Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You Learn Something New Every Day

This past weekend, my thirteen-year-old son and I completed the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Hunter Education course. This is a sixteen-hour course required by the state. You can't get a hunting license unless you present a certificate proving you have completed the course.

I am not sure I will ever get a hunting license or go hunting. We took the course because my son is absolutely crazy about hunting. I don't know how it started, but he has worked incredibly hard at this. He has devoured books and videos on the topic. He spends hours in the woods looking for deer sign. And he easily completed the hunter education course.

Although I was ambivalent about hunting at the start, I am very proud of my son and I'm glad I tagged along. I've known hunters all my adult life. I certainly respected the hunters I know, but I guess I had acquired the prejudice that most hunters are yahoo rednecks. I thought my friends were exceptions to the rule. Having spent hours over the past few weeks with dedicated volunteer instructors from our local fish and game club, I'm convinced my prejudice was unfounded. These guys are serious about their sport and committed enough to spend hours of their own time to help others learn. They are especially passionate when teaching hunter safety and ethics.

Yes, there are yahoos out there, and you will certainly hear about hunting accidents this Fall, but please don't assume the guys in blaze orange are idiots. Maybe they're not from your tribe, but they deserve your respect.

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