Wright City, 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. Each year, MDC recognizes instructors whose efforts exceed their regular teaching duties. This year, that top honor went to a St. Louis-area instructor.
Robert Mallery of Wright City was awarded the distinction of being named 2012 Missouri State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. The award was based on nominations by fellow volunteer hunter-education instructors in the St. Louis Region and is considered the highest honor for that group.
According to MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Scott Sarantakis, who collected and submitted the nominations, Mallery’s award was based in part on his outstanding performance as an instructor in the HED program. Mallery taught 10 traditional HED classes and one Bow Hunter Education class. He certified a total of 307 students in 2012 and devoted a total of 130 volunteer hours. Mallery has volunteered with the HED program for 13 years.
Sarantakis also indicated that Mallery often goes above and beyond simply teaching classes when supporting Missouri’s HED program. He also has served as the HED coordinator for Warren County for six years. In that capacity, he works to locate new facilities to teach the program, and through his efforts he’s added the Wil Heiliger Activity Building in Warrenton, the Warrenton VFW Hall, and the University of Missouri Extension office in Warren County.
In addition, Mallery assisted with a weeklong HED summer camp held at MDC's August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, and helped staff the air rifle range at the Wetlands for Kids Day event held last April on the same area.
Along with his work for MDC’s HED program, Mallery has served as director of the Missouri Hunter Education Instructor Association (MHEIA) for the St. Louis region for the past five years. Mallery is a substitute teacher for the Warrenton School District and has been a member of the Masonic Lodge of Missouri and the Scottish Rite Masons for 50 and 45 years respectively.
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 educatgion,” or by calling (636) 441-4554.