SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Taking initiative in implementing a first-time archery hunting opportunity in Branson and making extra effort to ensure outdoor recreational opportunities are accessible to everyone have earned state-wide recognition for two area hunter-education instructors.
Brad Hampton of Ozark has been named the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Bowhunter Education Instructor of the Year and Tisha Holden of Lebanon is MDC’s Staff Instructor of the Year.
Missouri’s hunter-education program is administrated by MDC and taught state-wide by more than 1,400 instructors. With the exception of exemptions listed in the Wildlife Code of Missouri, all hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 must complete an approved hunter-education program to buy a firearms hunting permit. Each year, MDC recognizes hunter-education instructors whose efforts exceed regular teaching duties.
In addition to his regular hunter-education teaching duties, Hampton was one of the lead instructors in a bowhunter safety course that was part of a first-time hunting opportunity in Branson. To deal with increasing urban deer numbers, Branson’s Board of Aldermen approved archery hunting within city limits under certain stipulations at its October 2012 meeting. One of the conditions for this hunting opportunity was that participants had to complete a bowhunter safety course. Though bowhunter certification is not required by statewide hunting regulations in Missouri, many cities that allow archery hunting inside their city limits require participants to be bowhunter-education certified to take part. Hampton, a registered nurse for Cox Health Systems in Springfield and an avid bowhunter, provided organizational and instructional help in putting on the class so that hunters could participate in the 2012-2013 archery season.
Holden, the public service assistant at MDC’s Lebanon office, has been a hunter education instructor since 2004. Her teaching skills aren’t limited to hunter-education classrooms, though. She also coordinates events and teaches outdoor skills at The Family Outdoor Skills Camp for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. This annual event held in August at Osceola, is a joint venture of the Missouri School for the Deaf, MDC and several other outdoor agencies. It teaches outdoor skills to 200 deaf and hearing-impaired children. This camp is an example of how the Department of Conservation helps people discover nature.
For more information on hunter education, visit mdc.mo.gov.