Tag Archives: hunter education

Field Dressing Big Game Goes VR In New Idaho Simulator For New Hunters

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Thanks to a partnership between Idaho of Fish and Game and the Boise State College of Innovation and Design, learning to field dress a big game animal just got a lot easier.

Over the past year, Brennon Leman and Dakota Kimble, who are part of Boise State’s Games, Interactive Media, and Mobile Program have been working working with Idaho Fish and Game staff to develop a virtual reality simulation to teach new hunters how to field dress big game. Leman and Kimble recently put the finishing touches on the simulation, which will soon be piloted in a handful of Idaho hunter education classes.

THE VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATION IN USE. (BRIAN PERSON, IDFG)

For Idaho Fish and Game officials, the hope is that virtual reality technology will help  new hunters understand the basics of field dressing animals, which is usually taught through text books or videos.

“We talked to hunter education instructors and new hunters to identify some of the biggest barriers to entry for big game hunting, and we found that field dressing was one of them,” said Ian Malepeai, Idaho Fish and Game’s Marketing Program Manager.

While Idaho hunter education courses cover field dressing, the tools available for hands-on instruction are limited, according to Brenda Beckley, Fish and Game hunter and angler recruitment manager.

“We don’t currently have a demonstration on how to properly field dress a deer or elk. VR could change that, and bridge the gap from knowing how to field dress an animal and actually doing it,” Beckley said.

VR simulation as an instructional tool

While much of the attention on VR is tied to the world of video games and entertainment, roughly two-thirds of the future market for virtual and augmented technology is likely to be in industry simulation, according to Anthony Ellerston, director of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile program at Boise State.

Virtual reality is already being used for instruction and training in professional sports, medicine, customer service, insurance and more. It’s biggest advantage as a training tool is its ability to submerge the user into real-life experiences and hone certain skills under controlled conditions, leading to better retention of information when it comes time to apply it in a real-world setting.

“It’s the same for hunter education, and learning how to field dress an elk,” Ellerston said. “You can watch a video on YouTube, and you can get a sense of how it’s done. But what we give you with this simulation is the muscle memory. By making you physically go through the process, it’s much more likely that you will remember it and perform it correctly.”

A SCREEN SHOT FROM THE SIMULATION SHOWS AN ELK BEING BROKEN DOWN USING THE GUTLESS METHOD. (IDFG)

Virtual reality represents the next frontier in both gaming and instruction, and will be a medium that the next generation of hunters grow up with, said Malepeai.

“VR is developing rapidly and becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous,” Malepeai added. “For Fish and Game, new, innovative tools like this are going to be instrumental in giving younger generations of hunters the confidence and tools to strike out on their own.”

About the simulation

“For this to be used in our hunter education classes, it was important that the simulation take the user through every step of the process, from the time that the animal is reduced into a hunter’s possession until they have finished field dressing the animal,” Beckley said.

When students put on the VR headset and take the two controllers into their hands, they are transported to the Idaho backcountry, with a freshly downed elk on the ground in front of them. Before they can “grab” a knife using the buttons on the controllers and begin field dressing the animal, students begin by attaching a tag to the antlers of the elk.

After that, the field dressing begins with skinning the animal, removing one of the rear hindquarters, followed by the front quarter, neck meat, backstrap, and tenderloin. Students have to manipulate the legs and hide with their free hand and move their body around the animal as they work, mimicking the real-world mechanics of field dressing an animal.

Illuminated dots guide the location of their cuts, and users can read from in-game written instructions if they need additional help.

 

Where you can find it

While there are a variety of VR platforms, Fish and Game’s field dressing simulation is currently only playable on Oculus virtual reality systems, including the Rift and Quest consoles.

Fish and Game plans to pilot the VR field dressing simulation in instructor-led hunter education classes in its Nampa  and Idaho Falls regional offices within the next six months.

The simulation will also be available outside of Idaho, both to hunter education programs in other states and to the general public. The simulation was designed to be compatible with any hunter education program in the nation, and about a dozen other state fish and wildlife agencies have already expressed interest in incorporating the simulation into their curriculum.

For anyone with an Oculus VR headset at home who is interested in trying it out, the simulation can be downloaded at https://idfg.idaho.gov/Zka

Sign Up For Washington Hunter Ed

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds prospective hunters to complete their hunter education class before hunting season.

“It’s a great time to enroll in hunter education to ensure you can participate in fall hunting seasons,” said David Whipple, WDFW hunter education division manager.

LONGTIME HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR RANDALL ABSOLON WALKS A PROSPECTIVE SPORTSMAN THROUGH FIRING A BOLT-ACTION RIFLE. (WDFW)

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement.

“The traditional classroom experience includes direct instruction from certified volunteer instructors, which can be important for younger students,” Whipple said. “The online course offers the same content, but on the student’s schedule. If you take the online course, you must still complete an in-person field skills evaluation.”

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to buy a hunting license. To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/requirements/education/basic.

HUNTER ED STUDENTS LISTEN TO AN INSTRUCTOR. ALL PROSPECTIVE HUNTERS BORN AFTER JAN. 1, 1972 MUST TAKE THE COURSE BEFORE GETTING THEIR LICENSE, THOUGH ONE-YEAR DEFERRALS ARE AVAILABLE IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES. (WDFW)

Those who are unable to complete a hunter education course before the fall hunting seasons may qualify for a hunter education deferral. For more information on the deferral, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/requirements/education/deferral-program.

 

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60 Years Ago This Week: WA Game Commission Adopts Hunter Ed For Youths

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Sixty years ago this October, the Washington State Game Commission, a predecessor of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, first adopted mandatory hunter education for those age 17 and younger who want to hunt in Washington.

A YOUNGSTER GETS TIPS FROM A VOLUNTEER WASHINGTON HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR. (WDFW)

The law was passed by the legislature and approved by the Governor in February 1957, the year when the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, when a new house averaged a little over $12,000 and before the hula-hoop become a popular toy.

The Game Commission adopted the measure at its meeting, Oct. 7, 1957 and the requirement became effective in the 1958 hunting season.

“Hunter education started with people who wanted to reduce hunting-related firearm incidents and support the tradition of safe hunting,” said David Whipple, WDFW hunter education division manager. “Since then, it’s become a major part of our mission as a state agency.”

HUNTER ED STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS POSE AFTER THE KIDS COMPLETED THE COURSE IN MARCH 2014. (WDFW)

Howard Gardner has been a hunter education instructor working with the Richland Rod and Gun Club and the department over the entire 60 years, and he is still teaching.

“At first, the courses concentrated largely on firearm safety,” said Gardner. “Today they also include survival skills, wildlife conservation, sportsmanship and hunting regulations.”

Still, safety remains the focus of the courses. “Hunter education has been vital to reducing the rate of injuries or death and has saved lives.” said Gardner.

Hunting incidents in Washington – injuries or death while hunting – have decreased from roughly 40 per year in the mid-1960s to seven per year this past decade, said Whipple.  “Hunting is now one of the safest outdoor pastimes, and that has a lot to do with hunter education,” he said.

In recent years, between 10,000 and 13,000 students take one of about 750 hunter education courses in Washington, and classes generally are nearly full this time of year, said Whipple.

Approximately 1,000 hunter education instructors lead these courses, he added.

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement.

The advantages of the traditional classroom experience include direct person-to-person instruction from certified volunteer instructors, said Whipple.

The online course offers the same content, but on the student’s schedule, Whipple said. Those who take the online course are still required to complete an in-person field skills evaluation led by certified instructors, added Whipple.

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at:  http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php.

The department is always looking for volunteer instructors who want to share their knowledge and passion with new hunters. Those who want to learn how to become an instructor should visit:http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/become_instructor.html

Hunter education would not be possible without volunteers, said Gardner. “We rely on the willingness of instructors to come forward and keep this excellent program going.”

Avoid Fall Rush, Sign Up For Washington Hunter Ed Summer Courses

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

While major hunting seasons are closed in summer, hunter education courses continue to run year-round throughout the state.

Now is the time to enroll in hunter education to avoid the autumn rush, said David Whipple, hunter education division manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

LOGAN BRAATEN POSES WITH HIS FIRST BUCK, TAKE IN 2015 WHILE HUNTING WITH HIS DAD, ERIC. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

“As fall hunting seasons draw near, seats in these courses fill quickly,” Whipple said.  “Hunters who complete the course this summer will be ready to take to the field in the fall.”

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license.

To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement.

The advantages of the traditional classroom experience include direct person-to-person instruction from certified volunteer instructors, said Whipple.

The online course offers the same content, but on the student’s schedule, Whipple said. Those who take the online course are required to complete an in-person field skills evaluation led by certified instructors, added Whipple.

WDFW will be offering a field skills evaluation course during its celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Camp Pigott, 24225 Woods Creek Road, Snohomish.  Pre-registration at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php is required.

The National Hunting and Fishing Day event will also feature activities for hunters, anglers and outdoorspeople, including:

  • Opportunities for youth to shoot bows, air rifles and firearms under close supervision from instructors.
  • Door prize drawings and lunch for the first 500 youth attendees and accompanying adults.
  • Fishing, hunting, and conservation oriented activities, displays and information.

“The National Hunting and Fishing Day event is a great way to introduce youth and newcomers to target shooting, hunting, and angling,” said Whipple. “It’s also an opportunity to recognize that hunters and anglers are among the most active supporters of fish and wildlife management and conservation.”

The free National Hunting and Fishing Day event is hosted by WDFW’s Hunter Education Division and the Volunteer Program. It is sponsored by WDFW, the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, the Washington Hunter Education Instructor Association, hunter education instructors,  Master Hunters, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Safari Club International (NW Chapter), Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site, Trout Unlimited (Monroe Chapter), Washington Friends of the NRA, Washington Grand Lodge Medical Team, Washington Ornamental Game Bird Breeders, Puget Sound Knappers, Chief Seattle Council BSA Shooting Sports Committee and Camp Pigott, Volterra Restaurants (Ballard and Kirkland), and Pacific Food Importers.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate the conservation successes of hunters and anglers.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.