New Class: Hunters Ed

Beginning next Spring, middle school students in two Iowa school districts will receive hunter’s safety as part of their physical education class curriculum.

Both the North Butler and Clarksville Community School Districts will deliver a mandatory hunter safety course in the 7th and 8th grade PE curriculum reports Radio Iowa. Students in grades 9 through 12 will be given a chance to take voluntary classes.

“What we do best is educate our kids,” said Superintendent Joel Foster. “We feel if we educate our kids in how to use weapons responsibly, how to respect them, understand it’s not a video game and those sort of things, that maybe we’ll cut down on our chances of having a severe incident.”

Parents who do not want their children participating in the training can opt out of the class.

Besides a robust hunter’s education program — required by law as a prerequisite to buying a hunting license for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972 — the Iowa Department of Natural Resources also supports apprentice and mentor hunting programs as well as a number of initiatives in schools to impart shooting sports. These include the Iowa Scholastic Action Shooting Program that uses rifles, pistols, and shotguns in steel target matches and the Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program. According to the IDNR, there are more than 12 collegiate shooting teams in Iowa.