Brent Nearpass, a Hunter Education instructor from Carbon County, was honored recently at the annual Hunter/Bowhunter Education Workshop and Awards Ceremony for his contributions to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and programs.
Each year the game wardens of Region 5 present an award and rifle to the "Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year." Nearpass, who has been an instructor for 17 years, was this year's recipient.
He has served as lead instructor in Red Lodge, teaching at least two classes a year for the past 10 years, and is responsible in many ways for the strong hunter ed program there. As a parttime taxidermist, Nearpass frequently uses antlers, hides and other items from his taxidermy work to further the education of his hunter safety students.
Others recognized for their years of service to either Hunter or Bowhunter Education, or both, are:
Dalen Keeney of Melstone — 15 years in Hunter Education
Ten-year Hunter Education award recipients: from Ballantine — Tim Broadbent; from Big Timber — Chuck Roloff; from Billings — Dave Fox, Gil Longmire and Justin Zabrocki; from Bridger — Dave Ellis; from Hardin — Paul and Dean Molina
Ten-year Bowhunter Education award recipients: from Melstone — Dalen Keeney; from Roundup — Justin Russell, Pam Russell and Leonard Wall
Five-year Hunter Education award recipients: from Big Timber — Jeff Willeke; from Billings/Laurel/Shepherd -Scott Combs, Matt Fochs, Dan Frazer, Kevin Frazer, Gary Jennen, Matt Joppa, Paul Strosky, Cornelis Valkenburg and Ron Waller; from Columbus — Shane Osburn; from Edgar — Mark Jagodzinski; from Hardin — Paul Halfpop and Amanda Seader; from Park City — Bill Holland; from Red Lodge — Mike Ferguson; from Reedpoint — Tracy Haag
Five-year Bowhunter Education award recipient from Billings — John Matz
Five-year Hunter and Bowhunter Education recipient from Big Timber — Lawrence Juell
Each year, close to 1,500 students participate in the Hunter and Bowhunter Education Programs in Region 5, which includes Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland and Yellowstone counties.