Husband and wife honored for hunter education efforts

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Offering their time and talents to teach hunter education in southwest Missouri and also assisting with other conservation educational events have earned statewide recognition for Dale and Julie Garner.

Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recognizes hunter education instructors whose efforts exceed regular teaching duties. The Garners, a Springfield couple who have made hunter education a team effort, are the co-recipients of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) 2015 Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year. They were recognized for their achievements by MDC on July 12 in Jefferson City.

This past year, as a husband-and-wife teaching team, the Garners taught 14 hunter education and bowhunter education classes, certified 378 students and volunteered 70 hours apiece in the classroom. In addition to their hunter education duties, the Garners also frequently volunteer their assistance at MDC’s Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center near Ash Grove. In 2015, they assisted with youth pheasant hunts and deer and turkey hunts. They also helped with basic rifle and basic handgun classes. On top of this, they volunteered for the Dalton Range’s “Day at the Range,” an annual event for outdoor enthusiasts with disabilities. The Garners also helped with Deer Sight-In Days, a annual period when the Dalton Range has longer daily hours to accommodate deer hunters wanting to sight-in their rifles.

“The work these instructors put into delivering hunter education cannot be understated,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Greg Collier, who helps coordinate hunter education efforts in MDC’s 17-county Southwest Region. “The Garners are the best of the best.”

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.