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Montana hunters applaud the change in policy about hunting education in schools



Billings, Montana – With the general rifle season beginning on Saturday, hunters like Evan Trewhella, who contend that learning about hunter safety in schools is essentially a requirement for entering the Treasure State, had reason to celebrate on Friday.

“Hunting has been a part of Montana’s culture ever since this state was founded. Even before, there were hunters all around,” said Trewhella on Friday.

He’s a native Montanan who has a passion for hunting. When he was twelve, he took a hunter safety class and learned all the ins and outs of it.

“Kids like me have been going hunting their whole lives with their families and they haven’t gotten to hunt. But once you go to hunters ed and you do it, you get to first chance to hunt for your first time,” added Trewhella.

He’s happy that more children will be able to experience this rite of passage.

Recently, President Joe Biden changed his mind about the decision to reduce federal funding for hunter safety in schools. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana played a key role in bringing about the adjustment.

“If we’re going to preserve not only the Second Amendment but hunting and the ability to have people know what a gun is and how to use a gun safely and not hurt people or themselves with it, this hunter safety stuff is critically important,” said Tester on Friday.

A couple of the outdoor enthusiasts who are enthusiastic about the program are Trewella and Tester.

“We don’t just hunt as a pastime; we hunt because it’s our passion. It’s who we are as a people. It’s in our culture. It’s ingrained in us. We do it for all kinds of reasons, it’s not just sport, it’s for food, it’s for our heritage, it’s who we are,” said Jake Schwaller, the Eastern Montana conservation leader for the Montana chapter of backcountry hunters and anglers, on Friday.

A part of the pastime that some may never have gotten to experience.

“If they’re finding out about it at school and all their friends are doing it, they’re going to get involved. And that’s part of what we want, we want to see hunters carry this tradition on,” added Schwaller.

Hunters like Trewhella are appreciative of what they have learned about hunter safety and grateful that others will also have access to it. Trewhella is getting ready for an elk hunt on Saturday, the eve of general rifle season.

“It’s a feeling you don’t get from anything else. Hunting is not really about actually shooting the animal its more about the stalking part and the preservation of the animal I should say and how you take care of that animal. It teaches you respect and what to do and what not to do,” said Trewhella.


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