Pillen acknowledges 50 years of Hunter Education


Gathering at the Nebraska Capital on March 18 for Gov. Jim Pillen’s proclamation signing that recognizes the 50-year anniversary of Hunter Education in Nebraska were, from left, Heather Donahoe of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, former Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter, Master Hunter Education Instructor Curtis Schneider, current Hunter Education Coordinator Kyle Gaston, Jeff Rawlinson of NGPC, Pillen, Jackson Ellis of Pheasants Forever, Hunter Education Instructor Joe Bober, Nebraska Game and Parks Director Tim McCoy, and Aaron Hershberger of NGPC. (Nebraska Game and Parks Commission photo)

Gov. Jim Pillen signed a proclamation March 18 recognizing the 50-year anniversary of Hunter Education in Nebraska in 2024.

The governor signed the proclamation at the Nebraska Capitol in a ceremony along with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Tim McCoy and several current and former program coordinators and instructors.

“This honor is shared by Nebraska Game and Parks and the several thousand volunteers who have dedicated their time and talents for the past 50 years serving Nebraskans,” McCoy said. “We are so grateful to our volunteer instructors, who have encouraged new hunters, further supporting Nebraska’s proud outdoor heritage.”

More than 5,000 volunteer instructors, who have helped to carry the program from the classroom to the field, teach Nebraska’s hunter education curriculum. They also assist with 4-H shooting sports, archery programs and hunting programs at outdoor expos, outdoor discovery school programs, and many other events in Nebraska state parks and communities.

The Hunter Education program began in Nebraska in 1974 and Bowhunter Education program in 1994. The program has reached more than 200,000 students. Commission data shows that since that time, hunter incident rates have fallen by more than 80%.

“Our volunteers are mentors to many, inviting and encouraging youth and adults to learn hunting and shooting sports, and how to be safe and responsible in the field,” McCoy said. “We are so proud of the last 50 years, our tradition of safety, and the many staff and volunteers that helped us get here, and we look forward to safe hunting and shooting sports in the many years to come.”

Hunter Education contributes to the $1 billion annual economic impact to Nebraska that hunting and shooting sports provide.