DNR seeks safe mentors for young hunters

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, February 8, 2012

People who have paid attention to recent outdoors newspaper, magazine and television stories may have noticed pictures of beaming youths following a successful hunt. What’s often missing from the picture is the young hunter’s mentor who made such a successful experience possible.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in need of additional mentors to serve as guides for its safety training programs, particularly the “All Day Range and Field Day” portion of the hunter firearms safety course found at www.HUNTERcourse.com.

“The time shared between a youngster and a mentor is invaluable,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division safety education coordinator. “There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor.”

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Mentors work for about five hours with a group of three to four students, ages 11-15, facilitating, mentoring and evaluating students as they complete hunter-based scenarios that include big game, small game and turkey hunting, as well as shoot/don’t shoot, tree stand safety, outdoor survival, firearms transportation, common firearm action types, blaze orange and more.

Knowledge of various hunting activities and knowledge of the principles of safe, responsible and ethical hunting are required. Mentors also need to understand basic principles of mentorship and facilitation of “Range and Field Day” scenarios taught at instructor certification training sessions. More information is at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/adrfd/index.html.

Mentor applicants must be 18 or older and pass a background check. Prior to attending an instructor training session, applicants must complete instructor prerequisites listed at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/adrfd/index.html. Certification sessions are conducted by DNR trainers when and where there is a need.

People are encouraged to complete the instructor prerequisites as soon as possible, so they will be prepared when a convenient training session is offered.

More information is available by contacting the DNR Enforcement Education Program staff at Camp Ripley, 15011 Highway 115, Little Falls, MN 56345. People also can call 800-366-8917 or send an e-mail to enforcement.education@state.mn.us.

A list of current instructor training certification sessions, locations and dates is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/training.html.