WSFR 75th Celebration Highlights Hunter Education,
Hosts Iowa DNR Presentation
Daniel Lovdahl demonstrates how to properly operate a firearm. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
By Valerie Rose Redmond
The Regional Office continued its Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program 75th anniversary celebration with a presentation of Iowa's Hunter Development and Outreach Programs, by Megan Wisecup of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, November 1.
Wisecup began the four hour session that stressed the underlying message that a successful hunt is one in which everyone returns home safely.
Iowa’s hunting education program became mandatory in 1983 after state officials began to see injurious trends. Classroom and online education courses cover a range of topics including: Responsibility and Ethics, Wildlife Management and Conservation, Boating Safety, and Wildlife Identification.
Hunting education is a priority in Iowa, one of only a few states that still allow party hunting with up to 80 people in a group. The main causes of injury are target fixation, a victim out of sight and careless equipment use.
The Iowa DNR utilizes Google web analytics to determine when customers are accessing a site. This facilitates class offerings during peak season. Iowa was one of the first states to develop an online registration system. The system allows the DNR to, through a Happy Birthday Wish, alert 11-year old would be hunters that they can now apply for a hunting license.
Wisecup also covered the benefits of a blaze orange wardrobe when out in the field. A public service announcement video stressed the importance indicating that, “the more blaze orange you wear the more visible you are in the forest.” The video also examined blaze orange wardrobe comparisons and visibility differences in the field.
Tree stand safety was also covered extensively. Tree stand public service announcements are incorporated in the courses.
“This is how you know you've had a successful hunt,” says the young man in the video with a smile at the camera, before picking up the phone to call his wife. “Honey, I’m coming home,” he said.
The video details the importance of leaving location details with your friends and family, and how suspension trauma is a serious risk. “Wearing a harness is key,” Wisecup said, before sharing an unfortunate story of a man who mistakenly tied the string to the trigger and shot himself in the groin. “He did survive, but it was very difficult to find him since he didn't leave a good plan to where he would be.”
Those who completed the Iowa On-line Hunter Education Course prior to attendance received an Iowa Hunter Education Certificate, since the training met their field day requirement for hunter safety certification.
This was the second in a series of brown bags hosted by the WSFR program to celebrate its milestone anniversary.