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Changes eyed in NH hunter education program
Dan Keleher, a volunteer hunter education instructor, gives three students pointers during his field instruction class Saturday in Barrington. From left are Ayden Hart, Enzo Ferrai and Hunter Hart. The state Fish and Game Department is proposing combining its bow hunter and basic hunter education programs starting Jan 1. (Courtesy)
The state Fish and Game Department is hoping for an equally enthusiastic turnout at a public hearing later this month, where it will air proposed changes to the state's mandatory hunter education programs.
Hunter education is required for anyone 16 and older seeking a hunting license; the separate bow hunting program is required if someone wants to participate in archery season.
He said it's good for all hunters to learn more about following a blood trail and judging distances.
He said some are concerned that important material will be lost if only three additional hours of instruction are required.
"There's an entirely different set of criteria that we focus on in each class," Olson said. "Blending the two, I think there's going to be a loss on both sides."
Olson would rather see an additional five hours, not just three, required in the new course.
Ryder said the goals of the hunter education program won't change: "Making sure that every hunter that goes out is safe and ethical, that they follow the rules and we have ... no incidents.
"And we're in the process of trying to make sure if somebody really wants to get hunter education that they can get it ... but still maintain everything we possibly can in regards to safety and ethics and not let down our guard in regards to that."
He learned to hunt with his father years ago and has been hunting with his daughter since she was a baby in his backpack.
Although some of his students have failed the written examinations in his courses, he's never flunked anyone for poor conduct or attitude, Keleher said. "Most people who come into the program have a very positive attitude," he said. "They want to be hunters and they know that this is something that they need to do."
"So I'm sure there'll be a lot more people out on opening day than there are typically," he said.
People and dogs alike should wear blaze orange when they head outdoors, Flynn said. His own chocolate lab, Tucker, has an orange vest he'll be wearing outside from today on.
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