CONTACT:
Pete Lester: (603) 271-3214
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
December 4, 2003


Hunter Ed Program Wins Volunteer Champion Award

CONCORD, N.H. -- Fish and Game's Hunter Education Program recently was honored with a Volunteer Champion award from Volunteer NH! The award recognized the program's 600 volunteer instructors for their dedication to making hunting and trapping activities safe and enjoyable for all. Each year, these volunteers provide more than 130 courses in hunter, trapper and bowhunter education to 3,000 students across the state. Because of their efforts, every first-time hunter, archer and trapper in New Hampshire completes a specialized class emphasizing safety, ethics, orienteering, survival skills and conservation of wildlife resources.

The continuing success of the Hunter Education Program demonstrates the impact of these volunteer efforts. Hunting-related incidents in New Hampshire have decreased from more than 24 per year when the program started in the 1960s to an average of about four per year in the current decade -- a remarkable figure in light of the fact that about 78,000 people hunt in the state each year.

The number of lost hunters has also dramatically decreased as a result of the program. As recently as the early 1980s, nearly 30 hunters a year became lost or disoriented and required a costly search to be rescued. Thanks in large part to the emphasis on orienteering taught in hunter education, the number of lost hunters requiring a search and rescue mission has averaged just over four per year for the last five years.

"Our 600 instructors give willingly of their time and resources, seeking only the reward of participating in a program that improves the experience of their fellow sportsmen and preserves the natural resources of their state," said Hunter Education Administrator Peter Lester. "They're unsung heroes, and most deserving of this recognition."

Training for new instructors for the hunter education program is offered throughout the year; the next round begins in February of 2004. Prior to attending the training, prospective hunter ed instructors must be 18 years of age; have a completed instructor application on file at Fish and Game; and have successfully completed a hunter, bowhunter or trapper education class. Click here for a printable hunter education instructor application form and a list of new instructor training dates, or call the Hunter Education Program at (603) 271-3214.

N.H. Fish and Game's Hunter Education programs are made possible through the efforts of these dedicated volunteers and funding from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

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A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program
Researching, managing and restoring wildlife are funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program. Your purchases of hunting equipment, sporting firearms and ammunition make a difference to New Hampshire's wildlife resources and this state's way of life. Click here to learn more.



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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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