From MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks 

BOZEMAN — Montana’s hunting legacy depends on active, skilled and ethical hunters who pass on their traditions to new generations.

This happens in hundreds of classrooms across Montana each year through the state’s Hunter and Bowhunter Education program. Instructors in the program volunteer their time and talents to give new hunters baseline instruction on safety, ethics, procedure and other components of successful hunting.

Hunter Education, which is administered by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, is also a statutory requirement for new hunters in the state. Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1985, must pass a Hunter Education course in order to purchase a hunting license.

Montana needs more volunteer instructors — especially women instructors — who are willing to perpetuate these opportunities for new hunters. Anyone with experience in hunting or bowhunting is encouraged to apply.

“Archery has given me so much in my life,” said Brian Koelzer, who has been teaching Bowhunter Education in Montana for 13 years. “That’s when I really decided I wanted to help share that.” 

Volunteers in the program must meet certain requirements. They must have experience in the use of firearms or archery equipment, possess a valid Montana driver’s license or ID card, pass a background investigation and criminal records check, have experience in or be comfortable with public speaking or teaching, and be eligible under state and federal law to handle and possess firearms and ammunition. 

Once an application is submitted and those requirements are met, applicants will receive training on teaching, course curriculum, and program policies and procedures. Experienced instructors help mentor volunteers who are new to the program.

Hunter Education is personally rewarding for many volunteer instructors. They often feel they are making a difference in the lives of new hunters by passing on their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for hunting. Many instructors also discover common interests and camaraderie with other program volunteers.

“If you’re a hunter, and you know where to go and what to do and how to do it safely, and you know what ethics are about, then we need you,” said Jim Johnson, a Hunter Education instructor of 21 years. “We need you to instruct the next generation of people to keep the sport alive.”

For more information or to apply, visit fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter/instructors or call 406-444-9948.

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