Crawford County, Mo. — Missouri’s hunter education program (HED) is administrated by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and taught state-wide by more than 1,400 instructors and conservation agents. Each year, the Department recognizes one conservation agent whose efforts exceed their regular teaching duties. This year, that top honor goes to a Crawford County Agent Tim Tallent.
Tallent, of Sullivan, was awarded the distinction of being named Missouri’s 2012 Conservation Agent State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. He has been a HED instructor since 1996, and a conservation agent since 2001.
According to MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Conrad Mallady, who submitted the nomination, Tallent’s award was based not only on his outstanding performance as a HED instructor, but also because he has gone above and beyond in his support of the HED Program.
Tallent taught six HED classes in 2012, where he served as chief instructor for three of them. He certified a total of 205 students.
Tallent’s service to the HED program went far beyond his time in the classroom. According to Mallady, he also secured a flint lock, in-line muzzleloader, muzzleloading revolver and a compound bow for use in the HED program through donations from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department. After having been disabled, these items compliment his current HED demonstration gun kit and serve classes in Crawford, Washington, Franklin and Phelps counties.
Mallady also said Agent Tallent participated in the St. Louis Regional Discover Nature Girls Camp, held last summer at Cuivre River State Park in Lincoln County. This camp provided its participants with HED certification. During the camp, Tallent assisted with hunter education and fishing activities.
Tallent is no stranger to HED accolades. He received the statewide Conservation Agent State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year Award in 2009 also. In addition, Tallent has earned the same title at the St. Louis regional level in both 2005 and 2009.
Outside his work with the HED Program and MDC, Tallent is coordinator for the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation JAKES youth program, active as Group Leader for the Spring Bluff 4-H, and serves on the school board of St. Anthony’s School in Sullivan.
All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, and who are 16 years of age or older, are required to take and pass a hunter education course or purchase an Apprentice Hunter Authorization before buying a permit. There is an 11-year old age minimum requirement to take the Missouri HED class.
Participants receive a minimum of 10 hours of classroom training plus additional time for testing, practical exercises, videos and other classroom discussion usually taught in two or three sessions. Classes typically require 12-16 total hours to complete.
The HED program can serve as a refresher for veteran hunters as well. It is also open to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and has an interest in conservation. More information about the program can be found on MDC’s website at mdc.mo.gov by searching keywords, “hunter education,” or by calling (636) 441-4554.