WV DNR News Release
L E G E N D
1 - General News
2 - Hunting News
3 - Fishing News
4 - Law Enforcement News
5 - Parks News
CSI in the West Virginia Mountains
Hunting-related shooting investigation training at Chief Logan Lodge September 16-20
LOGAN, W.Va. – Investigating a hunting-related shooting incident can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Forty wildlife officers from 16 states will participate in a 40-hour specialized hunting related shooting incident investigation training at Chief Logan State Park Lodge September 16-20. The Hunting Incident Academy will be taught by a highly experienced cadre of nine instructors from seven states. They represent more than 350 years of experience and more than 2,000 hunting-related shooting incidents investigated and reviewed. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section (WVDNR) and the International Hunter Education Association’s (IHEA) are the hosts.
The academy, the only one of its kind, provides skills, knowledge, techniques and confidence to state and federal wildlife officers in the investigation of hunting-related incidents. The IHEA is keenly interested in the proper collection, documentation, and analysis of this important data. Wildlife law enforcement officers who are already experts in investigations in outdoor landscapes will improve their investigative techniques.
“The academy is designed to train commissioned wildlife officers on how to properly investigate and document hunting related shooting incidents,” said Lt. Tim Coleman, state training officer for the WVDNR. “State Hunter Education administrators then review and analyze the collected data. What they learn is applied to classroom and media outreach efforts to aid in the prevention of hunting incidents.”
Lt. Coleman is the “point man” for the academy, promoting this specialized training and bringing it to West Virginia. Also supporting the training are WVDNR Director Frank Jezioro and Col. David Murphy, Chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. “Having the academy at Chief Logan State Park will provide both inside and outside classrooms needed to present this intensive curriculum,” Coleman said. “Other states that have requested to host the academy in the future include Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Alabama.”
Attendees of previous Hunting Incident Investigation Academies have learned to collect detailed information that has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of fatalities and injuries from hunting-related shooting incidents. A national clearinghouse database has been created to store data collected from each IHEA member jurisdiction. Standardized reporting forms have been developed so that complete and uniform data can be analyzed. The IHEA has also adopted a standardized definition of a hunting-related shooting incident.
(Editor’s note: A good news opportunity would be Wednesday, Sept. 19, when the class will be doing mock scene investigations at Chief Logan Lodge and the wildlife management area beside it. Contact Lt. Tim Coleman at 304-558-2784 to make arrangements.)
About the Hunting Incident Investigation Academy
The materials, curriculum, methodology and techniques found in the Hunting Incident Investigation Academy were developed through a collaborative effort of the late Homer Moe (Wisconsin DNR), Bob Staton, now retired (Missouri Department of Conservation) and Rod Slings, retired (Iowa DNR), now consulting, in conjunction with Central Missouri State University beginning in 1993. Dr. Leanna DePue facilitated and assisted in further development of the academy from 1993 - 2005. Additional personnel from conservation agencies were involved: Mike Van Durme, now retired (New York DEC), now consulting, Keith Byers, now retired (Georgia DNR) now consulting, the late Texas Game Warden Mike Bradshaw and Tim Lawhern, (Wisconsin DNR). Curriculum development has been provided by those listed above who are dedicated to the mission of the academy.
In 2004, a second-generation of instructors were recruited and trained to bolster the instructor ranks of this academy. Currently there are 15 active instructors who make up the instructor cadre. Requests and response from conservation agencies have been overwhelming and the academy continues to grow its list of graduates that now reach nearly 800 wildlife officers. Many of these graduates have gone back to their agencies and provided localized training, sharing knowledge and techniques necessary to conduct factual and impartial investigations. Based on evaluations collected at the conclusion of each course, many officers stated that this was the best training they have received throughout their career.
IHEA Hunting Incident Investigation Academy Mission Statement:
"Training investigators to properly collect and document the facts of hunting-related shooting incidents. Ensuring proper methodology and techniques are utilized for the purpose of research and curriculum focus on hunting incident prevention."