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Penn State Offers Hunting-Immersion Class to Wildlife Mgmt. Majors

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April 30, 2012

Penn State Offers Hunting-Immersion Class to Wildlife Mgmt. Majors

By Chad Love

When I was a senior in college, I took a three-week intersession class at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma taught by the late Dr. Loren Hill. If you fished for bass during the '80s and early '90s, chances are that at some point you threw a lure either designed by Loren Hill or one directly influenced by his groundbreaking research on bass behavior. I was not, however, a biology or zoology major, so what was I doing taking a field class with one of the nation's preeminent bass researchers?

I was, uh, learning how to fish. That's right: During the course of that class, for which I "earned" three hours of upper-division elective coursework, I spent every day on the water chasing stripers and bass with either Dr. Hill himself or one of the two or three active professional bass anglers (including Dr. Hill's son, Kenyon) who helped teach the class. It was a fishing class, and to this day it remains the single coolest college class I ever took, or could ever hope to take.

But I have to admit, this one sounds almost as cool. Did you know that Penn State University offers a hunting class?

From this story on pennlive.com:

Gary San Julian knew it was a sign of the changing times. But how in the heck, he wondered, could someone in wildlife management be effective unless they knew something about hunting and hunters? So, about a decade ago, the Penn State professor emeritus of wildlife resources started a hunting-immersion class called Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow. One prerequisite for attending: You can’t own a hunting license. Since then, about 40 young male and female wildlife management majors at Penn State have taken the course.

Vegans, vegetarians, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and a few staunch anti-hunters, have been included. But mostly, they are kids of their generation who simply have not come in contact with hunters or learned much about hunting’s key role as a wildlife-management tool. Its number of participants is diminishing, but hunting still is a significant stitch in the nation’s cultural fabric, San Julian believes. And he thinks that lack of awareness worked against students’ effectiveness as wildlife managers. These future policy makers, he says, need to understand the passion hunters have for conservation and their sport.

Ask any current wildlife manager or biologist about industry trends, and one of the most common laments they'll give you is how so many newly graduated wildlife biologists these days either do not come form a hunting background or don't even have a familiarity with hunting's role in wildlife management. Nice to know someone is trying to rectify that. Know of any other universities out there that offer similar courses in "hunting for non-majors"?

Comments (6)

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Great! This is how the "seeds get planted." And, if you come out of the class and still don't end up liking to hunt, you'll at least gain some perspective before popping off in some negative manner about hunters & hunting.

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from TAM9492 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I go to PSU for wildlife and fisheries. Just got an email the other day about Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow, but I already have my license. It's a great program and a great school.

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from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I would like to pass on that the immortal ED ZERN who when I was a young pup held the back page of this very journal in EXIT LAUGHING, was a PSU GRAD sometime in the 1930's.

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from asmxxiv wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Graduated from PSU a couple years ago. It's where I learned to fly fish and tie flies. After two years of fly fishing and admittedly not doing so hot, I took the course there with Mark Belden and it changed the whole game for me. Also rejuvenated a love for hunting at Scotia Gamelands and in Rothrock State Forest. It is a great place.

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from tigerfan413 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

We have Hunting Traditions and Women's Hunting classes here at Clemson. They are not for Non-hunters in particular, but there are many non-hunters that take each class, with the Women's class having more.

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from rock rat wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Great idea

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from CL3 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Great! This is how the "seeds get planted." And, if you come out of the class and still don't end up liking to hunt, you'll at least gain some perspective before popping off in some negative manner about hunters & hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TAM9492 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I go to PSU for wildlife and fisheries. Just got an email the other day about Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow, but I already have my license. It's a great program and a great school.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I would like to pass on that the immortal ED ZERN who when I was a young pup held the back page of this very journal in EXIT LAUGHING, was a PSU GRAD sometime in the 1930's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from asmxxiv wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Graduated from PSU a couple years ago. It's where I learned to fly fish and tie flies. After two years of fly fishing and admittedly not doing so hot, I took the course there with Mark Belden and it changed the whole game for me. Also rejuvenated a love for hunting at Scotia Gamelands and in Rothrock State Forest. It is a great place.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tigerfan413 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

We have Hunting Traditions and Women's Hunting classes here at Clemson. They are not for Non-hunters in particular, but there are many non-hunters that take each class, with the Women's class having more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Great idea

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