‘Chief Hunter’ Cantu explains benefits of hunting courses

Whether you are a seasoned outdoorsman or a newcomer to exploring Mother Nature, the Jasper County Conservation Office and the Emerson Hough Chapter of the Izaak Walton League encourage you to attend a hunting course.

The courses are held at the league’s clubhouse, which is located at 889 County Highway F36 in Newton, and taught by representatives of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  JCCO Naturalist Katie Cantu works with IDNR to present the course.

“I am the ‘chief’ hunter education instructor for Jasper County, which involves coordinating our classes, finding and scheduling volunteer instructors to help teach sessions and providing resources for those volunteers,” Cantu said. “Persons interested in volunteering for the IDNR and having their own local classes go through training to become instructors.”

Anyone who was born after Jan. 1, 1972, must take this course to obtain a hunting license in Iowa.

“Hunter education is a mandatory program that is designed to introduce students to several life-long skills that are important to the many different types of outdoor recreational opportunities,” Cantu said. “The course teaches students basic survival and first aid skills, water safety, wildlife identification, and the basics of wildlife management, hunting laws and firearm/archery safety.”

“Hunter education also stresses the importance of individual responsibility and outdoor ethics.  The minimum number of hours to complete the class is 10,” she continued.

Registration for tonight’s course closed on Monday, but Cantu said there will be future dates.

“We have three classes a year in Newton, typically late February/early March, one in late July/early August, to catch students before school activities start up, and an online field day in November.”

Cantu explained the various ways a person can complete course to earn their hunting license.

“There are three ways a person can complete hunter education. Option one is a 10 hour classroom setting; option two is doing the coursework online and then completing a three- hour field day. And option three is the adult online only class for persons age 18 and older.”

While sign-up for this round of courses by the JCCO has passed, the following link provides other locations and dates for upcoming course:

http://reservations1.usedirect.com/IowaWeb/

As the “chief hunter” of Jasper County, Cantu understands her role in providing hunter safety to citizens and encourages those interested in hunting to obtain a license.

“By providing hunter education to the public, the IDNR will help ensure the safety of hunters throughout our state,” Cantu. “Continue to promote the ethics and fair chase, hunter responsibility and landowner relations. The safety, recruitment and retention of hunters are important in continuing the tradition of hunting in Iowa’s great outdoors.”