The most important points 10-year-old Alexis Anderton of Prairie City said she learned during a recent hunter education course was to “keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, and treat every gun like it’s loaded.”
Bryan Nelson and Mark Boss taught the class that ended in March, sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Both have taught the class for several years, along with Deanna Maley, who will instruct the course this summer.
Fifteen students completed the class held at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School and were certified at a field test day March 9 at the law enforcement range located near Prairie City.
Nelson said the youngest student was an 8-year-old, and those taking the class usually are 9-12.
He said teens may also take the class, because anyone under 18 has to pass the course to hunt.
Adults also sometimes enroll to have the training needed to have a concealed carry permit.
Sarah Clark, 12, of John Day said she has plans to hunt deer this year.
“It was just fun getting out and shooting,” she said at the field test day.
Volunteers for the test day included Katy Nelson, who handled registration and certificates; Mike Springer, who oversaw the archery portion; helping with shotgun were Chris Labhart and Michael Snyder; and Oregon State Police fish and game Trooper Chris Brandon helped with the rifles along with Bryan Nelson; and Boss helped kids with loading and shooting a black powder rifle.
Nick Stiner, 11, of Mt. Vernon hit his target about 50 yards away with Boss overseeing.
“I enjoyed shooting the muzzleloader and learned to better shoot with an open sight,” he said.
Nelson said the first and No. 1 lesson is having a safe direction for the muzzle.
“Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to pull it, and be sure of your target before you shoot — know what’s behind it (with) a good back stop to keep it from going where it shouldn’t go,” Nelson said.
Another hunter education course will be offered in July, usually the week after Independence Day.