When it comes to teaching the basics of firearms safety to young hunters, the National Rifle Association is out of the mainstream.
The NRA, once the national authority on firearms education, recently told the Idaho Fish and Game Department that it no longer would provide the instruction manual for the state’s hunter education courses.
Dan Papp, the state’s hunter education coordinator, said he’d have to come up with $15,000 to make up the difference.
“We appreciate what the NRA has provided for us for the last three years,” Papp said. “But with our budget already bare-bones, it will be tough to come up with that kind of money.”
This doesn’t necessarily imply that the NRA is snubbing hunters. It could be the other way around.
Only two states - Idaho and Montana - were using the NRA hunter education manuals last year. Most other states preferred a manual produced by a private firm.
“Because of that, it simply wasn’t cost effective for the NRA to print manuals for a two-state clientele,” said Tim Pool, hunter ed director for Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
Seattle-based Outdoor Empire Publishing Company has cornered the market, producing its generic manual to about 40 states.
“Like anything else that’s designed to work all over the nation, the (Outdoor Empire) manual is so generic that by not saying something specific it infers something else,” Pool said. “There were enough little things wrong with it to give us heartburn.”
So Montana is forging ahead to produce a new manual. The emphasis will be on packing the text with good information and freeing the classroom instructors from the lectern so they can conduct interactive teaching and role playing.
For now, the free-market system appears to have edged the NRA out of the hunter education manual business.
But the NRA is on top of Waco.
Haggin’s “conser-versary:” Morey and Margaret Haggin, two of the region’s most dedicated and enduring conservationists, will celebrate their 60th anniversary Aug. 22.
The celebration will be classic Haggin: An open house and potluck dinner at their home on Little Spokane River Drive, with an opportunity to make donations to the Washington Environmental Political Action Committee. To RSVP, call 466-4118.
Defending ANWR: Canadian Ambassador to the United States Raymond Chretien has joined the fray in denouncing our Republican Congress’s sneaky budget item that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and exploitation.
In a letter to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, he argued that “opening the refuge to (oil and gas) drilling will disrupt the sensitive calving grounds and the migratory patterns of the Porcupine caribou herd on which thousands of Canadian and American aboriginal people depend.”
Star showers: Find yourself a mountain top away from city lights this weekend for another performance by the Perseid meteors.
The peak of the meteor event, which originates from the constellation Perseus, will be Saturday. Experts say the sky will feature more than 40 “shooting stars” an hour.
If it’s clear, there will be no better night this year to sleep under the stars, even though the moon likely will brighten the sky a bit too much for prime shooting-star viewing.
While you’re watching, consider:
Only 2,000 stars are visible from earth, even under the darkest and clearest conditions.
The sky contains 88 internationally recognizable constellations.
Only about two dozen constellations are visible at one time of the year.
Stars twinkle in the night sky because of atmosphere turbulence.
Drawing drought ends: After decades of applying for special elk and bighorn sheep hunting tags, my number finally came up.
Nope. I still haven’t drawn a special tag. But the IRS pulled out my name for an audit. The drought could be over.
Question: Can a hunter apply for a sheep tag from prison?
Join the crowd: Visitation to Canyonlands National Park in Utah has quadrupled from 106,000 people in 1984 to 435,000 in 1993.
Meanwhile, Congress is proposing deep cuts in National Park budgets.
No relief: Thirty-six Washington commercial fishermen, forced onto unemployment by salmon fishing restrictions, have begun collecting $665,487 in federal disaster relief by doing fisheries research projects.
“This program offers jobs to those who need them while providing important research we could not otherwise afford in these tight fiscal times,” said Bob Turner, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department director.
However, the state has sought no disaster relief for the resorts and fishing charterboats that have been crippled by the restrictions on sport salmon fishing.