DFG Navigation Series for Hunters

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Crossing the terrain used by hunters is the focus of July’s Advanced Hunter Education course, conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) on Wilderness Unlimited property at Cummings Ranch in Tehachapi.

Land Navigation for the California Hunter will run from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 17. The day course is open to men and women and costs $40. DFG will supply water but participants must provide their own lunch and snacks.

This first-time DFG course presents information on land navigation and the keys to a successful hunt, said Susan Herrgesell, advanced hunter education program manager.

“Navigation is a vital part of hunting; a major component of the whole experience,” Herrgesell said. “It’s not only important to get hunters out there safely in the wilderness, but we have to get them back, too.”

Led by Jeff Banke, author of “Land Navigation for the California Hunter,” participants will build on fundamental skills in course-plotting, compass reading, map types, and the differences in global positioning satellite systems. On the flipside of high tech navigation, Banke will also coach the use of basic tools, such as sticks, watches, and the fabrication of a compass in the field.

Herrgesell said that similar to other advanced hunter education courses sponsored by DFG, this session will use hands-on instruction and concentrate on student involvement. Participants will learn the different types of maps, the fundamentals of navigation, the power of observation, understanding azimuths readings, plotting distance points, and dead reckoning.

Intended for hunters who have completed DFG's mandatory hunter education course, the clinic - the second in a series of five - will instill a sense of hunting ethics and cultivate a deeper understanding of the wild game sought and the environment where they thrive, Herrgesell said.

Upcoming clinics will target survival skills in August, waterfowl hunting in September, and upland game hunting in October. For a calendar of events, go to DFG’s Webpage at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/coned/huntclinics.

The clinic’s instructor brings an impressive outdoors resume to the course. Banke is the secretary of the California Hunter Education Instructors Association, the editor of the Region 3 Hunter Education Instructors Association magazine, and DFG’s Hunter Education Instructor of the Year for 2002-03. He is the vice president of training for the Chabot Gun Club in Castro Valley, and a firearms instructor for the National Rifle Association, the California Department of Justice, and the National Bow Hunter Education Foundation.