A pair of shotgun shooters getting instruction

10 reasons to become a hunter education instructor

Help teach a new generation of safe, ethical hunters

For kids younger than 18, hunter education is required. For the volunteers who teach hunter education, the mandate it more personal.

Young hunter poses with a nice buck deer
Young hunters hunt safely and successfully thanks to what they learn in hunter education.

Each fall thousands of young hunters will head to the woods, fields and blinds for their first hunt. They’ll likely be excited, maybe a little nervous, but also prepared -- thanks to what they learned and practiced in their hunter education program.

Hunter education teaches new hunters to be safe and ethical hunters, and to respect the animals they pursue and the habitats in which they live. These young hunters wouldn’t be ready for their first hunt if it weren’t for the work of the passionate, motivated volunteer instructors who make hunter education in Oregon happen.

If you like working with young people and care enough about hunting to pass the tradition on, consider becoming a hunter education instructor or volunteer.

Ready to apply? Scroll to the bottom of the Volunteer Opportunity page for a link to the application.

Still not sure? Then consider these benefits:

1) Share your passion for hunting, and inspire it in others. Hunting is both a sport and a tradition. Being a hunter education instructor allows you to share your passion for both with the next generation of hunters.

Hunter ed students around a table reading a map
Students learn skills like backwoods navigation that will last a lifetime.

2) Teach skills that will last a lifetime. While the primary purpose of hunter education is to train safe and ethical hunters, students also learn important life skills along the way. Skills like practicing patience, making good decisions, and respecting  the outdoors, wildlife and people.  

3) Get an out-of-season hunting fix. Hunting seasons are short. Teaching young hunters can be a great way to stay connected to the sport throughout the rest of the year.

4) Spend time with other hunters. Hunter education instructors are more than just a group of individuals. They form a network based on the shared values of a love for hunting and a commitment to the future of the sport.

Three hunter education instructors pose at a conference
Instructors share hunting stories and accomplishments at trainings and conferences.

5) Count on lots of support. As a volunteer you’ll have the support of fellow hunter education instructors and the ODFW hunter education staff. That support includes training, supplies, and scheduling and registration support. As well as coaching, advice, motivation and recognition. And maybe even inspiration.

6) Choose your own path. There are lots of ways to help teach hunter education – become a classroom instructor, organize and teach field days, support a lead instructor. Choose the path that best matches your skills and interests.

7) Volunteer a little or a lot. Some people volunteer once a year. Others teach multiple classes or help train new instructors. Pick a level of participation that works for you.

8) Learn something new. About hunting, about people and maybe about yourself. Exactly what you’ll discover will depend on you and what you bring to the field or classroom.

Young hunter poses with a wild turkey
One perk to being a hunter education instructor: The pleasure of seeing students succeed.

9) Enjoy the perks of volunteering. As an active instructor, you’re eligible for discounts from some of your favorite outdoor vendors.

10) Support the hunter education program with your volunteer hours. The number of hours you volunteer is matched with federal dollars that help fund firearms and equipment, shooting range grants and teaching tools for instructors.

To learn more about the hunter education program, contact Jered Goodwin (jered.w.goodwin@odfw.oregon.gov) or Myrna Britton (myrna.b.britton@odfw.oregon.gov). Ready to apply? Scroll to the bottom of the Volunteer Opportunity page for a link to the application.