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Experienced, novice bowhunters learn new skills at education course

Ryan Stephens steadies his aim before releasing his bow Saturday afternoon at Hewitt’s Archery during the International Bowhunter Education Program. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

ferriday — Tip Fore decided a few months ago that he wanted to pick up archery and felt that the International Bowhunter Education Program was a good way for him to learn the basics of archery and bow hunting.

Fore, 53, said he drew his archery inspiration from watching hunting shows.

“I watch all the TV shows, and they are all shooting deer with bows, so I wanted to learn,” he said.

Fore said he started learning to shoot three months ago, and he wants to be ready to bow hunt by the time deer season rolls around.

“I wanted to get as much information as I can get on the sport,” he said.

Fore received that information, along with his bowhunter certification, at Hewitt’s Archery in Ferriday Saturday.

“I learned a lot,” he said. “I’ve been hunting all my life, and it’s easy to shoot one with a gun, but bow hunting is more challenging.”

But Saturday’s class was not only for novice bowhunters. Larry Templet, Haze Brignac and Kyle Brignac have been bow hunting for several years, but each man needed to come to Ferriday to take the course for a hunting trip they have planned in September.

“We’re going to Colorado, and in Colorado it’s mandatory that to bow hunt you have to get a license,” Templet said.

Templet, who is from Gonzalez, La., said the course in Ferriday was the only one the group could find before their trip.

Templet has been hunting a long time, he said, but the course was able to provide him with some new information.

“There is always stuff to learn,” he said.

Haze said he has been a bowhunter for approximately 15 years, and Saturday’s course was really a refresher for him.

“This was very helpful,” he said. “We started planning the trip six months ago, and we didn’t know we needed it. But in Colorado, it’s mandatory for elk, so we tried to scramble to find a place (to take the course).”

Mel Riggs, who is an instructor for the course along with Homer Hewitt, said the course generally sees more youth hunters, but he thinks it is important for adults to learn the basics too.

“Anybody, I don’t care how old, that picks up a bow needs this course,” he said. “This class if for anybody to take, and you are never too old to learn. All these guys have been hunting for years, and they learned something new today.”

Hewitt said having more experienced hunters made the course more enjoyable and beneficial for him and his students.

“This was enjoyable because 90 percent of us are experienced hunters,” he said. “I learned stuff through their experience. When you take part in a class with 100 to 150 years of knowledge everybody learns something.”

Hewitt said he always likes to focus on safety and harvesting game in an ethical manner, and his students Saturday were already very knowledgeable on those subjects.

“I even learned from them on a couple of things,” he said.

Hewitt said there were a few younger hunters scheduled to attend the course, but they were unable to make it.

Hewitt’s Archery will host the International Bowhunter Education Program every two weeks until Sept. 22. The next course is July 14. Interested hunters can register by calling Hewitt’s Archery at 318-757-3319.

Several states require bowhunter certification before hunters are allowed to hunt. Mississippi and Louisiana do not require certification.