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For Release: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Delaware County Man Receives DEC Sportsman Education Award

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that it has awarded Richard (Dick) DuMond of Delaware County with its annual Region 4 Wayne W. Jones Award of Excellence for his work as an outstanding volunteer sportsman educator.

DuMond has been an active sportsman education instructor for 52 years, assisting DEC with its new instructor training classes, as well as mentoring instructor apprentices on the use of advanced education methods and techniques.

A Master Instructor, DuMond is also the Delaware County Sportsman Education Coordinator, supplying local instructors with the materials and equipment necessary to conduct accurate and comprehensive sportsman education classes.

"Dick is always willing to go above and beyond for the program, and his enthusiasm and dedication makes him a model for future volunteers," DEC Region 4 Director Keith Goertz said. "It's our honor to present him with this award."

All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must pass one or more specific courses before obtaining a New York State hunting license. DEC-certified instructors teach safe and responsible firearms conduct and skills while stressing the important role hunters and trappers play in conserving our renewable natural resources.

Volunteer instructors provide invaluable support to the implementation of New York State's sportsman education program, which DEC credits with helping to produce the safest generation of hunters on record. The hunting incident rates, incidents per 100,000 hunters, over the last five years have been the lowest on record since statistics started being compiled in 1958. Since the 1960s, the incident rate has plunged more than 70 percent. The past five-year average is down to 3.5 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.

Despite four tragic fatalities, only 13 hunting-related shooting incidents were recorded during New York's 2016 hunting season. This is due, in part, to more than 2,500 volunteer sportsman education instructors.

This award is named for Wayne Jones, the sportsman education program administrator for New York from 1992 through 2008. Jones was instrumental to the program and during his tenure achieved many significant accomplishments for the sportsman education program, not the least of which was his work on the international level to develop online educational tools and national standards for course content.

The Wayne W. Jones award recognizes active volunteer instructors that have demonstrated and contributed to the advancement of the sportsman education programs by enhancing students' understanding and enjoyment of our wildlife resources; creating awareness of responsibilities and instilling a respect for wildlife, habitat, non-hunters, hunters, and themselves; and by enhancing public understanding and acceptance of hunting and trapping as legitimate public recreation activities and as appropriate wildlife management practices.

Instructors are nominated by their peers based on criteria, including: 1) achieving substantial improvements or innovations to program operations or classroom activities; 2) collaborating with other groups across traditional program boundaries to expand the sportsman education program's audience; 3) working above and beyond required job descriptions, exceeding expectations and achieving noteworthy results within an accelerated or impressive timeline; and 4) applying or developing innovative techniques or approaches that demonstrate best practices and/or serve as a model to inspire others to outstanding achievement.

Hunter safety is a priority for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and is part of the New York is Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative. The dedication of our volunteer sportsman education instructors is the cornerstone of this initiative.

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