Island's hunter education class was a hit
On Sunday at the Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown men and women of all ages completed the last day of a Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife hunter education course that provided the students with a taste of what might be in store for them. During a lunch break, instructors Jeff Day and Brett Stearns cooked venison burgers for the members of the class.
Mr. Day, a master instructor and Chilmark police officer, estimated that perhaps half of the class of 36 was interested in hunting and the others wanted to comply with the state's stringent gun licensing requirements, which includes successful completion of a gun safety class.
Mr. Day said that one of the things he and the other instructors strived to achieve by the end of the class was to generate some interest in all of the students in the sport of hunting.
On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Day reviewed the finer points covered during the four-day class period.
"I'm surprised to see so many women," Pamela Leite, 23, of West Tisbury, one of eight women in the class, told The Times during a class break. Ms. Leite said she signed up for the class with a preconceived notion that guns were a male interest.
Ms. Leite said her brother and fiancée hunted and it was something she might want to do with them. The instructors had done a good job and the class had been very thorough, she said. One thing she learned surprised her. The chief of police in an individual town has authority to decide whether or not to issue a license to carry a handgun.
Danielle Ewart, 27, of Edgartown said her family members hunted and she took the class because she was interested in hunting and thought it would be a fun sport. "Not to shoot birds, mostly deer," she said.
Chris Steigelman of Edgartown, an experienced hunter, accompanied his eleven-year-old son, Brandon, to the class. "This has been a really good class for everybody," he said. "They get a lot out of it in a short amount of time."
Mr. Steigelman said he had grown up hunting on the Vineyard with his father, who took him duck hunting when he was just a youngster at John MacKenty's property on Kanomika Point in Edgartown Great Pond. Now he was passing on that tradition to his son.
Minors between 12 and 14 may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult. Looking at his son, Mr. Steigelman said, "He just wants to go hunting with dad."
For more information on the Mass Wildlife Hunter Education program go to www.masswildlife.org.