A few local hunting enthusiasts spent Saturday passing along their passion for the outdoors and firearms to the next generation of Kansas hunters.
“We love the sport and we want to see it continue,” said Dan Affalter, a retired Lawrence Police officer and hunting safety instructor.
About 100 beginning hunters learned about gun safety, conservation and hunting ethics at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge near Lone Star Lake. The course, which involves about 12 hours of instruction and additional home study, is sanctioned by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and is required for all hunters in the state. Classes are held three times per year locally — once in the spring and twice in the fall.
The goal: keeping hunters safe, while promoting a respect for nature and the sport.
“We’re getting to impart the right way and the safe way to do things,” said Lawrence Police Sgt. Max Miller, who’s been teaching such courses for nearly two decades.
While he’s trained thousands of Kansas hunters through the years, Miller had the chance Saturday to train two very important people in his life, as his wife and 11-year-old daughter were among the trainees.
The all-volunteer crew of instructors joked with the trainees, and shared stories that showed their obvious passion for hunting and teaching.
“We’re getting something very important out of it too,” Miller said. Being a trainer “means a lot to us and that’s why everybody does it.”
Kids as young as 11 attended, as did some of their parents. While they may not all become regular hunters, learning about gun safety has practical applications for nearly everyone, Affalter said.
“You may not have a gun in your home, but your children may be going to homes that do have guns,” he said. “Nothing wrong with having more knowledge than you need.”