Three of Maine’s longest-tenured hunter education instructors were recognized by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for their efforts recently at a safety course held at Gorham Middle School.
Sam Boothby of Gorham, Phil Guimond of Gorham and Mike Richard of Old Orchard Beach each received plaques to commemorate their milestones. Boothby is in his 40th year of hunter’s safety instruction, while Guimond has successfully certified 5,000 students and Richard has certified 3,000 students.
“This is an important part of what IF&W does,” said Michael Sawyer, the Department’s Recreational Safety Coordinator. “We have a track record of hunting in Maine being a very safe activity, and having knowledgeable and effective instructors is a big reason why.”
Boothby, a retired high school teacher, began teaching hunter’s safety courses in 1971 – 15 years before Maine started requiring the completion of a hunter’s safety course in order to purchase a hunting license in the state.
“I enjoy standing up and teaching,” said Boothby, who has certified 4,000 students through to hunting certification since 1986. “That’s what I was trained to do. You can get in these smaller groups and have a better hands-on approach to the material. We’re using more audio-visual (methods) now than ever before, but the message is still the same.”
That message, above all else, is about safety.
In both 2009 and 2010, Maine’s total reported hunting incidents were in single-digits with zero fatalities among the approximately 200,000 licensed hunters in the state. This past weekend – the opening weekend of the firearm season on white-tailed deer – not a single hunting incident was recorded.
The advent of the blaze-orange clothing requirement, the use of an any-deer permit system and the ethics taught during classroom instruction have been the most important factors in keeping people safe in Maine year after year.
In order to purchase a hunting license in Maine, a hunter must possess either a valid hunting license from a previous year or present proof of hunter education certification. For more information on hunter safety education, other recreational safety courses or to view a complete listing of available courses, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/safety/index.htm