Three Basic Rules

Treat each firearm as if it were loaded.

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

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MN - Minneapolis, Flying Cloud Airport

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Reported on:
Thu, 10/08/2015 - 8:53pm

Welcome to MN FAS

As certified instructors of the MN DNR firearms and hunter safety program, we provide an exciting and fun, hands-on classroom experience that will be remembered for a lifetime by each student.

As instructors, our goals are many and are based upon the expectations of our students.  We provide the basics of safe and responsible handling of firearms and hunter’s etiquette and ethics to our students.  Each student completing this course takes on the obligation to practice and perfect what they have learned.

Read:  Pages 90-111

Woksheets-Pages 129 and 130.

Also, review pages containing the wildlife photos.


All homework is expected to be completed on time.  Failure to complete homework will prevent you from taking the final written test.


The safety on any firearm is an important device, not just a push button near the trigger.  It is a mechanical device intended to prevent the unintentional discharge of ammunition intentionally placed in the firearm’s chamber.  This does not mean that a safety’s purpose is guaranteed, so you should never rely on a safety to keep a firearm from firing.

In amongst all the handling of firearms our students do, being able to location and operate a safety is something expected.  A fair amount of firearms has a button near the trigger that operates as the safety.  If it is pushed one way, generally it will show some degree of red, meaning that is the position the safety must be in when the shooter is intending to squeeze the trigger.  Other firearms may have a slide button of some sort and will show an “S” when in one position and when moved will show a red dot or otherwise cover up the “S.”  While the color red will always mean the safety is off and the firearm is ready to fire, on the slide type safety, seeing the “S” indicates the safety is on.

Going over expectations and activities.

Tree stand safety.

Shooting at the .22 range.

Steady aim with a 7mm Mag rifle.

By Tom Dickson, DNR information officer

If you don't hunt, you might wonder what's so appealing about this activity. Why, for example, would anyone sit for hours in a chilly duck blind? Or trudge mile after mile through soggy cattail sloughs? And what's the thrill in trying to kill an animal, anyway? If hunters want to be outdoors and see animals, can't they just watch wildlife without shooting them?

Hunting, with a half-million Minnesota participants, must certainly stir the curiosity of those who don't take part.

Why someone hunts is a personal matter. Many do it to spend time outdoors with friends or family. Others hunt to continue a tradition passed down from their parents and grandparents. Some go for the satisfaction of providing their own meat or the challenge of outwitting a wild animal. Many hunt simply because they feel an urge to do so. As environmentalist and hunter Aldo Leopold put it, "the instinct that finds delight in the sight and pursuit of game is bred into the very fiber of the race."

[Here is a great story that has circulated the internet for years, but has never been proven to be true or a hoax.  It really doesn’t matter.]

I had this idea that I could rope a deer. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured since they congregate at my cattle feeder in the pasture on the other side of town, it would be an ideal location to try.  Especially since the deer do not seem afraid of me when I am there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away).   I figured it shouldn’t be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) before letting it go free.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, three deer showed up. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

Late one evening I was wondering to myself, “what would our wildlife be like without the controls of the department of natural resources?”  The easy answer, of course, is to say that nature will take care of itself and everything would be just great.  That, however, is not true for at least one major reason; mankind.

Since the time Christopher Columbus discovered America, our country has changed drastically and the habitat of wild animals has changed just as much.  People are able to adapt quickly, especially to changes created by them, but that’s not the same with animals, and as history has shown, man has not been kind to animals.  In the mid-1800’s buffalo herds consisting of thousands of animals roamed a better part of the Midwestern plains.  The demand for buffalo hides for clothing resulted in excessive hunting by large groups of men in an effort to make money quickly.  It wasn’t long before the thundering herds of buffalo were almost extinct.

Do our students benefit from hands on training?  Bob and I have prided ourselves on our classroom interactivity of having real firearms available to students to pick up, inspect and learn about.  We have always felt it to be one of the most important aspects of learning firearms safety in our classes.  But does it make a difference?

We got our answer one Saturday last spring.  In between the spattering of rains Bob and I headed to the Minnetonka Sportsmen’s range to enjoy a bit of shooting.  One of the reasons for the trip to the range was to bring a young friend there so he could shoot ‘big bore’ rifles for the first time.  Coincidentally, this young friend had recently completed a Firearms’ Safety class successfully, but was limited on his range day to shooting a .22 rifle and a shotgun. He had expressed an interest in doing some shooting with the big guns (maybe he meant Bob and I?), so we headed to the rifle range right away.

I made a disrespectful error and I am offering my apology.  Last night was the first class of this season and it was not only challenging for the students, but for us, the instructors as well.

In hindsight though, it went quite well considering our new electronics and a new room layout that required a lot of adjustments.  However, in the last few minutes of class time, I made a comment to parents that had snuck into the back of the class, meant as a humorous, but polite reminder to the parents, that our classroom policies ask that parents not registered as students wait outside of the classroom until the students are dismissed.  To any parent that may have found this comment offensive, I apologize.  As we discussed in class, respect towards others is an overriding theme to ensure the future of shooting and hunting sports.  A sportsperson’s disrespectfulness will affect the opinions of many more people than the expected, respectful attitude.  It is far from my intention to be a bad example of a sportsman. 

The reputation of my old Model ‘94 Winchester 30-30 lever action lives on.  Over the years in which I have used the old ’94 for deer hunting, it’s reputation as being a point and shoot rifle has been well established and this last season the old ’94 once again proved it has mystical powers of accuracy.  To clarify a bit, I have always maintained that if I point the rifle at a deer, when I pull the trigger the old ’94 will assure the bullet finds the deer.  A bit of history about the rifle goes a long way in verifying it’s reputation.

Deer hunting is a traditional sport.  As a deer hunter you follow many “traditions” some of which may surprise you.  Take for example the eve before season starts at a hunting camp.  (Hunting camp is a general term for a place that two or more hunters call their base, eat meals and sleep.)  Ask anyone who has ever been to a hunting camp and the night before season consists of many traditions.

You must get to the hunting camp plenty early.  Preferably, mid-afternoon before the first day of hunting, maybe even earlier.  This logic is based upon the need to unpack the gear, stow away the food, check to verify all your necessary hunting clothes came with you, and allow you adequate time to do some light scouting of the area.  Early to camp is a time tested tradition that everyone must honor, not only for traditions sake, but it also provides other benefits like allowing plenty of time to, (1) run into town to buy items that you forgot to pack, or (2) drive back home to get the hunting license you forgot. 

2015 class schedule

Chaska Class:

Registration date: April 30th.

Classes: May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th and June 4th, Range Test June 6th and final test June 11th.


Mound Class:

Registration date: July 29th

Classes: August 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th , Range Test August 29th and final test September 2nd.

Hunting regulations

Image from gallery

Tom's first Deer


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