Response to Evaluation of the Hunter Education Program in Virginia

Over the course of 3 years, the hunter education program in Virginia was evaluated to determine its performance, strengths, and weaknesses and to develop recommendations for improvement. Students gained about 16% in knowledge of hunting and hunting safety from the 6-hour course. Observations of dove hunters with and without hunter education training suggested that the hunter education program had no significant impact on hunter behavior. A naturalistic inquiry evaluation of the program, involving analysis of interviews with 57 persons involved in hunter education, indicated program administration, program delivery, and course content could be strengthened. In the years since completion of the evaluation, the hunter education coordinator and his staff have implemented approximately 80% of the 43 suggestions. These corrective measures were made when the program was shifted by the state legislature from voluntary to mandatory and when the person and division within the agency with responsibility for the hunter education program were changed.

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