Learn To Hunt: Hunters’ Education

This is the next post in a series about learning to hunt in partnership with Cabela’s. I’ve been fitted with a bow and have been practicing (more on that soon!). Since I really love learning about new things, I was really excited to take hunter’s education. Back in early May I took Hunter’s Ed and had a great experience.

In Colorado, everyone born after December 31, 1948 is required to have a hunter’s education card to purchase a hunting license. I vividly remember my cousins taking hunter’s education one summer while we were camping. Excited about hunting with their dad and other family members (including my dad) they dutifully studied their pamphlet textbook and excitededly hopped in the car to interrupt our camping adventures for that week’s class session. I was sort of jealous that they were getting to learn things over the summer so I studied over their shoulder but really never thought that I would take the class.

When it came time this spring for me to take hunter’s education, I opted to take an in-person class rather than taking it online with just one “field” day. I’m really glad that I chose to do this. For someone who has a family member or hunting mentor, it would probably be easier to just ake the class online but since I’m sort of launching into this venture independently, I figured that I would take all the personal interaction that I can get!

I think I was totally right about this decision. My course was taught at the Montrose Rod and Gun club by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer, Rick, who was assisted by his wife, Dawn, and a friend, Charles. I felt like I was a little bit out of place rocking a lot of neon Columbia gear in a sea of camo and khaki but I just rolled with it. I was also one of a very small number of adults taking the class (I’m sure most opt to take it online) but the kids were so much fun to be in class with! They were excited about learning everything were so ecstatic about getting to go hunting.

My absolute favorite part of the class was getting to handle the dummy guns. I’m pretty comfortable with a bolt action (thank you single-shot .22 time at the cabin! …man, I miss that gun…) but beyond that I haven’t had much experience. We passed the “guns” around demonstrating proper technique for assuring that the chamber was clear. This meant I had the chance to gain at least some familiarity with lever action, pump action, break action, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles. I’ve always found it really stressful to shoot a new gun even though I love shooting because it’s a gun. This was a great environment to carefully and deliberately practice appropriate handing. Besides, I’m never going to forget learning that “a safety is a mechanical device that sometimes fails” and always treat a gun as if it’s ready to fire.

Taking the course in person made for a busy week but it was totally worth it. Just like each step in the journey, it got me excited about beginning this new hobby!

This post is part of an ongoing series in partnership with Cabela’s, however I paid for hunters education myself and all opinions are my own.

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