When Tim Salscheider’s 12 year old son took a firearms safety class, Salscheider, who is a dedicated waterfowl hunter, sat in and learned all the things he was doing wrong.
“Kids must pass the class and get their Firearm Safety Certification in order to hunt nowadays,” said Salscheider, of Hoffman. “It wasn’t what way when I started hunting as a kid.”
Salscheider soon found out there was a critical shortage of firearm safety instructors, this contributed to a shortage of kids getting their certification, which contributed to a shortage of kids enjoying the Minnesota fall tradition of hunting.
“I found so many parents were frustrated because they wanted their kids to be certified and they couldn’t find instructors anywhere.”
Salscheider decided to become an instructor himself. So after passing a background check and taking a certification class of 4- 6 hours, Salscheider became a Firearm Safety Certification instructor. Fifteen to eighteen hours of refresher classes are required every year. That was 23 years ago. Salscheider has guided hundreds of kids in earning their firearm certification since then.
A new class will be starting at the Hoffman Community Center April 18 with 25 students signed up. PK Hedstrom and Melanie Belscheim, new instructors, will help. The class is being offered through West Central Area Community Education. If enough interest is shown, another class will soon be offered. The class is between 15 and 18 hours long and costs $7.50. However most sportsmen clubs, including the West Central Hunters for Habitat, will gladly pay the class registration fee.
“The class is open for anyone age 11 and up,” said Salscheider. “All equipment is provided and when you pass the class, you are qualified to receive a waterfowl, small game, or even a deer hunting license.”
Salscheider said firearms are a way of life in west central Minnesota, yet so many kids don’t bother to get certified and are therefore denied the fun of hunting. In the class, they will not only learn gun safety, for shotguns, handguns and rifles, but hunting ethics and game laws as well.”
For information on Firearm Safety Certification classes, or on how to become an instructor, call Tim Salscheider at 320-808-4361.