PUBLISHED: 5:44 PM on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Dzantik'i Heeni to participate in hunter education training
DZ Middle School sixth graders will participate in the Hunter Information and Training course for the first time ever this week.

The course, which is conducted by the Department of Fish and Game and sponsored by the Taku River Sportsman Association, teaches gun safety, hunting safety and ethics, and basic first-aid treatment along with other essential outdoors training.

Floyd-Dryden Middle School has participated in the programsince 2001, and Angoon and Yakutat have been involved since the late 1990s.

Volunteer Instructor Ken Coate expects that about 98 percent of sixth graders in Juneau will have complete the course this year. He said the course is a "positive way to teach firearm safety" and said there are no records of firearm mishaps from students who have participated in the course.

"The purpose of this is to promote firearm safety," Coate said. "We also want to give the kids lessons on what the 'Alaska lifestyle' is. There are a lot of skills ... that someone has to teach you. You can't just read it in a book."

The week of events will culminate with a 50 question test and shooting proficiency. Students started studying materials about three weeks ago.

Coate said DZ middle school administrators and several parents were crucial in finally getting the program implemented.