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Schools — in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, National Rifle Association and local sportsmen’s groups, among others — are making a point of getting tomorrow’s wildlife managers onto the range.

Penn State has run shooting events and even pheasant hunts for some of its fisheries and wildlife students for the last several years. Garrett County Community College in Maryland has done the same.

Last year, California (Pa.) for the first time offered a day-long shooting program at Roscoe Sportsmen’s Association in Coal Center. The day gave 50 students 18 and older — some of whom had never fired a gun before — the chance to shoot rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders and bows. Representatives of various sportsmen conservation groups, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ruffed Grouse Society, talked to the students about things like how they raise money and what it’s spent on, while Game and Fish and Boat Commission representatives discussed their goals, programs and challenges.

The program — which will be offered again at Roscoe on Sept. 17 — is not meant to turn students into hunters, said Dave Argent, chairman of the department of biological and environmental sciences at California. Rather, it’s to introduce them to a sport that’s linked to their profession.

Source: Bob Frye for Pittsburghlive.com.

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