History Of Hunter Education In Missouri

Missouri’s first formal hunter education began in 1957.  Protection Division had Conservation Agents who were beginning to teach hunter education on their own in the early 1950s, and requests for such a course were increasing.  In 1956, Protection Division asked three Conservation Agents to put together a hunter education program.

The first program utilized an instructor guide in a three-ring notebook.  The course began in 1957 as a voluntary course.  No student manual was used at the time.  Later Missouri adopted the N.R.A. student hunter education manual and utilized their generic patch.

In 1964, Conservation Agent Bud Eyman was promoted to Hunter Education Coordinator for Protection Division and moved to the Central Office in Jefferson City.

In 1972, the first Department built and operated shooting range was opened at the August A. Busch Wildlife Area in St. Charles County, Missouri.

In 1976, after the design for conservation 1/8 of 1% sales tax was passed, Bud Eyman and  Assistant Hunter Education Coordinator Wayne Martin, were transferred to Education Division and formed a new Outdoor Skills Education Unit.  This unit included a Program Coordinator and 9 Outdoor Skills Education Specialists who would recruit and train hunter education instructors as part of their job responsibilities.  Protection Division would still oversee the student hunter education program.

The N.R.A. Manual was used in Missouri until 1980, when Bob Staton, an Outdoor Skills Specialist for the Department’s Education Section,  wrote a student hunter education manual.  This manual was published by the Missouri Department of Conservation and used  until 1991.  A new student and instructor patch was also developed at that time.

In 1980, Missouri hosted the North American Association of Hunter Safety Coordinators Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

From 1957 through 1983, approximately 300,000 students were trained in hunter education.  This was prior to computerization of hunter education records.  In 1983,  the student hunter education records were computerized.  New student and instructor hunter education patches were introduced, as well as a new instructor recognition program.

In 1986, Outdoor Skills Program Coordinator Cheryl Riley left the Department;  Bob Staton replaced her, and took over coordination of the hunter education program.  Bud Eyman coordinated the range development program and supervised Bob Staton

In 1987, Hunter Education was transferred from Education Division to Protection Division.

The Outdoor Skills Specialists were reclassified as Hunter Training Specialists and one was assigned to each of the 9 Protection Division Regions; one to the Kansas City urban area; one to the St. Louis urban area; for a total of 11 Hunter Training Specialists.  This reorganization was to prepare for changing from a volunteer hunter education program to a mandatory program.

January 1, 1988, Missouri’s mandatory hunter education law went into effect.  This law required that anyone born on or after January 1, 1967, must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing any type of firearms hunting permit.  During 1988, 64,000 students completed  Missouri’s hunter education course.

In 1989, the first Hunting Accident Investigation Academy was held at CMSU.  The two term Hunter Skills Specialists*  positions were made permanent.

Also in 1989, Missouri hosted the North American Association of Hunter Safety Coordinators in St. Louis, Missouri.

1990 saw the retirement of Bud Eyman and his position was merged with Bob Staton’s into one position.   A new hunting accident investigation policy was instituted, along with a new Hunting Accident Investigative Report Form.  1990 also marked a milestone in Missouri hunter education when the 500,000th hunter education student was certified.

In 1991, Glen Chambers worked with the Hunter Education staff to produce a new hunter education video titled It’s Your Choice.  A new hunter education instructor manual for Missouri was written and a new supporting slide show was introduced.

In 1992, the Hunter Skills Coordinator PM-9 position was reclassified to a PM-10 position and the title changed to Protection Division Programs Supervisor.

In February of 1992, Missouri hosted its first Missouri Hunter Education Instructors* Annual Conference, and 150 instructors attended.  During this meeting, the Missouri Hunter Education Instructors* Association was formed.

1993 saw the minimum age of eleven established by regulation for becoming hunter education certified and for purchasing firearm deer and turkey permits.  Two more Regional Hunter Skills Specialists* positions were added and assigned to North Central and Ozark Regions.

In November of 1994, Bud Eyman passed away  from a sudden heart attack.  A second full-time secretary position was approved for Hunter Education.  This position will help with Hunter Education, but primarily work with Ranges and Hunting Accidents.  New student and instructor hunter education manuals were introduced.

A shooting range task force is established to make recommendation for shooting range supervision and to develop a shooting range policy manual.

1995 saw an attempt to move hunter education to the new Education/Interpretation Division  stopped by the Director.  A new instructor training video was developed in 1995, called HUNTER EDUCATION TEACHING PROBLEMS.  1995 also saw a task force write a Missouri Bowhunter Education Instructor Manual, along with new lesson plans.  A new bowhunter education video called THE ART AND ETHICS OF BOWHUNTING, was produced in cooperation with Lohman Game Calls, Inc.

In 1996, Jerry M. Conley is named the new Director of the Department of Conservation and  reorganizes the Department.  New regional boundaries are created and the Department goes from 11 regions to 10.  The Regional Hunter Skills Specialist position is raised in pay level and the title changed to Regional Program Supervisor.

The 50th Anniversary of Hunter Education in North America was celebrated in Missouri and all across North American in 1999.  The Missouri Hunter Education Instructors* 8th Annual Conference was held, with over 600 people in attendance.  The Missouri Hunter Education Instructors* Association created a Missouri Hunter Education Hall of Fame at this meeting and Bud Eyman was the first inductee.  Missouri also kicked off the *IHEA Challenge 2000″ at this meeting.

A bowhunter education task force was assembled to write a Missouri student bowhunter education manual in 1999.