Salem, Ore.—Charlie Rutkowski of Portland was named the 2007 Hunter Education Instructor of the Year at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Hunter Education Conference in Hood River on May 5.
While announcing the award, ODFW Hunter Education Coordinator Heather VanMeter noted that Charlie has been involved in hunter education for the past 14 years and currently teaches about 150 kids and four to seven classes annually. She recognized Charlie for using PowerPoint and other technology to improve the quality of his classes. Finally, she praised Charlie for taking a lead role in the state’s voluntary bowhunting and archery education programs, working to improve the program and certify new bowhunter instructors.
“Other instructors say Charlie is passionate about providing the best teaching opportunities for his students and represents the best of what we want to see our students become,” VanMeter said.
She recognized that Charlie’s support system at home contributed to his success and continual striving for excellence in hunter education. “His wife of 22 years, Kathy, is often known to reply when he comes home empty-handed from a hunt, What are you doing home? Get back out there and get something!” laughed VanMeter.
Charlie was nominated for the award by other hunter education instructors in the state but ODFW staff made the final selection of him for the award.
Under Oregon law, persons under 18 must pass a hunter education class before they can hunt. The classes cover important issues including hunter ethics and respect for private landowners; wildlife management and identification; firearms handling and safety; hunt preparation and techniques; survival; and introductory bowhunting. All classes are taught by volunteers dedicated to passing on the tradition of hunting to future generations.
There are currently 680 active instructors in ODFW’s Hunter Education program and they annually teach about 8,000 students.
For more information, visit "http://www.dfw.state.or.us/education/hunter/index.asp