The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently selected George “Rip” Masters as the 2009 Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. This award is presented annually in recognition of an instructor who displays outstanding volunteer efforts in educating sportsmen and women on wildlife conservation and the importance of safety while hunting.
“Rip Masters is always ready to help spread the word about hunter education,” says Col. Homer Bryson, Chief of Law Enforcement. “He is involved with every aspect of the planning process for classes and goes out of his way to give his attendees a personal experience.”
Georgia “Rip” Masters has been a volunteer hunter education instructor since 1986, and has twice previously been nominated for this same honor. He is keenly active on holding the interest level of his students – taking it so far to build, at his own expense, various bullet and shotshell displays to help illustrate topics. He personally reviews the test with any student that may not have passed in order to ensure that the student leaves feeling more confident to come back and take the test again. He also likes to provide new hunters with maps of local places to hunt. Masters wants students to have an enjoyable experience, not that the course and the test is just a requirement.
The selection of the Hunter Education Instructor of the Year begins at the region level. Each of the seven WRD Law Enforcement Regions picks the outstanding instructor in their area and sends them to the DNR Law Enforcement/Hunter Education office. The applications are then submitted to the Hunter Safety Committee. This committee is made up of WRD personnel from Game Management, Fisheries Management and Law Enforcement who are knowledgeable in working with volunteers and about hunter safety education. The committee then makes the final selection.
For more information on the Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year or hunter education classes, call the WRD Conservation Education Office at (770) 918-6414. For more information on GHEA, visit their website at http://gheanet.homestead.com/AboutGHEA.html .