A Hunter Education Course will get underway in Colfax Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 6:00 p.m. in the Colfax Fire Department meeting room on CTH M south of the railroad tracks, according to Jim Nosker, lead instructor.
Weeknight classes are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Sept. 23. In addition there is a Saturday session on Sep. 20. Further information on the field day will be provided to students during the course.
Cost of the course is $10, as set by the Wis. Dept. of Natural Resources. Registration is on-line through the Wis. DNR website only. Those without internet in their homes can access the DNR’s site by using a computer at the public library. The web address is http://dnr.wi.gov.
No walk-ins will be taken, Nosker stressed. Last year the course filled up well before the start of school.
At the time of registration, students must have a Wis. DNR customer identification number. To get a customer ID number, call 1-888-936-7463, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., or go to any WDNR service center.
Registration is invited for anyone who will be 12 years old by March 23, 2014.
Starting the first night and continuing every class after that, students are to bring a legally cased, unloaded, .22 caliber rimfire rifle, or a shotgun. Firearms must be in safe working condition. No ammunition is to be brought to any class session or to the range for the field day. Any student who brings ammunition will be dismissed from the course.
Parents bringing students to the class are to park on the south side of the fire department, leaving the east end available for firefighters to park should there be a fire call.
This course is a once in a lifetime mandatory requirement for future hunters, Nosker pointed out. Various other activities will continue throughout a student’s school career. This course will not. Other activities important now will be all but forgotten in 30 years; the outdoors and hunting will remain. Therefore, the instructors strongly suggest students enrolling in the course be committed to showing up for every session, he said.
Excused absences are at the instructors’ discretion and only one is allowed by the state. Only valid reasons will be considered. If there’s an individual conflict with other discretionary activities, absence will not be excused. Safety and responsibility are the two major focus areas of the course. In order to convince instructors they will be responsible sportsmen, students must demonstrate they are responsible class members by regular attendance.
In order to certify a student, the instructors have to certify that they have met all class requirements. That includes attendance, proper behavior, passing scores on the written and field test, and satisfactory completion of assignments. Homework will be checked, Nosker said.
Students may need their parents’ help at home on their assignments. They will need help in practicing safe gun handling procedures. And they will need to thoroughly read and study their manuals in order to pass the written test, Nosker stressed.
For the Sat., Sept. 20 range session students will need to dress properly for the weather. The session will take place, rain or shine, sleet or snow. There is no make-up for missing the mandatory range day, Nosker said.
Key factors in student success has proven to be how much they’re committed to learning and how much they’ve practiced safe gun handling procedures at home, he said. The instructors want all students to graduate, but graduation must be earned. Any student who doesn’t pass is eligible to enroll in another course after 60 days.
If a student has a learning disability, they or their parents should let the instructors know at the start of the course. It is certainly not a deterrent to passing, Nosker said.
He noted that cost of running the course exceeds the fees collected. Of the $10 charged, at least $5 must be sent to the DNR. Because the remaining $5 does not cover the Colfax course expenses, many groups, businesses, agencies and people are relied upon to financially make the course possible every year.
Supporters of the course include:
• Colfax Sportsmen’s Club, which maintains Colfax Area Shooting Range and provides yearly grants to the course;
• Woods Run Forest Products Community Grant Program;
• Wisconsin sportsmen, whose tax and fee payments finance the DNR, students’ handbooks and related materials;
• Colfax Fire District, which makes the fire hall available for course use;
• Dunn County, which owns the shooting range;
• Taxpayers who finance all the government units;
Numerous volunteers who give their time and cover their own out of pocket expenses as well.