Students to hone hunter-safety skills
Hunter safety gears up next week when Richard Riedel and crew start talking to about 120 eighth-graders at Tonganoxie Junior High.
Scheduled to hold three sessions during the physical education classes on 13 school days, the purpose of the class is to instruct students about hunter education.
At the end of the class, students will receive a hunter education card, which will entitle them to hunt.
"Even if you're out with your father walking alongside of them you're still pursuing game and, legally, to pursue game, you have to have your hunter education card," Riedel said.
A certified hunter education instructor for 27 years, Riedel has planned the classes to include speakers from various aspects of hunting.
Slated for the first day of class next Monday is Larry Shepek, who will give an introduction to hunter education.
Cindy Cunningham, Kansas City, Kan., a nationally known taxidermist, will speak to students on Sept. 26. She'll be talking about wildlife identification and will bring mounted game to teach the students.
"She has a beautiful display that she has mounted on a rolling frame and she brings into the school," Riedel said.
Tom Bolen, Hodgson's Powder Company, Shawnee Mission, will speak to the students about the history of firearms, beginning with the first muskets and black power use in firearms.
"He will be wearing his buckskins when he teaches the class," Riedel said.
On Oct. 2 through 4, a computerized dart simulater will be at the school so all the high school and junior high students will have a chance to use it. An animal is pictured on the computer screen and students shoot a laser at it.
"They're real guns, but the actions are sealed and the laser is in the barrel, so it's no more dangerous than a broom handle or baseball bat," Riedel said.
The unit costs about $30,000 and will be provided by the Kansas Parks and Wildlife.
"That was set up at the Leavenworth County Fair and it was one of the biggest hits at the fair," Riedel said.
Conservation officer Glen Cannizzaro will talk to the students about law enforcement as it pertains to hunting and fishing.
By the time the students complete the class, they'll know something about gun safety, animal identification, conservation, hunting laws and hunting responsibility, Riedel said.
Also, drugs and alcohol will be part of it.
"You don't drink and drive, and you don't use drugs or alcohol and then go out hunting," Riedel said.
This program is funded in part by various organizations and businesses. There is no additional cost for the school district, Riedel said.