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"?