The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) named Raymond Mowen of Royal Palm Beach the 2016 Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year at its July Commission meeting in Orlando. The award recognizes a volunteer who significantly advances the cause of safe hunting through extraordinary service in training and education.
Mowen has volunteered to teach the state’s hunter safety course for 24 years. He was the program’s top producer in 2016, volunteering 289 hours to teach 21 classes (17 as chief instructor) and certifying 476 students.
“Being a hunter safety instructor is very rewarding,” Mowen said. “At the end of the class, when a student looks me in the eyes, thanks me and shakes my hand – I know they got it and will be taking this safety knowledge home and to the field. That’s why I do it.”
Mowen became a volunteer hunter safety instructor after learning about the program at a Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (now the FWC) exhibit booth at the 1989 South Florida Fair.
“But I really got turned on to hunter safety by instructor Rudy Reimsnyder, who’s now been teaching the program for 45 years,” Mowen said. “He presents the material in such a great, positive, hands-on way. I knew at that moment I wanted to be a part of passing down tradition, safety and ethics to the next generation.”
Mowen, who spent six years active duty as an airborne parachute rigger with the U.S. Marine Corps, also volunteered his time with several hunting organizations including roles as founder and president of the Florida Quail Federation, director of the South Florida Dog Hunters’ Association, and member of the Florida Airboat & Halftrack Association.
Because Mowen received the award, he is now in the running and representing Florida for the national title International Hunter Education Association’s Instructor of the Year.
“Ray is doing his part to continue the heritage of hunting in Florida by developing safe, responsible, knowledgeable and involved hunters. He is dedicated to making sure his students learn about safe, responsible hunting as well as teaching them about conservation,” said Bill Cline, FWC’s section leader for hunter safety and public shooting ranges. “He also is securing the future of FWC’s hunter safety program by recruiting others to become hunter safety volunteer instructors. We cherish volunteers like Ray.”
Anyone interested in learning how to become a volunteer hunter safety instructor can go to MyFWC.com/HunterSafety and select “Volunteer.”
Successful completion of a hunter safety course is required for anyone born after May 31, 1975, who wishes to obtain a Florida hunting license to hunt unsupervised. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.