ST. CHARLES, MO — Hundreds of dedicated volunteer instructors across Missouri give their time, effort and expertise to make the success of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Bow Hunter Education (BHE) Program possible. And from among that group, one instructor in the St. Louis area recently received MDC's BHE top honor.
Joseph McFadden of St. Peters was awarded the title 2011 Missouri State Bow Hunter Education Instructor of the Year on March 8 at the Conservation Commission meeting held at the MDC St. Louis Regional Office on the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles.
McFadden was selected for the honor based on nominations by fellow volunteer bow hunter education instructors in the St. Louis Region. The award is MDC's highest for that group. McFadden, a three-year veteran of the BHE program, was presented with a plaque and framed art by Conservation Commissioners MDC Director Robert Ziehmer.
MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Scott Sarantakis collected and submitted the nominations. According to Sarantakis, McFadden’s award was based on the 35 hours he volunteered as an instructor in the BHE Program. McFadden taught three classes in 2011 and certified a total of 44 students.
McFadden is active in the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) where he volunteers as a basic archery instructor. He teaches the weeklong archery camp at the August A. Busch Shooting Range, and has recently started a MoNASP homeschool program there.
McFadden served another 44 hours in 2011 as a volunteer instructor for the basic Hunter Education Program, volunteers at the shooting range on the Busch Conservation Area, and has been a volunteer instructor for the MDC Go Fish! youth-angler-education program.
Outside his service to MDC, McFadden is a National Rifle Association (NRA)- certified pistol instructor and an NRA-certified range safety officer. He is also a life member of the NRA, Bass Masters, the North American Hunting Club and the North American Fishing Club.
BHE provides a foundation in hunting safety and ethics that helps hunters focus on more than just being successful in the pursuit of game. The course is recommended for motivated students age 14 and older with good reading and comprehension skills who have some archery and hunting knowledge or experience. However, any student 11 years old and older may be tested and certified in the course. Participants receive a minimum of eight hours of classroom training, plus additional time for testing, outdoor demonstrations and other classroom discussion usually taught in two sessions. MDC recommends that all bowhunters take bowhunter education, as the BHE Program can serve as a refresher for veteran bow hunters as well.
More information about the program can be found at www.mdc.mo.gov, or by calling (636) 441-4554.