Thursday, May 10, 2012


May 10, 2012

International organization honors longtime Kansas hunter education and shooting instructor

PRATT — Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Pass It On shooting instructor Jim Kellenberger has been named to the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) Professional Hall of Fame. The award will be presented at the IHEA National Convention on May 30 in Kansas City.

With 39 years as a regional Law Enforcement Division supervisor and natural resource officer for KDWPT, Kellenberger has been involved with the agency’s Hunter Education Program since its inception — as an class instructor, class coordinator, shooting instructor, and coach. His contributions have been numerous.

“Jim has been influential in the promotion and incorporation of live-fire activities into Kansas Hunter Education classes for almost 40 years,” noted KDWPT statewide Hunter Education Program coordinator Kent Barrett in his nomination of Kellenberger. “Although not a required class component, live fire is now included in 63 percent of Kansas classes. Much of the credit must go to Jim and those pioneering instructors who saw the value in that specific training. Jim’s involvement with Pass It On hunter recruitment events, along with promotion of hunter education class live fire activities, displays long-term support for Kansas hunter education.”

Kellenberger also helped develop hunter education curricula that is consistent with IHEA standards. As a game warden, he helped develop standards that made Kansas hunter education certification reciprocal with other states while maintaining the most relevant and instructive coursework possible.

Kellenberger also influenced the direction of the Hunter Education Program through the recruitment and training of many instructors still active today, and he stays involved by promoting live fire through the Hunter Education in the Schools program in Kansas. He also works with Becoming an Outdoors Woman and Women On Target programs to get women more involved with the shooting sports.

“Jim chose a career that would allow him to be intimately involved in an activity that he thoroughly enjoyed,” Barrett added. “When hunter education was mandated and the Kansas Safe Hunter program began in 1973, Jim was immediately pressed into service. His instructor number is 66; through the years, there have been more than 18,000 Kansas hunter education instructors.”

As one of the original “go to” guys in the program, Kellenberger looked for recruits. He was the coordinator for his assigned area. He organized and taught classes, found and recruited new instructors, and trained them to teach. He saw the students come to class, pass the course, become hunters, and come full circle as instructors themselves, so they could pass the hunting tradition on to a new generation. He hasn’t stopped yet.

“After 39 years of teaching hunter education, Jim remains an active and very positive teacher of core IHEA standards that remain the framework on which Kansas Hunter Education is built,” Barrett said. “For 20 years as a regional law enforcement supervisor, Jim was the training officer and guiding force moving his officers to increased involvement in hunter education. Following his example, Jim’s officers were required to recruit and train new instructors while organizing and conducting hunter education classes within their assigned areas. This kept them active and provided opportunities to get to know local hunters, and for the hunters to get to know them.”

Kellenberger began working with Pass It On before retiring. Pass It On funds have purchased and equipped shooting trailers in the different Kansas regions to provide opportunities for more individuals to experience safe, positive live-fire events. Kellenberger went through the first required training and became completely involved as a custodian of one of the first trailers. Already an excellent wingshot, he became a superb teacher and coach, and after retirement, he still has his calendar full of hunter education classes and shooting events.

“He is always in demand. Event coordinators repeatedly request Jim for events,” Barrett noted. “And before retirement, Jim was invited to be a member of the Kansas Hunter Education Advisory Committee. His service in that capacity has been exceptional. He is quiet and thoughtful when considering questions posed to the committee. When he speaks, everyone listens because his experience and wisdom are immediately apparent.”
The International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) is the professional association for 67 state and Canadian provincial wildlife conservation agencies and the 70,000 volunteer instructors who teach hunter education in North America.

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