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Bow Hunter Education Class Offered at Elm Street Academy

By Ellen Bagley, Elm Street Big Picture Physical Education Teacher

In the beginning of November, students began showing interest in hunting and the great outdoors. Conversations about the archery season and the upcoming regular (gun) season were going on and there seemed to be significant interest in both.  As the physical education teacher here at the Big Picture Elm Street Academy in Cuba, I mentioned to a few students that I was also a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bow Hunter Education Instructor.  Just a few short days later, one of my students gave me a list of students, who were interested in taking the course.

Well, I was very happy to try to accommodate their interest, and over the following weeks, I started planning a course the students could take during their school day.  The certification course was planned for Tuesday, November 14, and Wednesday, November 15, 2017.  The students were then instructed to complete a homework packet, and get a permission slip signed by a parent to attend the two-day program.

That Tuesday morning, we had seven students attend the first day of bow hunter education at the local Cuba Rod and Gun Club. The first day consisted of reviewing the homework I gave them, learning about the responsible bow hunter, the unwritten laws or ethics of hunting, going over first aid scenarios, tree stand safety, and outdoor preparedness.  Students were engaged for five hours on these topics through a variety of hands-on learning and the use of various Hunter Education tools from the DEC.  I also mixed in a number of real-life stories along with the course instruction.  The students were then told to dress warm for day two, because they would be outside for field experiences.

ABOVE & BELOW - Students test their archery skills with a target.

Unfortunately, due to illness, only five students were able to attend the second day and complete the certification course.  These five students were able to live fire a compound bow at a target, judge distance using 3D archery targets, learn how to track a blood trail, and view examples of deer activity in the woods.  After the field experiences, the students then took a quick, 40-question multiple choice exam, in which all five students passed with flying colors!  I was then able to fill out and sign the certifications, which the students were able to take home.

ABOVE & BELOW - Students track a blood trail.

My hope is that more students will become interested in the outdoors and/or hunting.  I would like to continue offering these classes to students, so I can share these interests with them and they can share them with each other.  I will also be getting certified -- in the spring of 2018 -- to instruct regular hunter education classes.  The ideal scenario would be to offer both of these classes early in each school year, so our students could legally hunt that season.  The area we live in is a great place for outdoor hobbies, and these kinds of pursuits can teach our students so much!

After much work tracking, students find their prey.