HuntSAFE Instructors of the Year for South Dakota

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An individual from Ethan and a team from Sturgis have been chosen as the HuntSAFE instructors of the year for 2007.

Gary Stadlman of Ethan was selected as the HuntSAFE Instructor of the Year from a group of regional winners across the state. During his 20 years as an instructor, Stadlman has certified more than 1,000 students in the HuntSAFE program. Stadlman's unique qualities as an instructor include overall knowledge of firearm safety and hunter responsibility as well as promoting and organizing outdoor activities for youth groups in the Davison County area.

"Gary is knowledgeable in all areas of the outdoors," said Davison County Conservation Officer Andy Petersen who nominated Stadlman for the award. "Gary routinely brings in his own equipment to share with students and provides his class with details on hunting and the outdoors they would not find anywhere else."

The combined experience of the Sturgis volunteer instructor team totals more than 100 years of teaching about hunting safety and ethics. The team consists of Dayle Hammock, Tom Adams, Ron White, Linn Hendrickson, Randy Brennick, Ward Dobler and John Tesnow.

"These guys go the extra mile in putting together a quality program," said Scot Hawks, Conservation Officer for Meade County who submitted the nomination for the team. "There is no piece of hunting equipment, part of a firearm or visual aid that this team doesn't supply to their students."

"Without the dedication of hundreds of HuntSAFE volunteers across the state, the hunting heritage of South Dakota would be in jeopardy," said Curt Robertson, HuntSAFE Coordinator for the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department. "Gary and the Sturgis team exemplify the passion for safe hunting and conservation that all HuntSAFE instructors have. Congratulations to all the recipients."

Regional winners for the individual award included Arnie Goldade of Aberdeen and Randy Reed of Spearfish. The team regional winners included the Mobridge area team of Tim Pfitzer, Eugene Klug and James Curran and the Milbank team of David Cizaldo, Bernie Hermans, David Dockter, Rick Hentges and Dennis Skoog.

HuntSAFE courses are geared toward young people ages 12 through 15 and successful completion of the course is required in order for young hunters to be licensed. Volunteer instructors teach about the safe handling of firearms, hunter responsibility and the hunter's relationship with wildlife and the land. To learn more about HuntSAFE or find a local course, check the GFP Web site at http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/hunting/Safety/HuntSAFEIndex.htm.