California’s longest serving volunteer Hunter Education Instructor (HEI), Alvin Richard Pecchenino, 79 of Lodi, passed away on Aug. 15, 2013, after 60 years of service. Pecchenino was a pillar of the HEI community well beyond California’s border and will be deeply missed.
Pecchenino first started instructing with the National Rifleman’s Association in 1952, when a troop of Boy Scout Explorers were in need of a firearms safety course. Pecchenino began his service with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hunter education program as an instructor when the program launched in 1954.
Pecchenino was a California native from a family of hunting and fishing heritage. In a 2004 interview, he described himself as having been “born with a rod in the right hand and a gun in the left.” Pecchenino conducted classes in Stockton, Lodi, Galt, Holt and other rural areas in and around the San Joaquin Valley. Because of Pecchenino’s years of dedication to the hunter education program, he was named International Hunter Education Instructor of the Year by Winchester International in 2005. The prestigious award singled out Pecchenino among hundreds of volunteer Hunter Education instructors worldwide.
“Al’s 60 years of volunteer service to the state of California is an unprecedented record that I am sure will stand for years to come,” said CDFW Capt. Roy Griffith. “He made a difference in the lives of generations of new hunters. It was an honor to know him.”
In a continued effort to reduce firearm accidents, the state of California requires all first-time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency test before purchasing a hunting license. More than 850 volunteer HEIs conduct training throughout California. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete the state’s 10-hour minimum hunter education course.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer Hunter Education Instructor, or those interested in taking a Hunter Education course, can find more information at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife