DENVER (CBS4)– A Colorado lawmaker is hoping to bring hunting education back into classrooms across the state. He hopes it will keep the centuries-old tradition alive.
“About 40 years ago, there was a class taught in Colorado schools called Conservation,” Rep. Hugh McKean said. “The class literally went through most of the hunter education curriculum, like the ethicity of hunting and controlling wildlife through hunting and population numbers.”
McKean, a Republican representing Larimer County, said there is an “alarming” decrease in the number hunters and anglers in Colorado, and he’s hoping education will change that. He is sponsoring House Bill 19-1116 which, in its initial draft, would require seventh graders in Colorado to take a hunting education class.
“This gets kids that experience with how we teach about wildlife, how we teach ethic of using your outdoor resources,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
The lawmaker explained the course would not include gun safety.
“We actually left that out so that if a parent wants their child to do the firearms portion, they can opt into that, but it would not be part of the classroom curriculum at all,” McKean said. “That separates the issue of guns and this whole idea of the understanding and enjoyment of our Colorado outdoors.”
Yet before the bill even reached committee, McKean watered it down. Instead, making the one-day class an elective that schools may offer.
“This just sets that framework that upon an agreement between an instructor and a school, they may offer this as an elective and therefore it kind of puts it within that structure and truly, I think, gets us back to where we have more kids hunting and fishing,” he said.
McKean said other states offer hunter education courses as an elective, which is what he aims to do with the bill. He told CBS4 he has received a lot of support for the bill, yet he also anticipates it will fail.