ABOUT US

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

SPORTING CLAYS SHOOT

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2024

go to information and registration page

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show

aUGUST 2-4, 2024

learn more

INTRODUCTION TO WATERFOWL HUNTING

august 24, 2024

GO TO DWR REGISTRATION PAGE

VIRGINIA HUNTER SKILLS WEEKEND

September 13-15, 2024

THIS EVENT IS FULL!

Holiday Lake 4-H Center has enabled a Wait List. To be added please call 434-248-5444 or email heathern@vt.edu and provide your name and email address.

DEER PROCESSING WORKSHOP

october 12, 2024

GO TO DWR REGISTRATION PAGE

JULY 13 SPORTING CLAYS SPONSORS ANNOUNCED

thank you to all of the businesses and individuals below for sponsoring one or more stations for the upcoming Sporting Clays Shoot on July 13!

LIUNA – Laborers’ International Union of North America
https://www.liuna.org/

Septrical
https://www.septrical.com/

Hamilton Equipment Services
https://www.hamiltonequipmentservices.com/

Clark Brothers Gun Shop
http://www.clarkbrosguns.com/

Cecil’s Tractors and Truck Repair
https://www.cecilstractors.com/

Opal Tire Center
5333 Ritchie Rd
Bealeton, VA 22712
(540) 439-0377

Patsy McMillen

In Memory of Leon McMillen

Mitch and Lauren May

In Memory of Mark May

In Memory of Dr. Curtis Shockley

Supporting turkey hunting workshops

With Virginia’s spring turkey season right around the corner, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and volunteer instructors all over the state are holding turkey hunting workshops. Two classes on March 23 in Elkton, VA and Fries, VA, led by DWR Recreational Safety Coordinators Jason Miller (Region 4) and Jeff Pease (Region 3), respectively, helped adult and youth students get started.

VAHEA donated Bone Collector Starter Kit Turkey Call Combos to each of the 23 students.

Both classes covered turkey biology and life cycle, identification, habitat requirements and where to find birds, scouting and signs, turkey “talk” and calling, ethical and safe hunting practices, and hunting scenarios. The Elkton class included a live fire portion so students learned safe firearm handling and patterning of a shotgun.

In Fries, two Conservation Police Officers were on hand to discuss game laws and hunting safety. The class ventured outside to learn about setting up and hunting from a blind, and how to safely set up and use decoys. A mock set up and hunt was demonstrated and discussed as well. 

Jeff Pease reported, “The students in the classes were very happy with the turkey calls they received from the Association!” We’re glad we could contribute to the effort!

MENTORED DUCK HUNT

Saturday, March 9 was lovely weather for ducks, and the participants at the Mentored Duck Hunt would confirm that there was more than enough rain to keep ducks happy.

Instructors, dogs, handlers, and participants endured the cold, wet weather and made the best of a day outdoors to learn about what’s involved in duck hunting. 

Topics included firearm and ammunition selection, gun handling safety, blind etiquette, safe zones of fire, how to select appropriate clothing and accessories, and how to find places to hunt. This was followed by some warm-up shooting on the sporting clays range at the host facility, Shady Grove Kennel and Sporting Clays, and a retriever demonstration by Neil Selby and two of his AKC Hunt Test award-winning dogs. After lunch everyone headed to the blinds for a successful hunt.

The workshop concluded with a hands-on lesson in field dressing and cleaning ducks and a Q&A about how to prepare and cook what they were taking home.

hunter skills - new friends, new memories

One of the (many) great things about the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekends (VHSW) is the opportunity to make new friends that share similar interests, and making new memories together. This group of ladies met while attending a VHSW event, and on Saturday, March 2, 2024 they met-up again to share a pheasant hunt at Shady Grove Kennel and Hunting Preserve in Remington, VA. Guiding the group hunt were VAHEA officers / Virginia DWR Instructors Wendy Hyde and Aaron Grimsley, and DWR Master Instructor Glenn Waleska.

For one, this was her first ever hunt. They learned how to safely work the field with other hunters, watched as Aaron’s dogs Ruby and Hunny pointed and retrieved birds, and got a hands-on lesson in how to clean upland game birds.

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.

Logo design by Tori Farmer

The new VAHEA logo represents our core values:

Blaze Orange is the universally recognized color for hunting safety

The four Compass points represent Ethics, Integrity, Values, and Respect

The Tree signifies strength in the power of knowledge and education

The Deer and Turkey represent Virginia’s most successful wildlife restoration efforts, conveying the positive impact hunters have on conservation and the environment

CORPORATE ADDRESS

Virginia Hunter Education Association

1267 4-H Camp Road

Appomattox, VA 24522

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