SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A strong interest in the outdoors and a background in crime scene investigation has resulted in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Mike Brooks earning a national hunter education award.
Brooks, who is the manager of MDC’s Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Greene County, received the 2017 International Hunter Education Association (IHEA-USA) Executive Director’s Award. He earned this honor for his leadership and dedication to the Hunting Incident Investigation Academy, a national education program for training professional wildlife officers in the proper techniques for investigating and documenting hunting-related shootings. This information is used in hunter education programs for the purpose of preventing future hunting incidents.
“Mike brings so much organization and consistency to the Academy,” said former IHEA-USA President Megan Wisecup, “Mike is respected and looked up to by the entire teaching team. His passion for teaching conservation officers truly shows through in everything he does.” Brooks, a native of Ash Grove, received his award in September at the IHEA-USA Hunting Incident Investigation Academy in Moravia, Iowa.
Through Brooks’ efforts, MDC has taken a lead role in IHEA-USA Academy training programs. The Andy Dalton Shooting Range and MDC’s Bois D’Arc Conservation Area that surrounds the Range has been the host site of several IHEA-USA Hunting Incident Investigation Academies, the most recent being in the fall of 2017. Brooks has also helped coordinate training events in other states and has been a ballistics instructor for the academy since 2004. Since 2016, he has been the director of the academy.
Brooks has a wealth of knowledge in hunter education, firearms program instruction, and in hunting incident investigation techniques. He’s been the Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center’s manager since 2001 and, prior to joining MDC, he was a Greene County deputy sheriff for 16 years. Through his work in the sheriff’s department – part of which involved working with the South Central Missouri Major Case Squad in the 1990s – Brooks gained experience in investigative techniques, blood stain interpretation, homicide investigation, photography, evidence collection and scene reconstruction.
Though Brooks has been a leader in IHEA-USA activities, he gives credits to his team.
“The credit for this award is shared with my fellow instructors, both past and present who secured the path to safer hunting through their efforts and support for this academy since 1993 when the first academy was held in Missouri,” he said.