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Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend Held

BUCKINGHAM — In early May, the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center hosted the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend.  A large percentage of the students at this first 2015 workshop were former attendees.

The event has proven successful in its goal to introduce hunting skills, as evidenced by comments submitted on voluntary course critiques.  Vernie Kennedy, event coordinator, and Bryan Branch, 4-H center director, used the feedback to plan future events and consider new course topics.  They recently added classes in ammunition reloading and preserving wild game harvests.

Feedback from this event included, “This was exactly what I was hoping for as an adult that did not have the luxury of growing up around hunting”, and “As a newcomer to the hunting culture, I have to compliment all of the instructors on their professionalism and enthusiastic approach to teaching all levels.  As the ‘first line of defense’ in engaging a novice, they do an amazing job of increasing interest level and desire to continue learning more.”

And for the volunteer staff of hunter education instructors, that’s exactly what they want to hear. The group of dedicated instructors presented 19 classes during the one-and-a-half days that included archery, pistol, shotgun, bow hunting, bow fishing, predator hunting, skeet, survival and upland bird shooting techniques.

Optional evening events included demonstrations and discussions on deer skinning skills and tree stand use and safety. Participants in the waterfowl workshop painted a duck decoy to take home.

A secondary goal of the weekend was to encourage involvement in hunting and purchasing a license. Organizers see this as a step in the right direction toward preserving Virginia’s rich hunting heritage.

Skills weekends stem from a partnership program presented by the Virginia Hunter Education Association (VHEA), the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center.

The next Hunter Skills Weekend is August 21-23.  Course descriptions and registration information are available on the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center website at www.holidaylake4h.com, or can be attained by calling 434-248-5444. Information can also be found on the Virginia Hunter Education Association website at www.vahea.org.  Class sizes are limited, and early registration is encouraged.