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Hunters training and education

This is a discussion on Hunters training and education within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I have been involved recently in some heated exchanges with some american fellow hunters, mainly focusing on the perception of ...

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    jepetto62 is offline AH Veteran
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    Default Hunters training and education

    I have been involved recently in some heated exchanges with some american fellow hunters, mainly focusing on the perception of hunting, hunters behaviors and probably ethics.
    I would be interested in knowing what my colleagues think of hunters' education and training. A bit of background.
    I come from Switzerland, good hunting but particular. To get your hunting license, each hunter has to undergo courses (20 x 4 hours), covering everything from ecology, biology of game, ethics ammunition, dogs' breed etc... combined with 10 full days accompanying a qualified hunter, 2 days with a game warden, 3 days with a forest warden, 5 days of game counting, 10 days of forest/rivers cleaning etc...
    The whole thing takes two years, with a theoretical exam at the end, as well as a practical exam and a shooting exam. Roughly 1/2 of the candidates get their hunting license. Then you can hunt wherever you want (no private hunting).
    Then every five years, we have a shooting exam and if you do not hunt for ten consecutive years, then you lose your hunting rights.
    This has significantly increased the hunters' qualifications and has reduced the pressure from anti-hunting organizations (which tried to abolish hunting many times here)
    Compare to some countries, where you basically walk in a shopping center to buy your license and tags, quite a difference.
    What is your take on it? Are we over-doing it here? Are they under-doing it there?

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    jepetto62, I do not believe for one second that when it comes to training that there is such a thing as over-doing it......

    In S.A. for example, it is way to easy to become a "professional hunter", to begin with....
    I am a great supporter of a 3 year course and like the way that the discussions are going in terms of converting it into a full time 1 year and a compulsory 2 year apprenticeship.

    Granted I did a 12 day course in 99'.... and it's my 13th season as a professional hunter but it really took me 3 years to gather the experience and knowledge.. to provide my clients with a truly memorable safari and a informative consumate hunting experience, and believe me there is not a single day that goes by that I do not learn a valuable lesson or just something new......... That's the wonderfull thing about what we do!.. we will never know it all, it is honestly said just to complicated for us to know it all....

    I believe that part of S.A.'s problem is the instant courses, and every second youngster who drops out of college or University picks up a rifle a landcruiser and a Jack Russel and decides to be a full time guide..... (Crucify me for being honest I really do not care...)

    Now don't get me wrong, I love to encourage new comers to the industry, and we definetly need them...... but they must do their part as far as additional training and apprenticeship's go,..... do andvanced field guiding in dangerous game areas, in addition to their ph qualifications, pick up Smither's and Skinner (mamals to Southern Africa's Sub region) and make it your hanbook, get Palgrave's and all the others, because the more you know the better you'll be, this is an undisputed fact, "KNOWLEDGE IS KING" and the courses are just not comprehensive enough. (they migh be legal but they are by no means comprehensive) Shit! if need be do a degree in Zoology and Botany or a diploma in Nature conservation or a diploma in game ranch management first.

    In the end of the day you are empowering yourself, and that no one can take away from you.

    Find a good company and do an apprecnticeship, take a bit of hammering for 2 years as you will be a better guide exactly for that...., for one the SA guides that did exactly that, do very well for them selves in this industry,.. and there are very few, if any bad reports on them, they have a large number of returning hunters because they provide their clients with so much more than a shot at a "trophy"!.

    I can not speak for any other country, but I believe that you guys are on the right track......

    My very best always.
    Jaco Strauss
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    Ole Bally is offline AH Enthusiast
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    100% Jaco, Training is all important! From a clients perspective...the Swiss and Germans have the right attitude! If you wanna hunt get responsibly trained and stay trained! We relatively see very few German clients wounding game and getting injured in hunt accidents especially to do with their firearms. Some of my US clients have been to shooting schools and other 'tactical' academies and they really shine on safari!
    As far as PH's are concerned, those that get trained properly are the ones that eventually pass on the 'trade' seriously!

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    We have it similar in Norway as in Switzerland when it comes to the course, but sadly we don't have the demand for some practical hunting together with experienced hunters before you get your hunting license.

    But here in Norway you need to document minimum 30 shots at a range and pass a shooting test every year before you can hunt big game that year.

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    I had to go through a similar course to get my hunting license "40 hours" in Germany and after many years of hunting there I wish the US would adopt some of their hunting and management practices.
    Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Strauss View Post

    That's the wonderfull thing about what we do!.. we will never know it all....
    Jaco, very well put!
    But unfortuantely there are those who walk out of the academy and thinks he knows it all....because he's a PEEE - AITCH.

    I always say, the day I believe I know everything, is the day I put my rifles down for the last time and pack up. I always make a point to learn something new, every single time I am out hunting and you better believe it, that nature always has her way to show me, that I actually know nothing.
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    In Bavaria it is now 60 hrs classroom,20 hrs mandatory range and 16 hrs practical work in hunting area.We also take students on drive hunts as beaters and when possible and try to visit one hunting expo plus local gunshops.Upon completion a written test,a practical exam in front of judges and a shooting test is required.The American students must meet the same requirements.Upon graduation I tell them their education has just begun

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    I will address just the "common hunter" discussion and not the RSA PH stuff.

    I think the European standards are different and should be different than the U.S. The hunting cultures are extremely different.

    1. Using a broad stroke....hunting in Europe is much more expensive and usually for the well healed individuals. Not so in America. Hunting is very much a family, and to some extent, community endeavor, regardless of financial means.

    2. Hunter recruitment is already difficult in the U.S. We make young hunters take a "hunter education course" before they can hunt. I believe this training is perfect. The classroom stresses the importance of safety, proper gun handling, shot placement, types of weapons, etc. Most can complete the class in a day.

    HOWEVER, if we instituted a much stricter policy, I think hunter recruitment would dive even farther....losing out to video games and other pursuits of young people. The hunter education needs to be difficult, but not so burdensome as to lose interest.

    3. I'm all for training future hunters, but it has to be in the middle. Enough to produce responsible and ethical hunters...but not so much as to alienate and discourage participation in the wonderful outdoor experience of hunting.

    That's my .02.
    Tom

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    rino64 is offline AH Member
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    Traditionally in America hunting was taught by a male member of family or a family friend unfortunately this not always possible in the modern family nor is walking the railroad tracks with 410 as I did growing up.There are youngsters who have an interest in the outdoors but it quickly fades due to lack of opportunity.We as hunter's we need a progam to nuture their passion.The worst case a youngster buys a gun at 18 goes hunting and something goes seriously wrong.Great press for the anti-hunting groups.I am not saying a European style course but a least a program to insure safety and a moderate chance of sucess to keep the young hunters from leaving the sport

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    I will address just the "common hunter" discussion and not the RSA PH stuff.

    I think the European standards are different and should be different than the U.S. The hunting cultures are extremely different.

    1. Using a broad stroke....hunting in Europe is much more expensive and usually for the well healed individuals. Not so in America. Hunting is very much a family, and to some extent, community endeavor, regardless of financial means.

    2. Hunter recruitment is already difficult in the U.S. We make young hunters take a "hunter education course" before they can hunt. I believe this training is perfect. The classroom stresses the importance of safety, proper gun handling, shot placement, types of weapons, etc. Most can complete the class in a day.

    HOWEVER, if we instituted a much stricter policy, I think hunter recruitment would dive even farther....losing out to video games and other pursuits of young people. The hunter education needs to be difficult, but not so burdensome as to lose interest.

    3. I'm all for training future hunters, but it has to be in the middle. Enough to produce responsible and ethical hunters...but not so much as to alienate and discourage participation in the wonderful outdoor experience of hunting.

    That's my .02.
    Good point and interesting.
    even though, I should say that some hunting countries are (relatively) cheap to hunt in Europe, France for example, where hunters range from farmers to CEOs...
    One personal example.
    Switzerland has a hunting season that begins early August (wild board, till February), then Chamois (sept/nov), roeder and Ibex (Oct), red deer (nov-jan), not counting ducks and birds.
    To get the "full package" will cost you around 1500$, tags and permit included.
    And you can hunt wherever you want (the hunting right belong to the Sate, not the landowner)...

    Concerning your last point, i fully agree. I have hunted a lot I the US (used to live there) and have been horrified by what I have seen ethically, we all have our black sheeps but I guess exams and training do help filtering...

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    jepetto62 is offline AH Veteran
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    Quote Originally Posted by rino64 View Post
    Traditionally in America hunting was taught by a male member of family or a family friend unfortunately this not always possible in the modern family nor is walking the railroad tracks with 410 as I did growing up.There are youngsters who have an interest in the outdoors but it quickly fades due to lack of opportunity.We as hunter's we need a progam to nuture their passion.The worst case a youngster buys a gun at 18 goes hunting and something goes seriously wrong.Great press for the anti-hunting groups.I am not saying a European style course but a least a program to insure safety and a moderate chance of sucess to keep the young hunters from leaving the sport
    Is there anything offered currently? the point you make about anti-hunting is a good one. We had lots of anti-hunting pressure here, it kind of died-off by itself once hunters became triple careful about ethics, not showing dead animals around and when accidents became non-existant...

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    I certainly support hunter training, in Alberta our hunter training is a joke. It is better than nothing but certainly could stand much improvement. At the same time though I feel that since our children are the next generation of hunters and interests are developed at an early age that a 2 year apprenticeship may not appeal to the short attention spans of children and we could lose our hunter base in the long run. If however anyone could hunt as long as they were accompanied by a trained hunter then I could see both Children and non-hunters developing an interest in our sport. Once the interest is there and they have decided that hunting is something they want to pursue as a hobby then they could go through the course and hunt on thier own.

    Jepetto, how much does the course cost? If it is cost prohibitive many would not bother. Is the 50% attricion an actual figure? I would hate to think that we would do anything to reduce our numbers, and voice, in half.
    The journey is the reward.

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    Here in Illinios (USA) a hunter born after 1980 is required to pass a safety class before they can purchase a hunting license. They can buy an apprentice license that lasts for one year. They have to hunt with either a licensed parent, grandparent or guardian (under 18) or someone with a valid license (over 18), but after that time passes, they have to get their safety card. I like this idea because it allows someone to make sure they want to continue hunting before they invest the time in acquiring a safety card.

    I have taught hunter safey and wingshooting in Illinois for about the past 12 years (been a long time). I think the programs work well and lay the foundation for people to become safe and responsible hunters. I cannot remember the specifics, but hunting incidents have fallen precipitously since the implementation of mandatory safety classes. However, requirements for the safety card needs to be balanced. The class here takes about 10 hours of instruction over two days. We cover topics ranging from ethics to biology to firearm/bow safety. We even teach a bit of survival skills and first aid. I think that if it was any longer, there would not be near as many kids seeking their safety cards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    I will address just the "common hunter" discussion and not the RSA PH stuff.

    I think the European standards are different and should be different than the U.S. The hunting cultures are extremely different.

    1. Using a broad stroke....hunting in Europe is much more expensive and usually for the well healed individuals. Not so in America. Hunting is very much a family, and to some extent, community endeavor, regardless of financial means.

    2. Hunter recruitment is already difficult in the U.S. We make young hunters take a "hunter education course" before they can hunt. I believe this training is perfect. The classroom stresses the importance of safety, proper gun handling, shot placement, types of weapons, etc. Most can complete the class in a day.

    HOWEVER, if we instituted a much stricter policy, I think hunter recruitment would dive even farther....losing out to video games and other pursuits of young people. The hunter education needs to be difficult, but not so burdensome as to lose interest.

    3. I'm all for training future hunters, but it has to be in the middle. Enough to produce responsible and ethical hunters...but not so much as to alienate and discourage participation in the wonderful outdoor experience of hunting.

    That's my .02.
    Hunter recruitment is very hard in the USA. When I was child I could knock on a door and get permission to hunt just about anywhere. That ended a long time ago. With leases, gas prices, land prices, vehicle and house payments....parents are stretched harder and harder to make time and money to get kids in the field. And with the internet and video game and every other thing the main stream media is blasting on the radio, internet, newspaper, tv, etc. People are finding other things to do with their time. A lot of times, people quit because they see no game. Every state in the USA uses hunting licenses like a revenue source, not caring if the populations of game animals are low and predator populations are high. It's about selling people to spend money to hunt. People either find a enjoyable way to hunt within their budget means or they quit.

    I sit a lot of times on the sideline, because I have to save my money to hunt. That doesn't bother me...I have the passion and drive to hunt. Most people I met don't have that desire. They need instant results hunting or it's on to the next big thing.

    As far as training people to hunt. I like the way the USA does things. I think it a older hunter's responsibility to show new hunters the right way to do things.

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    I believe that part of S.A.'s problem is the instant courses, and every second youngster who drops out of college or University picks up a rifle a landcruiser and a Jack Russel and decides to be a full time guide..... (Crucify me for being honest I really do not care...)
    I think this plagues the RSA hunting. Because you have guys that have no ethics in the business to make a quick buck and get out. Someone said yesterday, that there are a ton of PH's in RSA out of work...very true. The whole regulatory end of hunting in Africa is a lot looser in regulations than the USA. I think it's because we have lawyers behind every blade of grass.

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    I do agree that RSA needs a stricter PH program. Maybe not as difficult as Zim, but something that really challenges and weeds out the weekend warrior, focusing on people that truly want this as a profession. Nothing worth anything is ever easy.
    Tom

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    Its interesting to hear that there are such differences in hunter education aroun the world. But the maine thing is that there are progress in development of education.

    I grew up learning the skills from my father and grandfather. I am old enough to get away without the course here in Norway. Since I have been doing some jobs as ranger/hunting police I did take the course anyway. Its not to hard, but hard enough to teach the teenagers ethics and safe hunting.

    To say that hunting in Europe are only for the wealthy people, would be an exaggeration. In all of Scandinavia, France, most of Germany, Switzerland, Most of Balticum and Russia the hunting are for the people. There are some countrys I Eastern Europe and on private estates in Great Britain and Spain where hunting are expensiv. But I think hunting on game farms in Texas are expensiv as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    I do agree that RSA needs a stricter PH program. Maybe not as difficult as Zim, but something that really challenges and weeds out the weekend warrior, focusing on people that truly want this as a profession. Nothing worth anything is ever easy.
    It is already in place.

    Most who pass the courses do not go on to succeed in the industry. The majority in fact.
    And some of the poor kids find out after the fact, that a particular school has no respect in the profession and their parchment is not worth the paper it is written on.

    PH's do go through an "apprenticeship" of experience and work their butts off if they want a chance to make it.

    In Limpopo you have to have your PH for a few years and have some international hunters under your belt before you can apply for an Outfitters permit. Another weeding process.

    There were actually people in my class that used the PH course as ONE COURSE in a set of requirements for a environmental degree. (Not every PH course offered but some are qualified)

    Go take the course from a good school, not a printing press, and you will have your challenge.
    Sign up and tell me how you do.

    I have seen no hunting offers from PH's with ink still wet on the parchment?
    Interestingly though there are no qualifications or courses to start an hunting agency!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondhitch View Post
    I certainly support hunter training, in Alberta our hunter training is a joke. It is better than nothing but certainly could stand much improvement.....
    It is a rudimentary, mandatory course intended to introduce young people (focused at a 12 to 14 year old) to the basics of hunting throughout North America.
    the basics are all the same:
    Module 1 - Role of Hunter
    Module 2 - Hunting Ethics
    Module 3 - Wildlife Management & Conservation
    Module 4 - Wildlife Identification
    Module 5 - Clothing & Equipment
    Module 6 - Firearms
    Module 7 - Bow Hunting
    Module 8 - Survival
    Module 9 - Field Techniques
    Module 10 - First Aid
    Module 11 - Hypothermia
    Module 12 - Legal Responsibilities

    What else do you think a 12 to 14 year old should know?
    They can not hunt unaccompanied on top of this, until they are of age. In reality an apprenticeship.

    It is no longer permissable to challenge the test/exam. You have to sit in the entire course and then pass the exam. There is no required practical component or proficiency like RSA has. (Senior Hunters Course)

    I have had students come up to me years later thanking me for saving their lives because of what they learned in one of these courses.

    It is basic and it does its job. It covers the legislated minimum to start you off.
    It is more stringent than a obtaining a automobile drivers license!
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    Brick, "a joke" is probably a bit strong I just find it to be as you say, very "Rudementary". I would love to see a shooting component added for one - with actual practical range experience. Poor shooting is quite rampant I think mainly because most people do not know how to properly staibilize a firearm so how will they ever teach their kids? I would say that maybe 5% of hunters I have met even know that a sling is designed to stabilize your arm while shooting and even fewer know how to adjust one properly. The only type of resting position a large majority of hunters here know is off the mirror of the truck.
    It would be nice to be able to practice practical hunting skills like how to properly stillhunt and such. I think alot of people road hunt simply because walking at full speed down the center of a wide open cutline is not as productive and that is all they know.

    The biggest problem with expanding that course to help people be proficient hunters and marksmen is the time and expense involved in something of that scale. The current system has definitely dramatically reduced the number of people who cant tell the difference between a Mulie and a Whitetail and I think that is exactly what it is geared for.
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