We are your neighbors and friends, people from all walks of life, with a strong desire to pass the hunting heritage to the next generation of hunters. We volunteer our time and knowledge to teach, mentor, and support hunters of all ages, genders, abilities, and backgrounds. Virginia has several hundred certified volunteer instructors across the state.
The Virginia Hunter Education Association (VAHEA), a 501 ( c) (3) non-profit organization, began in 2007 with a group of volunteer hunter education instructors. Our goal is to work in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to support and improve hunter education opportunities. The cooperation between DWR Recreational Safety Coordinators, Conservation Police Officers, and volunteer instructors keeps the hunter education program in Virginia successful.
We strive to improve our teaching abilities through DWR advanced instructor training, equipment acquisition for the classroom and hands-on activities, and creative class and workshop development to keep Virginians interested, active, ethical, and responsible hunters.
We teach basic hunter education classes, wildlife management, species-specific hunting workshops, webinars, and more, always with an emphasis on ethical behavior, safe firearm handling and shooting skills. We understand that each individual hunter represents the hunting community as a whole and has the responsibility to make a positive impact on conservation, the public’s perception of hunting, and our ability as citizens to maintain access to Virginia’s rich wildlife resources for future generations.
Our leadership consists of VAHEA members elected by VAHEA members. Officers and regional directors serve two-year terms with no financial compensation. We are always entirely volunteer.
Calendar of events
Hunter Skills Weekend
September 15-17, 2023
It’s a wrap!
Check back here for information on the 2024 event
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
September 23, 2023
8:00 pm (or immediately following the DWR group presentation at Instructor Advanced Training)
Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center
Dining Hall – Rear
1267 4-H Camp Road
Appomattox, VA 24522
DIRECTOR'S AWARD AND MORGAN AWARD PRESENTED
Congratulations and our deepest gratitude to George Almond and William Bush!
On September 23, 2023 during the Fall Instructor Training Weekend at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox, VA, these two dedicated instructors were recognized for their longstanding commitment to hunter education in Virginia.
Read more about the significance of the awards on our Volunteers page.
(Above) DWR Region 2 Recreational Safety Coordinator Zach Adams presents the Director’s Award to George “Spud” Almond of Appomattox County.
(Below) VAHEA President Anthony Carambia presents a Henry rifle in recognition of 5,000 hours of volunteer service to hunter education.
DWR Region 1 Recreational Safety Coordinator Bryan Branch presents William Bush, Jr. of King William County with the William Dixon Morgan Memorial Award for excellence in hunter education.
VIRGINIA HUNTER SKILLS WEEKEND
Over 80 participants and 40 instructors spent the weekend of September 15-17, 2023 together exploring a wide variety of topics related to hunting in Virginia. The program offered through a partnership between VAHEA, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center included two and a half days of hands-on and classroom activities with perfect weather.
Twenty-one separate 4-hour workshops featured field to table deer processing, wilderness survival, tracking, trapping, firearm cleaning and maintenance, wild game cooking, a comprehensive 8-hour bear hunting class, and deer hunting skills.
An all-time high number of live-fire classes provided opportunities to try archery, rifle, shotgun, trap, 5-stand, modern sporting rifle, bowfishing, upland game shooting skills, turkey hunting, bow tuning and maintenance, sight-in a hunting rifle, explore the versatility of shotguns and ammunition, and take a guided squirrel hunt.
Guest instructor Todd Cocker from the Virginia Waterfowler’s Association added to the waterfowl hunting basics class and offered a decoy building and painting session.
Michael Schellenbach from Schellenbach Photography & Design (with loaner equipment provided courtesy of Canon!) offered his expertise in a class featuring outdoor photography.
After dinner activities kicked off on Friday night with a session from instructor Ken Carter on where and how to get started hunting. Other evening mini-programs offered a glimpse into preparing game for taxidermy, knife sharpening, why and how to predator hunt, and special guest Katie Martin, DWR Deer-Bear-Turkey Biologist presented an overview of deer biology, history, and insights into herd health and management in Virginia.
We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the volunteers, DWR, and the Holiday Lake staff, and to the participants for their interest in Virginia’s wildlife and hunting heritage.
introduction to waterfowl workshop
VAHEA partnered with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Rappahannock Pistol and Rifle Club in White Stone, VA to present an Introduction to Waterfowl Hunting Workshop on Saturday, August 19.
Participants rotated through three stations during this all-day event:
- Learning about decoy selection and placement
- Discussing waterfowl regulations with several CPOS, including information on proper firearm and ammunition selection, and
- Live-fire clay target shooting action one-on-one with an instructor, getting pointers on proper gun mounting, stance, and eye dominance.
VAHEA AT VOSS 2023
Congratulations to the raffle winners!
Buck Rice/King William County
Amy Clark/Bedford County
Russell Haynie/Lancaster County
We’d also like to thank members and friends that manned the booth:
J.C. Gaitley (VOSS Program Coordinator), Mike Norkus (Vice President), Todd Mumpower, Mike and Jean Cantrell, Bob Wolz, Barbara Mitchell, Tony Carambia (President), David Gerwitz, and Ron Wormser (Treasurer).