Hunter Education Instructor (HEI) Gary Brennan has inspired more than 1,000 students to carry on California’s hunting tradition through hunter education. For his 13 years of dedication and superior volunteer work, Brennan was recently chosen as the 2011 HEI of the Year. His fellow instructors submitted the nomination and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) HEI district coordinators approved.
Brennan has been a certified HEI since 1999. He has taught throughout the state but currently serves as part of a team that instructs courses in Santa Cruz County.
“With a passion for wildlife, Gary has passed onto others the principles that were passed onto him: safety and respect for the environment, game laws, ethics and fair chase. All of these are so important to the future of hunting,” said DFG Lt. James Kasper, the district coordinator for Santa Cruz County.
Most of Brennan’s courses include a firearms handling component. He usually teaches about 15 hunter education classes a year, in addition to participating in DFG Advanced Hunter Education clinics. He also annually volunteers at the Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day in Santa Cruz.
While in the U.S. Navy in San Diego, Brennan taught courses to other military personnel serving in the Arabian Gulf. He even certified as a DFG license agent to sell hunter education validation stamps (which are no longer in use) during his deployments to ensure sailors and Marines who resided out of California could complete their hunter education certification.
Brennan is certified as a teacher by the International Bowhunter Education Program and holds the title of DFG Hunter Education Master Instructor.
Approximately 850 HEIs certified more than 21,000 hunter education students in California in 2011. DFG is always in need of new instructors to help pass on California’s hunting heritage. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer HEI, please contact Capt. Roy Griffith at (916) 653-9727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.