NEWS | May 1, 2012

JB Charleston volunteers selected as S.C. Hunter Educators of the Year

By Terrence Larimer Joint Base Charleston Natural and Cultural Resources manager

At a banquet in Columbia last week, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Director, Alvin Taylor, recognized the Joint Base Charleston instructor team as Regional Hunter Education Instructors of the Year.

In presenting the award, Taylor said, "These volunteer instructors are vital to the SCDNR's effort to maintain this state's excellent record of hunting and outdoor safety."

The Joint Base instructor team consists of Staff Sgt. Jake Darracot, Chief Warrant Officer Hunter Crider, Robert Talbot, Curt Porter, Stan Gragg, Don Watts, Keith Thompson and Terrence Larimer. In the past year this group of eight instructors taught four SCDNR Hunter Safety Education classes reaching 256 students.

In addition to working with the Hunter Education Program, the instructor group has also made significant contributions to the SCDNR's Take One, Make One program at JB Charleston and manned the SCDNR education booth at the annual Southeastern Wildlife Expo. They also have volunteered many hours in support of outdoor recreation at JB Charleston. This support has helped provide thousands of hours of hunting, fishing and recreational trail use to hundreds of military and civilian personnel.

Lt. Billy Downer, head of Hunter and Boater Education for SCDNR said, "As a group, these instructors are knowledgeable, professional and conscientious. Collectively their credentials are outstanding: active duty U.S. Air Force instructor, certified wildlife biologist, certified all-terrain vehicle Safety Institute instructor, JB Charleston game warden, Mt. Pleasant police captain, American Canoe and Kayak Association instructor and a certified first responder. Truly the depth and breath of the experience that they bring to share with the students are remarkable."

Hunter education courses on JB Charleston are open to everyone and can be pre-registered for at the SCDNR web site www.dnr.sc.gov/. The eight-hour education course is mandatory for all JB Charleston hunters as well as all residents and non-residents born after June 30, 1979. The course includes instruction in the principles of hunter safety emphasizing firearm safety and handling. Students also gain knowledge of basic natural resources management principles, hunting ethics, hunter-landowner relations and hunting techniques.

Hunter education graduates receive certification cards that are recognized by all states requiring mandatory hunter education. This year, classes will be July 14, August 11, Sept. 15 and Nov. 3. For additional information, call the JB Charleston Natural Resources office at 764-7951.