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Archive for Sunday, May 30, 1999

HUNTER EDUCATION PROGRAM

May 30, 1999

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— In January, Wildlife and Parks announced it was in the planning stages for alternative hunter education courses that might be offered next year.

Since that time, there has been much interest in the proposed new course structure, but some confusion, as well.

According to Wayne Doyle, statewide hunter education coordinator, there will only be a few courses, if they are developed anytime soon.

"This is not a done deal," Doyle said. "Currently, we're just in the planning stages. If we do it, we may only offer 10 or 15 courses like this in the state, and that would be next year at the earliest."

Kansas law requires that all persons born on or after July 1, 1957, complete a hunter education class in order to hunt within the state. Last year, volunteer instructors conducted nearly 300 hunter education classes statewide, certifying 11,000 new hunters.

However, one past difficulty of the Hunter Education Program has been the number of meetings required for certification. The classes, which average 12 hours of instruction, have required from two to five days attendance, depending on location.

Multiple meetings often create conflicts with job and school schedules. This is reason the department is proposing an alternative class structure.

"If the new classes become reality, we'll probably create home study packages that will account for a portion of the class," Doyle said.

Under this system, home packets would be distributed each year after July 1, allowing plenty of time for completion before the fall classroom work.

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