February 22, 2021

Hunter-Ed and Schools: Oklahoma’s Next Generation of Conservation

Contact: Kent Keene, Senior Coordinator, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy

After working closely with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and NASC Executive Council Member Senator Mark Allen recently introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 (SCR 5) in the Oklahoma Senate. This resolution, coauthored by Caucus Co-Chair Senator J.J. Dossett, would encourage Oklahoma’s public school districts to incorporate the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (ODWC) Hunter Education course into their middle or high school curriculum. As a concurrent resolution, SCR 5 will need approval by both the Oklahoma House and Senate to pass. Incoming Caucus Co-Chair Representative Kevin Wallace will serve as the resolution’s principal author in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Hunter Education courses, which are required for most hunters who wish to hunt on their own, provide important information related to hunting and general firearm safety, conservation ethics, the role of sportsmen and women in the management of our wildlife resources, and general wildlife information. Even for those who are not interested in hunting, participating in a hunter education course provides valuable information related to wildlife conservation and the importance of our outdoor heritage.

Currently, ODWC provides free resources for school districts interested in implementing this course as part of their curriculum. SCR 5 simply highlights the availability of these resources and encourages more school districts to consider participating in this program to carry on Oklahoma’s rich sporting and conservation heritage. Further, school districts incorporating this course into their curriculum are actively recruiting and training the next generation of sportsmen and women.

In addition to its encouragement for Oklahoma’s public school districts, SCR 5 also highlights the availability of ODWC’s free online hunter education course that is available to anyone 10 years-of-age and older who is interested in receiving their hunter education certification. This resolution will be a top priority for members of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and CSF as we seek to highlight the importance of hunter education and assist with hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts in the Sooner State.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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