GREAT FALLS — Hunters of all ages are gearing up for the season, including new hunters participating in this fall’s hunter’s safety classes that were capped off with field tests to show their proficiency in the field.
This year, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks only had about 10% of what they normally have for an average class but that provided more one-on-one opportunities and kids still got the full experience of the course.
They had more than 30 originally signed up and got down to 25 by the final day.
They normally expect more than 150 kids in a normal year, and they attribute online classes as a main reason for the lower numbers.
Ken Hanson has been teaching hunter safety for more than 15 years and says the in-person experience is the best option for everyone, especially the kids in the class: “It gives them a lot more quality time with the instructors. If you sign up and get the booklet and fill it out, you’ll have more information and the basics down and you can pick up that much more in the classes."
From waterfalls and stream crossings to proper gun safety, kids learned everything they need to be prepared for when they go on the hunt this fall and were taught by volunteers who love to share their experiences with others to help prepare them.
Katie Vivian is also an instructor with more than five years of experiences and says having people share their stories and experiences is something that can’t really be taught online.
“You have teachers with 15, 20 plus years of experience, watching you and helping you plus they give you their personal stories and experiences and you can’t really get that online,” Vivian said.
This is the only fall course and FWP will conduct another one as spring approaches.