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Out & About: Newport instructor tops in hunter education

Sun., March 18, 2012

Newport instructor tops in hunter education

OUTSTANDING – Greg Koehn of Newport has been awarded Washington’s top honor for service in 2011 among the state’s 950 certified hunter education instructors.

Koehn, who’s been an instructor for a decade, was presented the Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Yakima on Saturday.

The nominating team noted Koehn had taught 13 hunter education classes last year in Newport, Ione, Metaline and Spokane with standards that set the bar high for volunteer instructors and even for parents.

His 20-hour classes, combined with online students he oversees, involve him with 300-400 students a year.

Koehn’s nominators pointed out he:

• Volunteers 800-1,000 hours a year.

• Spends extra time working with students who may be struggling.

• Deals well with younger children.

• Builds portable shooting tables for youths and adults and shares them with other teaching teams.

• Volunteers at game-check stations and for road-kill recovery crews to deliver salvageable meat to charities.

• Stepped up with 11 other volunteers to the state Hunter Education Advisory Committee to revise state hunter education policies and procedures.

• Mentors student graduates with physical disabilities and from in-need families to help provide hunting opportunities.

Koehn, 63, became interested in hunter education when he stepped up to take the sons of a deceased friend through a course so they could hunt.

“Then I went through hunter ed with my son and I came out with a burning desire to be an instructor myself,” he said.

Soon he was the lead instructor for Pend Oreille County, helping recruit, train and organize 11 volunteers to work with area students.

“A leader is only as good as the instructors around him, and we have the best,” he said.

Beyond the classroom, Koehn’s been known to take young hunters from single-parent homes hunting to give them the field experience and the feel for an ethical hunt.

“I’m very honored to get this award,” he said. “I do this because it’s what I like to do. There probably ought to be an award for my wife because she lets me devote so much time to it.”

Indeed, Koehn’s wife, Carolyn, enrolled in one of his hunter ed classes to see what it was all about.

“I was proud of her,” he said. “She got a 100 percent on the written test and passed the live-fire test.

“When we got out in the field to the cleaning-a-deer part, that’s where her interest stopped. But she loves the moose meat I brought home. Everybody’s happy.

“She knows I’m just giving back what was given to me by my childhood heroes.”

Update: Irondogging the Iditarod Trail

OUTMUSHINE – They started by getting stuck, but the real Alaska adventure for two local snowmobilers began last week 70 miles from any assistance and well behind the leaders of the Iditarod sled dog race.

As temperature plunged to minus 32 degrees, snowmobilers Bob Jones of Kettle Falls and Josh Rindal of Spokane faced the arctic cruelness:

• The starter on Bob’s snowmobile fell apart.

• A clunking noise developed in Josh’s snowmobile.

• An acquaintance died in McGrath and the town united to dig a grave in the frozen ground.

• Fuel was $7.15 a gallon.

• They had to drive over a dead moose in the trail.

Follow Jones’s diary of adventures on the Iditarod Trail with Rich Landers Outdoors Blog,

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