Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
At clubhouses, fire stations and park districts across California, more than 1,000 volunteer hunter education instructors (HEIs) are working to educate the future hunters of our state.
“California’s volunteer Hunter Education Instructors are successfully passing along California’s hunting heritage,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham. “I am proud of CDFW’s hunter education team, especially our 1,012 volunteer instructors.”
The State of California requires all first-time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency test before purchasing a hunting license. The program reduces the potential for firearms accidents, promotes hunting ethics and wildlife conservation, and teaches basic outdoor skills and game care. Since the program began in 1954, hunting accidents of all types have declined substantially in conjunction with an increase in appreciation for hunting ethics and wildlife conservation practices.
California volunteer HEIs dwindled to just over 300 in 2004, the lowest number on record. Since then, CDFW’s hunter education team, led by Captain Roy Griffith, has made steady gains to increase that number, including making a special effort to recruit bilingual HEIs. A recent count of active HEIs put the exact number at 1,012. Those HEIs contribute tens of thousands of volunteer hours annually to the hunter education effort.
“I truly believe you are never finished learning,” said Lorrie Ambrosino, an HEI who has taught out of Livermore for almost 20 years and was awarded the 2013 California HEI of the Year. “I have students from 11-years-old to 70-years-old. It is rewarding when people leave the class and thank us for taking the time to address their children’s questions and concerns and, at the same time, an adult tells us how interesting our class was and how much they learned.”
Approximately 30,000 students annually complete the state’s 10-hour minimum hunter education course. For more information about the state’s hunter education program or to contact an HEI, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/.