Bullseye Bulletin: Winter 2023
The strength of Wisconsin’s Hunter Safety Education program is you — the volunteer instructors who dedicate time to share your expertise and experiences in learning how to handle a firearm safely. The success of the program and documented history of making Wisconsin a safe place to hunt and recreate is because of the many volunteer instructors.
THANK YOU: Regional Appreciation Events on Deck
The DNR would like to show our appreciation for your efforts by providing regional instructor appreciation events this year. Please see the updates from our Outdoor Skills Trainers (OST) later in the bulletin to find the event in your area. Please join us for these excellent opportunities for fellowship, networking and learning. We look forward to seeing you there.
Your Feedback Is Wanted
Your feedback is an integral part of the future of the Wisconsin Hunter Education Program. You will receive a short survey outlining proposed operations in the coming weeks. Please watch your email inbox for the survey and dedicate a few minutes to complete it.
Equipment Inventory Underway
It’s that time of year for the annual firearms and firearm kits inventory used to teach our hunter-safety education courses. DNR Outdoor Skills Trainers will be reaching out to instructors to verify their possession of the firearms, and we ask for your prompt response so they can meet their Feb. 1 deadline.
Finally, this month the DNR will be performing interviews for the vacant Hunter Education Administrator position. We look forward to having our new administrator on the job in February; watch for more information as soon as we have it.
Award Deliveries on the Way – But Delayed
As previously mentioned, we are experiencing a delay in receiving the items we ordered for the annual instructor anniversary awards. Issuing the awards is a priority for the Hunter Education Program, and we will provide them as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience on this matter. Once again, thank you for all you do to support Wisconsin’s Hunter Education Program, and we look forward to working with you in 2023.
Hunter Education: Adapting to the Future
Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section Chief, April Dombrowski
The Hunter Education Program is in an exciting era of transition to widen our reach into diverse populations, bolster our valuable instructor team and expand our safety program delivery to meet potential and existing hunters where they are.
The truly exciting part of this evolution is that each of us reading this newsletter is part of the process of ushering our important safety program into the future through innovation and exploration. COVID-19 allowed us to take an honest look at current operations, which had worked for years, while acknowledging that the times were racing ahead.
Here are our three goals to highlight. Please know that you will be asked for input as we work together to develop the Hunter Education Program of the future.
- Determine and provide the hunter education services and products the state’s diverse populations want and need.
- This includes maintaining current hunter education delivery methods – Adult Online-Only, Internet + Field Day, Traditional Hunter Ed in the classroom and Archery – while striving for improvements, enhancements and participant preference; meeting our students where they are and not necessarily where we are.
- Retain, recruit and re-engage our volunteer hunter education instructors.
- Our program staff is reconnecting with our instructor corps, providing support and resources to our existing instructors. Staff is also recruiting new instructors who will allow sustainability and services into the future.
- Explore ways to better engage and produce changed safety behavior among the demographics most frequently associated with hunting incidents.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
About one year ago, the DNR Secretary’s office asked our Hunter Education Program to explore hunter education delivery options and services. This meant looking into emerging societal trends with flexible learning balanced with the importance of in-person learning. A small ad-hoc committee was created with program staff and volunteer instructors who also are members of the Wisconsin Hunter Education Coalition. The impetus behind this request was the program’s historic pivot to an all-online platform during the height of the pandemic. Through regular meetings and thoughtful conversation, the committee delivered short-term goals or areas of focus for the program.
Through the pandemic, we learned that we could pivot to an all-online hunter education delivery program. The time was appropriate to evaluate what we learned from this historical shift and look at how the program can evolve to the next model for tomorrow’s customer base.
The Hunter Education Coalition welcomed this exploration in collaboration with the Hunter Education Program. I would like to recognize the time and effort of the work completed by the committee along with their continued commitment to hunter education. This was truly a team effort by all involved. A special thank you to the coalition members of John Plenke, Rick Heisler, Tom Thoreson, Ray Anderson and Peggy Farrell.
Additional details and explanations of how we will move on to the short-term goals will be provided through your local OST at upcoming workshops.
YOU ARE PART OF OUR SUCCESS
Success means working collaboratively with our hunter education volunteer instructors and partners to strengthen hunter education into the future. We will continue to be out front in innovation and have Wisconsin be a leader across the nation in the delivery of hunter education. We will take what we learned from the pandemic and collectively identify the changes we need to make for the next model of hunter education based on what we learned and what we know.
2022 Hunting Season Safety Summary
Safety is our top concern when it comes to hunting and recreating in Wisconsin. The DNR provides annual hunting incident synopses and reports. The 2022 annual report won’t be out for a while yet; however, you can find a summary of incidents on the 2022 Wisconsin Hunting Incident Summary webpage. As you all know, each incident can be traced to at least one of the TAB-K rules that were compromised. In 2022, there were 12 incidents, and in some cases, more than one of the TAB-K rules was compromised. We must continue to stress these important rules of firearm safety:
Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Be certain of your target, what is in front of it and what is beyond it.
Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
Hunter Education Award Nominations
Award nominations for the 2023 Outstanding Instructor (Hunter Ed and/or Archery) or Group and Professional of the Year are NOW OPEN and will continue through Feb. 15. Nomination forms can be found on the Volunteer Safety Instructor Forms webpage, or you can contact your OST for hard copies. Winners are notified in March and invited to an awards presentation at the annual WHEIA banquet. (See below for more information.)
Completed forms can be submitted to:
Hunter Safety – LE/8
PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707
Updates From Outdoor Skills Trainers
Kim Cooley, South Central Region
email@example.com or 608-575-3615
I hope you all had a good holiday season, ate lots of good food and spent lots of time with family. Here are some updates from my region:
Instructor Appreciation Events
I have two instructor appreciation events scheduled so far and am looking for a place around Baraboo to hold a third. If you have any ideas or connections there, please let me know. I will send formal invites out early next year, but I wanted to get them on your calendars now. RSVPs will be required for these. You are welcome to attend any that work for you.
- May 20 – Milford Hills Gun Club – RSVP by May 1
W5670 French Rd, Johnson Creek, WI 53038
Social hour starts at 4 p.m. and dinner at 5 p.m.
Sporting clay shooting will be available for those who would like to shoot (instructors will need to cover their own costs to shoot if they choose to participate).
- June 24 – Crossroads Supper Club (Formerly Arthur House) – RSVP by June 1
9315 State Road 80, Platteville, WI
Social at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m.
Upcoming Workshops and Mini Academies: RSVPs are appreciated for instructor trainings. You can RSVP to me by phone, email or online through Go Wild.
If you are unsure when you are due for recertification, you can check on your Instructor Dashboard, or I can look it up.
Recertification Workshops (recertification for current instructors)
- Jan. 26, 6-9 p.m. Avoca Village Hall, 401 Wisconsin Street, Avoca, WI 53506
- March 27, 6-9 p.m. Cassville Conservation Club, 5770 Cadwell Rd, Cassville, WI 53806
Certification Mini Academies (recertification for current instructors and certification training for new instructors)
- Feb. 18, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tri-County Archers Building, 9145 Co Line Rd, Platteville, WI 53818
- April 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Portage County Rod and Gun Club, W10450 Hwy 16, Portage, WI 53901
- April 29, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fitchburg DNR Office, 3911 Fish Hatchery Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53711
ATV, Boat and Snowmobile
- March 11, 9 a.m.-noon Fitchburg DNR Office, 3911 Fish Hatchery Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53711
TJ Wendel, Southeast Region
firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-666-4374
Hello SER Hunter Education Instructors,
I hope you all had a good hunting season and an enjoyable holiday break with friends and family. I have some updates on the 2023 recertification workshop schedule, instructor appreciation events and equipment and trailers.
A few more will be scheduled, but we’re still finalizing details on locations and dates.
- Feb. 21, 12-1 p.m. Virtual, Microsoft Teams Meeting – Email email@example.com to obtain the login details.
- March 7, 6-8 p.m. Racine County, Richard Bong State Recreation Area Visitors Center Auditorium, 26313 Burlington Rd, Kansasville, WI 53139
- April 3, 6.-8 p.m. Fond Du Lac County, Henry S. Reuss Ice Age Visitor Center at N2875 State Highway 67 Campbellsport, WI 53010. (920-533-8322)
- May 9, 6-8 p.m. Washington County, Pike Lake State Park North Shelter
- June 6, 6-8 p.m. Ozaukee County, Harrington Beach State Park
- July 11, 6-8 p.m. Sheboygan County, Kohler Andrae State Park Visitor Center Auditorium, 1020 Beach Park Ln, Sheboygan, WI 53081
- Sept. 12, 6-8 p.m. Waukesha County, Southern Unit HQ Auditorium
- Oct. 10, 7-8 p.m. Virtual, Microsoft Teams Meeting – Email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the login details.
Instructor Appreciation Events
I am excited to announce that we are restarting annual appreciation events for our instructors. There will be three events held in the SER this year. For two of the three, we have finalized preliminary planning. There will be a third event in the Washington and Fond Du Lac two-county area, and we should have more details soon. You will need to RSVP for these events. Please write, email or call Michelle or me to let us know which event you want to attend.
- June 20, 5-8 p.m. Waukesha County, McMiller Sports Center
- July 18, 5-8 p.m. Washington County, Daniel Boone Conservation League
Trailers and Equipment
Trailers are still available over the winter for checkout, but they have all been moved to a central location for servicing and restocking. If you need to reserve a trailer, please let me know so we can arrange delivery or pick up. If you need supplies before your spring classes, please let me know. I can ship or deliver what you need, be it new dummy ammo or replacement tree stands.
Thank you for making my first year in the role such a great experience. I have really enjoyed meeting many of you at workshops or classes, and it’s been my pleasure to work with you all.
Kayla Sasse, Northeast Region
email@example.com or 920-360-2361
Welcome to the new year, and thank you to everyone who made 2022 a successful year for training students. As I come up on my first anniversary in this position, I continue to be blown away by the dedication and passion each of you shows toward the shared goal of safety. Let’s keep rockin’ for years to come.
I’m still working on my recertification workshop schedule for winter/spring. I have two currently open for signup in Go Wild (below). If you know your group will be due for recertification this year, reach out, and we can set something up for your area. This is also a good time of year to consider how to recruit new instructors into your group. Many hands make light work, so grab some new folks and let’s get them trained.
Instructor Recertification Workshops
- Feb. 8, 6-9 p.m. Lone Oak Gun Club, Gillett, Oconto County
- March 8, 6-9 p.m. Green Bay DNR Service Center, Brown County
I’ve been working on my firearm inventory, and I appreciate those who have already responded to my email inquiring about assigned firearms. If your group uses DNR-assigned firearms, please check their condition and let me know if anything needs replacing.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or if you need assistance with anything. Thanks for all the hard work.
Linda Xion, West Central Region
firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-214-4211
I hope you had a chance to get with friends and family and enjoy healthy outdoor recreation. In-person instructor workshops and new instructor trainings will be coming. Please keep your home address and emails up to date, so you don’t miss any notifications.
- New Instructor Training La Crosse County Hunter Education Mini-Academy Will certify new instructors or count towards recertification Date: Feb. 4 Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Location: Omni Center, 255 Riders Club Rd, Onalaska, WI 54650
- Virtual Recertification Option Microsoft Teams, Exploring Go Wild and Your Instructor Dashboard Will recertify current instructors Date: Feb. 8 Time: 6 – 7 p.m.
Recertification by Exam Option This option is still available to instructors who need to recertify. Please contact me for the link or to have it mailed.
Volunteer Safety Instructor Appreciation Banquets Local conservation wardens and I are working on three appreciation banquets in the following counties: Portage, St. Croix and Vernon. I am waiting for venue date confirmation, caterer menu, and pricing. Instructors will be notified once all three venue/caterer agreements are approved.
As you plan upcoming classes, please contact me with equipment requests or questions.
Kate Juza, Northwest Region
email@example.com or 715-416-0483
Greetings to our northern instructors. Just a reminder that we are slowly working on verifying our firearm inventories again – it’s that time of year – so keep an eye out for calls, emails and letters requesting verifications in the next few weeks.
A few virtual recertifications have been held recently and have worked out well for those who have attended. There is another scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 11:30 a.m. Please let me know if you would like to attend so I can forward you the appropriate link. There is also a recertification workshop scheduled for Jan. 26 at the Birchwood school at 6 p.m. Again, please let me know if you would like to attend, so that I can plan accordingly. Light refreshments will be provided.
Moving into spring, keep looking for additional opportunities to recertify as more continue to be requested and added to my schedule. I also have a few instructor picnics in the works. Invites will be sent out when the details are solidified, but the tentative schedule is as follows:
- April 15 at the Gordon Town Hall The local instructor group offered to host. A mini academy will take place in the morning, with a picnic to follow. Instructors are NOT required to attend the mini academy before the picnic, but they are welcome.
- Early May to mid-June at Brill Area Sportsmen’s Club The date is yet to be determined, but we’re considering holding another picnic at Big Falls County Park near Kennan. It will most likely be in late June or early July.
As always, if you would like to host a workshop or mini academy, please let me know, and I would be happy to work with your group to set one up.
Thanks for all you do.