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Hunters: The Original Social Distancers

Hunters: The Original Social Distancers

There is no denying that we are experiencing a complicated time in our country’s history. We are all navigating through various states’ opening and closing procedures that include recommended social distancing measures. One activity we should all be able to participate in this fall is hunting! In this month’s article I’d like to share what your NRA has available to prepare you for the upcoming hunting season. When I think about our rich history of marksmanship, sport, firearms safety education, land conservation and NRA’s role in the legislative protection of the guarantees of our constitution, I’m reminded of the self-reliant, frontier families who built this nation. We’re indebted to that ancestral bloodline that overcame the hardships of living off the land with the “make it happen” spirit that became the backbone of our nation. 

That spirit continues today through NRA’s leadership and support of the traditions that are so important to this country. For example, did you know that our Hunter Services Division, in cooperation with the State of New York in 1949, developed hunter safety training as it is known today? Most states now make hunter safety training mandatory for persons who want to obtain a hunting license. The objectives of the training are broad, and include not only gun safety, but wildlife conservation, first aid, basic survival techniques and wildlife laws to educate hunters and others who venture into the forest for sport. 

Were you aware that NRA Hunter Services created the most comprehensive, free online hunter education program nationwide? Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) allowed state wildlife agencies to claim a dollar value of the NRA’s free Online Hunter Education Course as an in-kind match for dollars to access federal Pittman-Robertson (P-R) grant funds. You read that right, if a state chooses to allow the use of NRA’s free Hunters Education program, then that state can then use the fair market value of the course to receive federal grant money. This marks a major win for hunters, NRA members and state wildlife agencies that rely on P-R dollars for their fish and wildlife conservation programs. To learn more, visit nrahe.org.  

The latest educational product from our NRA Hunter Services Division is the NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course. This course was built for the hunter who has stepped away from the field for a few years or may be interested in refreshing safety requirements prior to the new season of hunting. NRA’s Experienced Hunter Education Course is an online review of everything an experienced hunter should know, including a review of firearm safety and safe hunting practices. Though not a substitute for state-mandated hunter-safety requirements, it will provide a solid foundation of the fundamentals. For more information please visit nra.yourlearningportal.com/courses/nra-experienced-hunter-education.

Always mindful of the next generation of freedom fighters, NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) provides a fun environment for kids 18 and under to improve their hunting, marksmanship and safety skills. Through its simulated hunting situations, live-fire exercises and educational and responsibility events, YHEC helps build upon skills learned in basic hunter education courses and encourages safer, lifelong hunting habits. To get your youngsters involved, contact (800) 492-4868 opt. 3, or yhec@nrahq.org.

Lastly, we all know families that are struggling through the COVID pandemic. Hunters for the Hungry is another initiative supported by the National Rifle Association to give back to communities by supplying thousands of meals to the needy throughout the country. The NRA works closely with state agencies to put interested individuals in touch with programs in their area and foster public awareness through education, fundraising and publicity.

To learn about all the programs offered by our Hunter Services Division, log on to: explore.nra.org/interests/hunting and subscribe to the world’s largest hunting magazine—American Hunter, at: americanhunter.org.

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