Wales resident Leon Hiltner was recently recognized for his 15 years of volunteer work with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Posted on 2/8/14
By Lee Coleman
Hiltner is the lead Hunter Education instructor and took that role about 10 years ago.
Originally, Hiltner signed up for the mandatory hunter safety class and before the 14-hour class concluded, Hiltner was approached about teaching and the rest is history they say.
“Fifteen years ago, I had the idea I should give back to the sport I love,” Hiltner recalled. “I went to hunter education to get my license and the instructor asked me about teaching.”
During the class, Hiltner said they teach safe gun handling practices, being out in the environment and how to work with it, survival training, hunting ethics and being a good sport.
KIds have to be at least 11 years old to attend a class and Hiltner said he encourages parents to come with their kids.
“In these years, I have seen a greater shift to girls and women in the classes,” Hiltner explained. “It has been nice to see the ladies participate.”
After passing the class, Hiltner said the lessons learned go beyond a classroom.
“It allows students to view hunting and firearms through the eyes of the people who do it regularly,” he said. “I also have four or five instructors that are very capable of helping and I couldn’t do it without other instructors.
“I’m looking forward to another year and it is always enjoyable to represent the sport of hunting and shooting.”