PUBLISHED: 10:04 AM on Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Hunting safety classes offered at Juneau Gun Club
Hunting without the proper training can be a safety hazard.

That's why the Alaska Department of Fish and Game holds safety classes at the Juneau Hunter Education Facility adjacent to the Juneau Gun Club at 5670 Montana Creek Road.

Although hunter's safety classes aren't mandatory in Alaska, students at Floyd Dryden Middle School receive the training each year.

Ryan Beson, 17, and a junior at Juneau Douglas High School, took the training with middle schoolers two years ago for a pheasant hunting trip to Montana.

"I had to have hunter's safety to go to Montana, so I helped out the trainers while doing the course at the same time," Beson said.

"It was a great experience."

Beson has continued to help with hunter's safety classes and said that while he had hunted before taking the class, he felt better prepared when he'd finished the course.

"I encourage people to take it and learn more about guns and the situations you face in the woods," Beson said.

Classes are open to the public.

The cost of classes is $10 for independent study materials, and the study workbook must be completed before the start of the course.

Linda Coate, who is involved in teaching some safety courses along with husband Ken Coate, will be participating in a class presented by female instructors and focusing on hunting and firearms issues from a woman's perspective on Feb. 24-25.

"The subject matter is the same, but the difference is when you have a group of women who have the same concerns, they're not as afraid to ask questions," Coate said.

"It's less intimidating."

Ken Coate said that hunter's safety is mandatory for children under 16 in all states but Alaska and promoting hunter safety education is important in protecting hunter's and their rights.

"We want to be able to continue to hunt," Coate said.

"If people are out there, they need to be safe, ethical and legal hunters."

For more information about hunter's safety classes, call the Juneau Hunter Education Facility at 586-4101.