Originally published Monday, February 4, 2019 at 07:30p.m.


Greg Smith, a licensed falconer in Arizona, shows his Finnish Goshawk named Lisbeth to a class of non-resident sportsmen. (Courtesy)

A few weeks ago there were 27 sportsmen and women who came from all over America to take the Arizona Hunter Education class in order to get a permanent bonus point. That’s how many non-residents feel about the value of the point.

The people who took the class were from not just neighboring states of California, Utah, and Nevada, but came from as far away as Ohio and Illinois.

They ranged in ages from 23 to 62, and included veteran and novice hunters.

They had waited, some for several years, to get into the all-day class that is currently offered just twice a year in the Kingman area.

By attending the class and passing the final test, these non-residents will receive a permanent bonus point to assist them in drawing one of Arizona’s coveted big-game tags.

Those who took the class had to have taken a Hunter Education class in another state at some point since 1980. They had to send in their card to prove they had done so. Arizona does recognize hunter education cards from all of the other states.

Because this is an advanced class, no one under 14 years old is allowed to take this class.

The volunteer instructors who were involved in teaching the class included Jay Chan, John Rodriguez, John Schmidt, Jamaica Smith and Page McDonald. Don Martin was the chief instructor.

In addition to the certified instructors, there were several citizen observers who were with the instructors during the field day exercises.

Those volunteers included Kingman residents Les Henly, Gary Martin and George Robledo.

One of the highlights from this class was when Smith, who is a licensed falconer, and her husband, Greg, brought two of the birds of prey they own.

Jamaica brought her Harris Hawk named Elvis, while Greg brought his Finnish Goshawk, who is named Lisbeth. Most of the people in the class had never seen a bird of prey that is trained to hunt.

Smith told the class about the dangers of these kinds of birds ingesting lead and how fatal it is to them.

Birds like the ones the Smiths brought to class are very valuable. Some falconers pay thousands of dollars to catch and keep their birds. They have to be constantly attended to and, of course, allowed to do what they are trained to do, which is hunt.

In Arizona there are even special seasons when those who own hawks are allowed to hunt.

The next supplemental hunter education class will be March 30, at the 7 Mile Hill Range. New Arizona residents who have taken Hunter Education in another state are also permitted to take this class.

To sign up, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department website, and scroll down to Hunter Education. Look for a March 30 course. The class is limited to just 30 attendees, and as of Monday seven seats were taken.

If you have any questions about supplemental classes, call chief instructor Don Martin at 928-303-9481.