, Corbin, KY


August 27, 2012

Triggering Your Safety

Hunter education class ties it all together

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

The recent nip in the air isn’t the only sure sign that fall’s on its way.

Last weekend the squirrel hunting season opened up.

And to take advantage of upcoming days spent outdoors in the woods, around 75 people made their way to a free three-day hunter education course at Jesse D. Lay Elementary School in Barbourville.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources sponsored the course. Starting this past Monday and ending Wednesday night, those who signed up learned what course organizer and instructor Calvin Johnson called “the right way and the responsible way to hunt.”

For much of those three days, the school’s cafeteria was the classroom. But before starting, Johnson gave the students a bit of friendly advice.

“Please don’t interrupt the instructors until the class is over. You’ll have breaks to get up, stretch, and do what you have to do, before we start the next class. If you have a question, ask them then. And pay attention. If you listen, you’ll pass,” noted Johnson, a Knox Countian who has been teaching hunter education courses since the 1980’s.

Along with the education and hands-on experience, instructor Will Conley told students what’s at stake for them is the ultimate prize — a hunter education safety card, or “The Orange Card.”

“It’s required by law for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1975. Essentially, that card validates your license,” said Mark Marraccini, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in Frankfort.

Monday’s class dealt with wildlife management, wildlife identification, trapping, hunter ethics and first aid.

Conley showed students pictures of wildlife, such as squirrels, rabbits, deer, turkey, ducks a bald eagle and a red fox.

When a deer picture came up on the screen, he asked them, “How many of you plan to hunt deer?” Many of the students quickly raised their hands.

“If you’re gonna deer hunt, what color should you not wear?” said Conley, a Letcher County native.

His answer reminded them one of what’s called “The Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety.”

“Brown and white. Don’t wear those colors…You, as the hunter, have the responsibility to make sure what you’re shooting is a deer, and not somebody who is holding a white handkerchief.”

Later, Conley pulled out some traps for hunting, including a foothold trap, a leg hold trap, a snare and a body grip trap. Taking an empty plastic water bottle, he showed how to set the traps, emphasizing the safe way to set them. The water bottle crumpled up as the trap’s jaws instantly crushed the plastic.

Hunting’s a family affair for many, which brought out Samantha Bingham, her husband, her sister, her sister’s boyfriend and her cousin to the course.

“We like to hunt, and we like to do it safely. My cousin’s 14, and he’s excited about the course. I asked him this morning if he wanted to come here, and he said he did. He was excited,” said Bingham, who’s from the Poplar Creek-Siler area of Whitley County.

The next night, gun safety and the types of firearms used were covered at the school. A third of those attending the three-day class were women, while some 30 were children. And with the class going over weapons and safety, they were reminded that some firearms are more suited for their size.

“That’s true. They do make guns and youth rifles with a shorter stock and smaller caliber. The shorter stock is designed so women and youth can reach it better than the full adult size. Those guns are lightweight. And for women, they make some pink guns, like a pink 22 rifle,” said instructor Kevin Rossman, a 25-year veteran of holding safety courses.

On Wednesday, the action shifted first to the West Knox Wild Game Club off KY 6, where a live fire exercise was held. The exercise gave students a chance to show what they’ve learned about hunter safety and take practice rounds at a gun range and clay target range.

It was far from just taking a rifle or shotgun and shooting a target.

“We’re more interested in them handling the gun safely than making a perfect shot,” stated another veteran instructor, Bill Oxendine of Barbourville.

Johnson agreed, “We teach them safety and handling. Then they can go home and practice after that.”

Before they fired, instructors asked students what they’ve learned about handling a gun. And another sound was heard just as often as a gunshot.

“Before you shoot, put your glasses and your hearing aids on,” shouted one instructor at the gun range.

The students followed orders, including 11-year-old Colby Elliott of Barbourville.

Ready to shoot at the clay target range several yards away, he raised up a 20-gauge shotgun, paused for a brief moment, and hollered, “Pull!” The bright red clay target rapidly flew in the air, which Elliott spotted in a split second before he pulled the trigger. In a heartbeat the target exploded in a flash, falling in shreds and pieces to the ground.

Afterwards, Elliott savored the moment with his parents.

“I was excited, because I never shot a single-shot 20-gauge before. It felt good when I shattered it,” he said, smiling.

When it was over, the students and instructors went back to Lay Elementary for the written test.

If the students pass the written test, they get the “The Card.” And, the understanding that enjoying those outdoor moments is a privilege, with respect to your weapon, your wildlife, your fellow hunter, and the outdoors around you.

Hunter education courses are offered in the Tri-County region, and across the state, by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. To find out when the next course will be, or if you need more information, go to their website at

Text Only
  • 0708 Kelsey White Miss Ky.jpg Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown

    A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014. 

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0621 Flag Day-Legion.jpg Elks Lodge hosts Flag Day ceremony

    Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America hosted a Flag Day ceremony Saturday, June 14.

    June 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0621 Zip Line.jpg Flying across Sheltowee

    There was a brief burst of laughter as they all joked about signing their lives away, but there was also a hint of nervousness about it.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose Masters-ALA88 president.jpg Masters elected Legion Auxiliary 88 president

    Rose Masters (left) accepts her president’s gavel from Department of Kentucky Past President Brenda Berry during the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 88’s June meeting.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0619 Smart Shop.jpg Smart Shopping

    Andrew Pennington, 24, born and raised in Corbin, was also born into the retail business, with his parents, Tim and Sarah Pennington, operating the Pennington Block Company.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0616 Nelda Barton-Collings.jpg The life and death of Nelda

    Nelda Lambert Barton-Collings passed away Friday, and, according to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, “Kentucky has lost a true jewel.”

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0611 storm damage 1.jpg Storm Damage June 10, 2014 Damage reports came from all across the Tri-County area after Tuesday’s storms swept through southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

    June 11, 2014 1 Story

  • 0602 Extraordinary Olympics-ceremony.jpg Going for the Gold

    Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground.

    June 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • 0530 Kristina Smith.jpg KPA intern joins the Times-Tribune staff

    Kristina Smith has joined the Times-Tribune staff this summer as an intern through the Kentucky Press Association.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0517 KSP Estes.jpg Selling Safety Through Magic

    Long before the days of email, smart phones and social media, one Kentucky State Police pioneer was blazing a trail using innovation and outside-the-box thinking to spread safety messages throughout Kentucky.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter