Hunter Education 101

Spring is Hunter Education season in most states and communities across the country. It’s the time that volunteer instructors set up impromptu classes in church basements, school libraries, and municipal buildings and help certify a new generation of licensed hunters.

Nationwide, something like 600,000 new hunters are minted every year, but tens of thousands more don’t take mandatory Hunter Ed classes because they’re too busy, or they’re intimidated by the topic, or they simply don’t understand what hunter education (or even hunting) is all about.

With that in mind, I’ve been looking for a way to introduce hunter education (both common and proper noun) to a new audience, and happily, I’ve found both a means and a partner. The means is a podcast. The partner is Dylan Ray.

Dylan is a youth pastor in rural Kansas, an avid hunter, but an even more avid teacher. He approached Powderhook over the winter with a fascinating idea: given Powderhook’s commitment to mentoring and creating a virtual community of outdoorsfolk, could he contribute by launching a series of entry-level, 101-style courses that break down hunting and fishing knowledge to its most basic level. The idea, he says, is that while many of us learned about hunting and fishing from an experienced mentor, many more of us have had to learn as we went, and gear, tactics, and even terminology of the outdoors can be both baffling and intimidating to beginners.

So Dylan has launched what he calls “Hunting 101” podcast, which introduces concepts and various hunting styles to a new audience. You can follow Dylan’s work here:

Starting this week, we’ll share a 6-part mini-series on hunter education. I break down the topic into the basics, covering everything from how guns and ammunition work, the various parts of a gun, and how to handle firearms safely. We also cover the ethics of hunting, shooting skills and hunting proficiency, how to prepare for a hunt, and then making the shot and afterward, including getting a game animal out of the field and how to prepare the meat for consumption.

So tune in, and even better, share the podcast with someone in your life who might be interested in hunting but doesn’t know how to get started. After all, it’s the season for hunter education.


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