Youth hunters

The most recent graduating class of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Youth Hunter Education Program poses for a group photo.

WILLCOX — Another class of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) Hunter Education Program concluded in Willcox on Saturday, July 31, with 30 successful graduates.

The curriculum consisted of 16 hours of classroom instruction and a written test, followed by the Field Day test. Willcox instructors Shane Thompson, Patina Thompson, Travis Lilly and Larry Glenn led the group of students in various demonstrations and hands-on scenarios.

The mission of the AZGFD Hunter Education Program is designed to promote safe, knowledgeable and responsible hunter conduct; emphasize the importance of wildlife management, laws and regulations; and encourage the safe handling of firearms and bow-hunting equipment.

Successful graduates from hunter education courses across the country leave with the same principles of safety and responsible, ethical behavior. Successful completion of the Hunter Education Program is a requirement for youths age 10 through 13 who want to apply for a big game permit through the AZGFD, although youths as young as 9 can take the course.

Coursework can be completed through a traditional classroom setting or through an online system accessed through the AZGFD’s website ( Those who choose the online course will receive a certificate but still have to pass a written test and Field Day requirements.

“Whether the students hunt or not, the proper handling of a firearm and firearm safety should be the No. 1 priority for any age,” said instructor Travis Lilly.

John Hart provided use of his shooting range for the course.

Those interested in signing up for the next course should call 520-507-2220 or 1-623-236-7235.

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