Safety in Numbers
the program. Samuel D. Enright of Wildwood was certified by instructor Kevin Dixon of Union. It took 33 years to certify the first 500,000 hunter education students and just 16 years to certify the next 500,000. Both the program and its effectiveness have grown dramatically over the years.
So what will the next 50 years hold for the Missouri Hunter Education Program? Volunteer instructors will remain the heart of the program, and though the curriculum might change, the message will remain safety, responsibility and ethics. We might also see new methods of teaching, such as using the Internet for a portion of the course. Hopefully, the next 50 years will see advances in education, research and equipment that will help make hunting accidents a thing of the past, but there will still be a need for hunter education.
Training hunters has always been a process rather than a product. We should never assume we know all that we could. Every time we pick up a firearm and go afield, we learn something. Hunter education serves to provide a foundation or framework on which to build a lifetime of learning and a lifetime of enjoyment.
For More Information
About 30,000 people attend more than 1000 hunter education courses annually in Missouri. To find a course near you, or for more information on hunter education, contact your local conservation office, (or visit the Missouri Department of Conservation Web site).
Hunter education courses cover such topics as:
- Firearm safety in the field and in the home
- Hunter safety
- Hunter responsibilities
- Hunting skills
- Basic wildlife management
- Hunting regulations
- Hunting traditions and ethics
- Hunting equipment
Hunter Education Highlights
- Some Department of Conservation agents began to teach hunter education on their own in the early 1950s, and requests for the courses increased.
- In 1956, the Department’s Protection Division assembled a committee to draft a hunter education program. The Conservation Commission voted to make hunter education an official Department program at their February 1957 meeting. The voluntary course began that same year.
- On January 1, 1988, Missouri’s mandatory hunter education law went into effect. This law required that anyone born on or after January 1, 1967, must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing any type of firearms hunting permit. During 1988, 64,000 students completed Missouri’s hunter education course.
- In 1990 the 500,000th hunter education student was certified.
- 1993 saw the minimum age of 11 established by regulation for becoming hunter education certified.
- December 2006 saw the 1,000,000th student certified in Missouri’s hunter education program.
- February 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Missouri’s hunter education program