Why do hunters hunt? Here are some answers:
• “I don’t know. I just like it.”
• “I remember going to the woods with Dad and following him.”
• “If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand.”
• Farmer Joe Diercks puts it this way: “I would like to see the hunters shoot all the deer they want. They do plenty of feeding in our cornfields.”
And then there’s this explanation from Loren Zaruba, who has been training youths in hunting safety since 1989.
“There’s a lot more to hunting than shooting guns. In many respects there is very little shooting involved. It’s about being outdoors, knowing your game and game signs and being with friends or a good dog.
“Most shooting needs to happen long before the hunt, so the person has the skills needed to harvest the game quickly, cleanly — and safely.”
One study suggests that the hunter has 7 seconds after sighting the target to aim at a vital spot and fire.
Loren first became involved in youth safety classes in 1992 when his son attended a Youth Hunter Education Challenge and Loren went along as his coach.
“We met a lot of great people there and I started coaching teams, and continue to this day with others from Clinton County. Then Ellen and I became more involved with teaching Hunter Education and we became the chief instructors in 1996.
“The people in our classes are truly interested in the information presented, which makes it fun to teach. Also there are many excellent volunteer instructors in Clinton County who give their time to teach. I cannot remember a time when I did not learn something from one of these instructors.
“We often tell our students that the Hunter Education certificate is a beginning and they can continue to learn the rest of their lives. We try to impress on them that hunting is more than just bringing home a limit of game.”
Hunter Education is offered in all 50 states and Canada, Zaruba said. It is also required (to different degrees) in all states before being able to purchase a hunting license.
In Iowa, if a person is born after Jan. 1, 1967, they are required to have Hunter Education training before being able to buy a hunting license.
In Iowa, Hunter Education classes are organized by county. A class must consist of at least 10 hours of training. Some topics are considered ‘musts’, such as hunting laws, ethics and survival/first aid.
Typically, Clinton County classes start on Tuesday night with presentations on ethics and a DNR officer reviewing game laws.
Student manuals are handed out and the students are required to read the manual before the class reconvenes at 8 a.m. on the following Saturday.
On Saturday, while students are viewing videos related to the class, certified volunteers set up five stations for hands-on training.
“The instructors in Clinton County strongly believe in the hands-on approach and live fire is offered at four stations on one-hour rotations: shotgun, .22 rifle, muzzleloader, archery and a safety trail.
“All firearms and ammunition is provided by the state. Firearms are inspected at least annually by a certified gunsmith and checked by the primary station instructor prior to any student use.
“A certified instructor is with the students at all times when there is live firing, to assure muzzle control and provide coaching.
“The safety trail station is a little different. A course is set up where students walk the course with an instructor. They are asked questions such as ‘shoot’ or ‘don’t shoot.’
“Life-size animal targets are set in real life settings. The questions are typically three-parts: is it a safe shot?, is it a legal shot?, is it an ethical shot? Situations may focus on not shooting over a hill, knowing what is beyond the target, animal identification, knowing what game your ‘pretend’ license would allow for harvest and reviewing the game laws from Tuesday night.
“Dummy ammunition is provided here so the students can demonstrate timely loading/unloading, such as when crossing fences.
“There are three rotations before lunch and two after. Normally all rotations are complete about 3 p.m. Then students are given a 50-question test.
“The students who fail the test are the ones who have failed to listen, are careless with firearms, or show a general disregard toward instructors and others.
“These people are usually asked to leave the class and are never given the opportunity to take the test. All instructors are empowered to ask a student to leave the class if they are disruptive or show repeated carelessness in the handling of firearms.”
A schedule of classes is posted on the Iowa DNR web site after the class season begins.
The Clinton County Conservation Board sponsors an Enhanced Hunter Education Camp most summers at the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center south of Wheatland.
Information on that camp is available at (563) 847-7202.
Why do hunters hunt? Here are some answers:
MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Sam McKenrick
CAMANCHE -- Those attending Camanche's Memorial Day ceremony on Monday will not be able to miss Sam McKenrick, 91, of Clinton. This veteran will recite Johnny Cash's "This Ragged Old Flag" by heart.
Earthen Treasures: Vendors and shoppers ready for farmers market
CLINTON -- Jean Morgan spends more than 10 hours a week weeding, planting and tending to 2-acre plot of land just outside of Camanche.
New marina operator, manager make changes to please boaters
The new Clinton Marina and RV Park operator has taken charge of the riverfront amenities, making sure boaters and campers are taken care of and the facilities run smoothly just in time for Memorial Day.
- Krumpets will be moving to Fulton FULTON, Ill. — A Clinton restaurant will be moving into the old Corner Treasures & Treats building at 1016 Fourth St. in Fulton. Charles Dykstra, of the Fulton Retail Development Group, made the announcement during the Fulton City Council meeting thi
- Okla. front pages capture tornado aftermath View how several Oklahoma newspapers covered Monday's massive tornado in Moore. Please note that officials revised the death toll downward early Tuesday morning after some papers were printed, but it is expected to climb again as recovery efforts continue.
- Striding for awareness CAMANCHE -- Organizers for the third annual Strides for Clinton County Autism Family Walk and 5K run agreed that Saturday's turnout was better than last year. "It's getting bigger every year," Lori Bigwood, one of the organizers for the event, said.
- Nancy Holt CAMANCHE -- Nancy Holt, 65, of Camanche, had a port placed in her chest this week to facilitate weekly plasma infusions. She said this is the best way to treat Alpha-1. For the past few years, Nancy's health has been declining. At the same time, her
- Students honored at ceremony CLINTON -- Seventy-four students from Clinton High School's class of 2013 were honored Thursday during the 27th annual senior honors convocation. The class of 2013 has taken more Advanced Placement tests and has earned some of the highest scores on
- Group eyes bandshell improvement CLINTON -- A group of Clinton volunteers wants to transform the Riverview bandshell from an unkempt structure to an attractive venue for community events. Members of Vision 8, a Clinton-based nonprofit organization working together to improve the ima
- Cool Streak Snapped CLINTON -- It didn't take long for the Gateway-area to bust out of a recent cool streak that extended through the weekend. In fact, the swing temperature was record-breaking. Tuesday's high of 93 degrees broke a record high from 1932. The temperature
- More Features Headlines
- MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Sam McKenrick