Volunteer Instructor Newsletter - Summer 2022

minnesota department of natural resources

Volunteer Safety Instructor Newsletter

Summer 2022

Teaching today's youth

What are your motivations for volunteering?  What drives you to sacrifice your time, resources and energy to teach the youth in your communities?  In part, the answer to that is a sense of satisfaction, knowing you can share your passion for hunting or recreating, and impart your knowledge and skills. 

DNR volunteers for firearms, ATV and snowmobile safety see the bigger picture: To make a difference in the lives of those who will come after us.  You hold the ticket to the outdoors for today's youth.

With that in mind, providing a consistent and great learning experience for all students statewide begins by adhering to the DNR course requirements and processes, which is necessary to fulfill IHEA standards for the hunter education/firearms safety program. By offering students a more consistent class structure for all course offerings - spread through a specified number of days and/or hours - students will better retain what they are learning and be safer as they participate in outdoor recreation.

We recently have made some changes to our online course registration system, which has brought to light the fact that some classes are missing the mark in a few areas.  The firearms safety classroom course has historically required six or seven separate sessions in order to fulfill the 12 to 16 hours of material that needs to be covered.  Even though this has been a requirement for at least 30 years, there has been some confusion about it recently.  After hearing from numerous instructors and much discussion among staff, we made the decision to allow the classroom course to be completed in four or five sessions.  This allows for less of a scheduling impact on both the parents and instructors, while still ensuring the students are able to learn, process and retain the critical information that is presented in the classes.

We were hoping to time this procedural change with the implementation of a new Event Management System, but there have been delays with the buildout of the system.  As a result, our change in requirements has caused some confusion among some instructors.  See below for a description of the current safety course options.  If you have any questions, please reach out to your RTO.

Minimum number of classroom sessions and field day hours

The DNR Enforcement - Safety Training Office requires a minimum number of classroom sessions and/or field day hours.  When you register your class and order supplies, please use the following guidelines:

Firearms safety classroom

  • Consists of at least 12 to 16 hours of instruction with a minimum of four separate class sessions. (Students must attend each session of the class for which they sign up). Students will learn safe handling of firearms, hunter responsibility and wildlife conservation. Students then complete the additional field day. Field day hours cannot be counted toward the required 12 hours or minimum of four separate class sessions.
  • The field day must occur after the classroom sessions are completed, be at least three hours and consists of seven required scenario-based training opportunities. These scenarios allow students to learn and demonstrate commonly accepted principles of safety in hunting and the handling of firearms. It includes shooting a .22 caliber rifle on a range.

Firearms safety hybrid

  • Students first must complete the online course. 
  • After completing the online course, students must complete at least three hours of classroom time to cover firearms fundamentals prior to the field day. This can occur on the same date but must be completed prior to the field day.
  • The field day consists of seven required scenario-based training opportunities.  These scenarios allow students to learn and demonstrate commonly accepted principles of safety in hunting and the handling of firearms.  It includes shooting a .22 caliber rifle on a range.

ATV safety hybrid

  • Students must complete the online course, followed by classroom review of ATV fundamentals.  Once complete, students must operate an ATV through the approved course (three to four hours).

Snowmobile safety classroom 

  • Consists of at least two classroom sessions, totaling eight hours. In addition, students must operate the snowmobile through an approved course.

Snowmobile safety hybrid 

  • Students must complete the online course, followed by classroom review of snowmobile fundamentals.  Once complete, students must operate a snowmobile on the approved course (three to four hours).

Blue Earth County man chosen as 2021 firearms safety instructor of the year

Will Purvis Instructor 2021

Will Purvis (L) receives Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year award from RTO Brett Oberg.

Will Purvis of Garden City has been named the 2021 firearms safety instructor of the year.  

Purvis became certified to teach firearms safety in 1996, after being unable to find a class for his son to enroll in.  A former DNR officer suggested he attend an instructor class, and Purvis has been teaching ever since. 

An active member of the Garden City Rod & Gun Club, Purvis has a strong focus on promoting youth firearms safety classes.  He also participated in the club's fundraising efforts that generated funds used to make youth firearms safety training and shooting sports possible and cost-free.  

Purvis is a very well-respected member of the area, not seeking personal recognition for his efforts in any endeavor, including hunter education. 

The Garden City Rod & Gun Club recognized his extraordinary efforts in advocating hunter education by unanimously voting to nominate him for this award.  Steve Krosch, Garden City Rod & Gun Club president, said, "There is no one more deserving in southern Minnesota, of the DNR's Firearms Safety Instructor annual award than Will Purvis."

Congratulations, Will!

Area conservation officers honor deceased volunteer

Conservation officers in the Northeastern Minnesota area posthumously awarded Carl Boehmer of Moose Lake for his long-standing volunteer efforts in firearms safety.  Boehmer became an instructor in 1973 and volunteered 50 years’ worth of time as a firearm safety instructor. He enjoyed teaching safety protocols and meeting countless friends along the way. He was named the Firearm Safety Instructor of the Year in 2006. 


Area conservation officers with Carl Boehmer's widow, Jeanette (holding plaque).

New Regional Training Officers

COs Amber Ladd and David Schottenbauer have recently joined the ranks of regional training officers.  Ladd covers the North Metro area, while Schottenbauer is in the Northeast Region.

You'll find their contact information and the counties they cover at:  Education and Safety Training Instructors | Minnesota DNR (state.mn.us).  

"Register your course" link

Please use this link when submitting the registration of your safety course and ordering your supplies:  Course Registration (mn.gov).  It is an updated link.

NOTE:  Filling out this registration gives us your class information and the number of supplies needed.  It DOES NOT automatically list your class to the DNR website.  We add it to the website only if you request it to be advertised.

Once your class is full, please contact us to mark the class full, and we will remove your contact information.  Give us your name, the start date of your class, and town it is held in.

Thank you!

Recorded IHEA conference sessions available

Our 2022 Annual Conference was a great success, and we want to make the recorded sessions available to all hunter education instructors by becoming IHEA-USA Instructor Members for the low yearly price of $20.

As a quick reminder, we have recorded over 20 industry-leading professionals presenting at our conference.  A few of the topics covered are:  "What Brings People to Hunter Education", "Effectiveness of Hunter Ed Delivery" and "Hunter Education: Past, Present & Future", just to name a few.  Plus, a keynote address by Steve Rinella about the future of Hunter Education that instructors won't want to miss.

We also offer IHEA-USA Instructor Members access to discounts from some of the top names in the hunting and shooting sports industry, including:  Henry, Ruger, and Sig Sauer.  Additionally, all Instructor Members are entered into three firearm or industry-related giveaways per year.

Membership | Instructors, Become an IHEA Member Today (ihea-usa.org) - click on this link to become a member, or if you are already a member, to log in.

Andrew Smith

Membership Director, IHEA-USA 

Advanced learning courses for instructors from IHEA

The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) is offering advanced learning courses for instructors:

* Field First Aid

* Teaching Strategies, Hunter Education

* Becoming a Better Mentor

* Hunting Related Diseases

Please click on the link below to register and watch the videos:


New courses will be added regularly, and they will keep you in the loop when new learning opportunities become available. 

Changes coming

Camp Ripley staff and RTO’s currently are learning to use a new system that will allow parents and students to sign up and pay for classes through the DNR website. The new system will be beneficial for you as well.  It is similar to our current registration process, but with the additional ability for instructors to monitor automatic, generated rosters, and to pass/fail students based upon performance in your class immediately after the class is completed. We will have much more information, along with web-based training on the new system, in the near future.



Henry Repeating Arms Company  .22 rifles, both Lever and Bolt action - 718/499-5600 or visit their website at:  Henry Repeating Rifles

Hunter Safety Systems - Fall Arrest Harness   Toll Free 877-296-3528 or go to:       

Savage Arms   .22 bolt action youth models - single shot

Third Hand Archery - Tree Stand Gun Hoist and other training aids available for purchase.

Education materials can be purchased at:

Federal Ammunition (federalpremium.com)

Subscribe to the International Hunter Education Association Email Newsletter:

International Hunter Education Association (ihea-usa.org)

     IHEA YouTube videos:  

IHEA's Hunters Connect YouTube Videos


Alan Madison DVDs

Be Adaptive Equipment Inc. - Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Hunters

DNR Instructor Page

Ducks Unlimited

Hunter Education Tools

Izaak Walton League

MN Deer Hunters Association

MN Shooting Ranges

MN Volunteer Instructor Association

Nat'l Bow Hunter Ed Foundation

Nat'l Shooting Sports Foundation

Nat'l Wild Turkey Foundation

Outdoor Edge

Pheasants Forever

Ruffed Grouse Society

Safari Club

Turn In Poachers




MN 4-Wheel Drive Association

Nat'l Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council

MN United Snowmobilers Association

American Council of Snowmobile Associations