The implementation of hunter education classes in public high schools in the state may be vary depending on the rural nature of each of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
The state legislature approved the bill that would allow the DNR’s certified instructors to teach hunter education and hunter safety during classroom time at the discretion of each county’s superintendent.
"I think it might very well be of interest to them," said Boone County Superintendent Steve Pauley.
Pauley acknowledges that a large number of his county’s students enjoy hunting in the fall. However, Pauley questions putting the classes into a high school setting.
"They need it at a younger age I believe," said Pauley. "But if it’s the law and it’s voluntary and we can implement it without impeding on the other curriculum, I can see where it would be a benefit."
Pauley recalls more than two decades ago when hunter education was taught by the DNR in the middle schools. Today a hunter must be ten-years-old to take the hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. The new law allows only that it be taught in high school classes, generally covering students from age 13 to 18. Pauley thinks that may be too late for those who would want or need the class to purchase a hunting license.
Urban schools may not have nearly the interest. William Smith is the superintendent in Cabell County Schools and says there have been no cries for the course in his system.
"From what I gather, I don’t think it’s going to be something we put on the front burner," said Smith. "If we do something, I think what I would probably expect to recommend to our board is to have something in the evening or Saturday school for that."
Smith says Cabell County schools already have a packed day of coursework and he doesn’t see an area where a voluntary hunter education course could be fit into the day-to-day curriculum even on a voluntary basis.