1st time hunters class teaches basics of hunting at Rock Springs Conservation Area
DECATUR-- Hunting numbers were down across the state again in 2014, but from the looks of the 1st time hunting course put on by the Macon County Conservation District, the numbers aren’t set to stay down for long.
With ages ranging from preteen to mid twenties, roughly 40 first-time hunters were joined by their parents or mentors as they began the first night of a three night class that teaches them the ins and outs of hunting, “We introduce our students to firearms and archery safety, we also touch bases along first aid, field dressing, hunting rules, we even have the state conservation officer to go over the hunting digest with them,” said Nature Center Manager Richie Wolf.
As for the decrease in hunting numbers statewide, Macon County played a big part in that, numbers released by the IDNR show that only 244 deer were recorded during the winter firearm deer season.
Wolf says a lot of that has to do with a disease that hit the deer in the area extremely hard, “There was an awful disease that hit the deer herd called EHD, which is a viral infection. Macon County was one of the top 10 counties with deaths and we feel like that was one of the main reasons for our low count.” Wolf says they are hopeful for a rebound in 2014, “We definitely think numbers will improve.”
The 3 hour class on Monday night was the first of three required classes that are set to wrap up on Friday. Wolf says unlike some classes around the state, Macon County doesn’t participate with live ammunition for the introduction course, “We really aim to make sure that our students understand the safety and all the rules of hunting before putting live ammunition in their hands.”
Overall the IDNR reported 74,191 deer were bagged during the first two firearms hunting sessions, November 22-24, and December 5-8. Archery deer season wrapped up on Sunday, and a special firearm season held in various counties in the state also wrapped up this past weekend.