O’FALLON, Mo.— Missouri’s hunter education program (HED) is administrated by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and taught statewide by more than 1,400 instructors. Each year, the Department recognizes instructors whose efforts exceed their regular teaching duties. This year, that top honor goes to a St. Louis area instructor.
David Cantoni of O’Fallon was awarded the distinction of being named MDC’s 2015 Missouri State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. The award is considered the highest honor among Missouri HED instructors.
Cantoni was presented with the honor July 11 at MDC’s headquarters in Jefferson City. He became eligible for the award after having received the St. Louis Regional Staff HED Instructor of the Year Award for 2015 earlier this year.
Cantoni taught 28 hunter and bowhunter education classes, certifying 820 students in 2015. In addition, he also assisted with many other hunting-related activities, including: the youth pheasant clinic, women’s pheasant clinic, youth turkey clinic, youth duck hunting clinic, women’s duck hunting clinic, youth quail hunt, women’s quail hunt, and youth rabbit hunt.
Cantoni’s dedication also extended to helping with the St. Louis Region hunter education day camp, archery day camp, and multiple programs at Jay Henges and August Busch Shooting Ranges.
“The list goes on and on but the bottom line is that Dave has a passion for hunter education, shooting sports and introducing new participates to both hunting and shooting,” said MDC Hunter Education & Shooting Range Coordinator Kyle Larimore.
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.
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 http://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z4q, or by calling (636) 441-4554.